From Seattle..."It's Saturday Night Live with the Impact!" on CJAD 800.
Season 2 in MLS kicks off on your exclusive home of the Montreal Impact. Listen live to play-by-play against the Sounders at 10PM with Grant Needham, former Impact scoring legend, providing analysis starting with the pregame show at 10PM.
CJAD has invited Super-Fan Gio Sardo from @MtRoyalSoccer and Super-Blogger Sofiane Benzaza, (founder of @MtRoyalSoccer and also with @SoccerSansF) for their perspective.
Last season the Impact never wanted to say the "e-word"---expansion. Now everyone wants to use the "p-word"---playoffs.
SuperFan Sardo says:
A new coach, another Italian player, a new season… it is time for the Montreal Impact to start Season 2 of their MLS existence this Saturday against the mighty Seattle Sounders.
* Andrea Pisanu – M (Bologna – loan)
* Blake Smith – M (1st round draft pick)
* Andres Romero – F (Tombense – loan)
* Eduardo Sebrango – F (retirement)
* Lamar Neagle – M (trade to Seattle)
* Shavar Thomas – D (option declined)
* Josh Gardner – D (traded to SKC)
Predicted formation and starting lineup:
Hassoun Camara – Matteo Ferrari – Alessandro Nesta – Jeb Brovsky
Patrice Bernier – Davy Arnaud
Andrea Pisanu – Felipe – Justin Mapp
Marco Di Vaio
Coach Marco on a short leash
Swiss manager Marco Schällibaum takes over from the departed Jesse Marsch and is immediately on the hot seat. He has a one year deal. There is an option for a second year that only gets activated if the team makes the playoffs. It is imperative that this squad win right away or there will be a new manager search next offseason.
The ‘Paolo Pacione’ effect
One of the Impact’s major problems last season was their inability to keep up with their opponents in the final 15 minutes of games. Trainer Adam Rotchstein, unable to rectify this problem during the season, was let go and the no nonsense Paolo Pacione was brought in. Pacione has been pushing the players to the limit since Day 1 of camp. His success and future with the organization hinges on how well the Impact closes out their games this season.
Player with the most to prove: Justin Mapp
Mapp had a difficult first season in Impact “bleu”. Unable to last more than 60 minutes, clashes with Marco Di Vaio & Bernardo Corradi for poor communication and ill timed passes made him the popular target for criticism amongst the fan base. Re-signed in the off-season and a part of Coach Marco’s starting XI, Mapp is on a short leash to perform or else he may start losing playing time to 1st round MLS Super Draft rookie Blake Smith.
Key bench players:
Zarek Valentin – The Oreo Master comes into this season with a chip on his shoulder. After seemingly landing in Jesse Marsch’s doghouse during the season, Valentin will be called upon to replace Camara on the right side when he needs a rest, or when he will be shifted to the centre in the event of rest/injury to Nesta or Ferrari.
Collen Warner – Although he was a starter last season, Warner seems to be relegated to more of a reserve role under Coach Marco. His versatility will be his greatest asset as he will be able to take over at any spot in the midfield in the event of rest, injury or simple change of pace in a match.
Andrew Wenger – The second year forward will have to show his killer instinct in limited minutes as he will be called upon to either replace a tired Marco Di Vaio or to join him in the attack late in games. This will be a potential make or break year for Wenger as he fights for his minutes. Every appearance counts.
For a successful season, the team’s MVPs must be: Felipe & Pisanu
It is no secret that the Impact defense will be strong and among the league’s best. That unit, led by Nesta and Ferrari, will wreak havoc on all opposing offences. This ‘D’ should easily finish top 3 in the MLS.
This season’s success revolves around the Impact’s ability to fill the net. That responsibility lies on the feet and wizardry of Pisanu & Felipe. Pisanu, the team’s biggest acquisition and Di Vaio’s handpicked assist man must adapt quickly to the MLS style of play and begin feeding the ball all over the field with great, timely crosses.
He must also take pressure off Felipe. As for the Brazilian midfield maestro, he needs to build off of a very strong 2012 where he took the MLS by storm and show more consistency. The offense in 2012 went as Felipe went.
Consistency on offense must improve for a chance at the playoffs and the MLS Cup.
Standings: 3rd in the Eastern conference, will reach at least Eastern Conference Semis
Top goal scorer: Marco Di Vaio (18-20 goals)
Top assist man: Felipe
Defense rank: 3rd best in MLS
Grab your Impact scarf, put on your jersey and get ready for an entertaining 2013! Wishing you all a great season,
Writer/Manager – http://www.mountroyalsoccer.com/