Impact just getting started: SuperBlogger Benzaza
The Impact have already made franchise history winning an MLS season-opener and leaping into 1st Place in the Eastern Conference in Season 2. Now can they come with an historic first-ever Home Opener Victory?
CJAD 800 will carry the Impact vs. TFC starting with the pregame Show at 3:45 PM.
The club's perfect 2-0 start may be masking some issues for Coach Schallibaum and his team. We've asked Mount Royal Soccer's (@MtRoyalSoccer) Sofiane Benzaza (@SoccerSansF) to forecast what to listen for:
Step it Up….Team Depth
Feeling the Blues on the Road is so 2012, as the Montreal Impact seem to have become Road Trip Warriors in 2013. I did not predict 2 wins on the road---did anyone? It’s definitively a surprise in MLS to see the Impact win against 2 ‘’Cascadian’’ teams while keeping composure, the same style and goal scoring efficiency.
Though there is a good vibe around the team, disappointment is also part of the game...or the blame game?
With Justin Mapp’s injury, the Impact seem to be counting on about 14-15 players for a competitive starting XI. The younger and bench players will have to wait for more playing time during the Amway Canadian Championship and MLS Reserve games.
Talent movement around the league in player signings means the Impact might need to get more depth. The gap between the MLS-ready players and the bench strength might be too deep to survive a long MLS season and make the playoffs.
Sporting Director Nick De Santis and righthand man Matt Jordan are tight against the salary cap. Can we expect for some moves to off-load salaries, making room for a Designated Player signing in the summer?
Player to Watch: Felipe Martins
Felipe has been relatively quiet when you compare him to his 2012 version. Still, the Brazilian midfielder already has 1 goal and 1 assist, symbolizing his playmaker status. He has looked less tidy with the quality of his passes at a success rate of 60% and a total of 33 lost balls in 2 games. Home field advantage will help as the Impact will be more aggressive on the attack at home against Toronto.
Watch Out For: The Menacing Red Mass amid A Deep Blue Sea
1) 4,200 traveling TFC fans are expected to make the trip to La Belle Province. Will we see the Montreal Impact fans join the Ultras Montreal to overcome the Red Menace? After a long time away from home, the Impact players will need a warm and loud welcome from its fans who are asked to wear blue for 90+ minutes.
2) Toronto FC is being rebuilt for God knows how many times. This time, under the leadership of Kevin Payne, things might just get bettert. He brings in a rookie head coach, Ryan Nelsen, who has just finished playing against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in the EPL with Queen Park Rangers.
Dont forget that Kevin Payne also has a proven record as an MLS executive and GM with DC United.
While keeping the best players, Toronto FC is active on the transfer market and brought in Robert Ernshaw. The Welshman has already proved to be money with 2 goals against Eastern Conference powerhouse Sporting Kansas City. TFC defense won't be as porous as last year, matching up against a hungry Marco Di Vaio looking for his first goal of the season.
The club might wear the same red colored jersey but this team has definitely changed. Some of the scars of the past must surely have healed.