BENZAZA: Cup Fever?
CJAD Soccer "Gang of 4" panelist Sofiane Benzaza (@sofiane_benzaza @MtRoyalSoccer) returns with his latest kicks at the Impact quest for the MLS Post-season.
Don’t Be Fooled, The Impact’s Quest is The Cup
Nine games are left until the road to the MLS Cup starts for the Montreal Impact. Outside a total disaster, the Impact is on its way to its first MLS playoffs participation. For a 2nd year team, this would be an amazing feat. But for the Impact, it would almost be insulting to treat them like a noob in the professional soccer arena.
The 5-0 trashing of the Houston Dynamo symbolizes what the Impact has in talent and determination on the field. But it can also be seen as an exagerated caricature of an Impact that has yet to find a perfect efficiency rate. Whichever it is, the Impact want and need to pick up a winning momentum. Doing so in the final stretch of the season is the perfect time as on and off the field decisions start gelling for the ultimate goal: the Cup.
Integrating the Newcomers and Resting The Old Legionnaires
Winning is the best remedy to all ailment. The happy mood in a locker room is even sweeter on the field. Though Bernardello’s integration was smoother than Lopez’s, both international signings have their respective importance to the Impact’s current season.
Bernardello is already Patrice Bernier’s lieutenant and the Brossard-native is enjoying going back to a formation he knows well. The technical quality in the center of the midfield is at a high level. The link between the defense and the offensive stars has been established and Houston felt the wrath of that successful synergy.
Talking synergy and chemistry, integrating Adrian Lopez is important during the last stretch of games. Red-carded in the CONCACAF Champions League, Lopez will need MLS minutes for himself and the club’s evaluation of his current form.
Between rotation and resting players, Lopez will need those minutes to have a feel of his teammates and vice versa, in a real game setting. Having Lopez come in for his first real MLS minutes by the playoffs is not the best way to integrate him into the squad.
Alessandro Nesta needs to rest and be managed correctly. That includes not playing him in CCL games and avoiding to play 2 games in one week. If not, why is Lopez here to warm the bench for 10+ games?
Admit that you want the Cup
There is no reason to hide your intentions and say it out loud: Making the Playoffs is not enough!!
Yes, making the playoffs would actually be enough but the ambitions of this club are beyond mere participation. Only a run for the MLS Cup can quench the thirst of a club known for winning. This is the same club that has brought players with qualities and characteristics of winners. Don’t be fooled by the Expansion tag, or its short MLS history because the Bernier’s, the Nesta’s, the Ferrari’s and the Di Vaio’s of this world are not here just to enjoy the sights of Old Montreal.