CJAD 800 is pleased to welcome back CTV's Brian Wilde for the next 2 Impact play-by-play broadcasts while the Alouettes are roadtripping from coast-to-coast in Vancouver and Moncton.
Wilde returns to the Impact for the first time since 2011 and the club's move to MLS.
CJAD asked Brian to assess where the Impact are headed and his excitement to be reunited with Grant Needham in the CJAD Broadcast Booth:
It is only two years into franchise history in the MLS and the Montreal Impact are already the most successful team in history from Canada, even though they are the last Canadian team to enter the league. Toronto FC would love to have a season even remotely like the Montreal Impact’s year, but they have languished almost a decade with more losses than wins every single time.
The Impact’s base for success is in a place I just did not believe they would shine going in to year one: player evaluation. It was hard to believe in a man calling the shots who played local soccer in Montreal and wasn’t good enough at an international level to become a Canadian Men’s National Team staple. It was hard to believe that Nick De Santis had the goods to succeed on a world class level---the good looking kid from Montreal that I watched in the 1990’s play indoor soccer hoping to stay in the game.
But credit Nick De Santis. No seriously, credit him.
Throw some love his way because what he has done to build a winner in Montreal this quickly is a remarkable thing. And honestly, De Santis is not getting enough love for this remarkable story of a run for first place in only the second year, the Impact the envy of the MLS for their achievements.
De Santis and his mates, most notably the tireless Matt Jordan, have found talent through the hardest of work. For example, a trip to Argentina produced a player Hernan Bernardello that turned into a talented DP acquisition, and the nuance to the story that is impressive is De Santis evaluated his talent while looking at other players and then did the leg work to scoop the Argentine from a Mexican club team that was on the verge of signing him.
Bernardello chose the security and cultural lifestyle of Canada over the dangerous daily life that sadly has become Mexico in some communities with gun violence all too regular. Montreal is a good life. The world is taking notice that this European-style city is not that great a change for the Europeans coming here and De Santis and Joey Saputo know how to sell that lifestyle rolling out the red carpet. It all counts. Don’t ever discount it the way that one is treated is as important as the dollar in the pocket to Europeans already comfortable financially.
The Impact’s success makes the announcement that I will be filling in for Rick Moffat when he is on the road with the Alouettes all the more exciting. For now, the job consists of just the next two home games, but that is a wonderful moment for me after doing the play-by-play for the team through three seasons in the USL, including a championship year.
I look forward to working beside Grant Needham again, and let me be unequivocal about him: Grant Needham is THE best colour commentator of soccer in this country. He has no equal. Grant breaks down a play like a coach and his insight into the game developing in the moment is of a coach’s quality.
If Grant Needham had an English or Scottish accent, his rise would be meteoric and it still would not be fast enough. Montreal fans who love soccer are very lucky to have Needham to listen to. He just needs to say “mate” more and the sky is the limit.
I will see you Saturday soccer fans for a 2 pm game against the Columbus Crew. I could not be happier to get the chance to be with you again, and I look forward to yelling “Goalllllllllllllllllll” with the greatest of joy.