2012 Montreal Impact Preview

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  1. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

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    Goalkeepers

    Depth Chart: 1. Donovan Ricketts, 2. Greg Sutton, 3. Evan Bush

    Strengths: Despite losing his starting spot to Josh Saunders last season for the LA Galaxy, Ricketts remains one of the top goalkeepers in MLS. In Sutton, Montreal have a veteran No. 2 'keeper who knows both the league and the city.

    Weaknesses: It was an injury that left the door wide open for Saunders to grab the No. 1 spot in LA. Expectations will be high on Ricketts, and another stop by the treatment table would hugely disappoint Montreal.

    Wildcard: At age 26, Bush is about to embark on the most exciting journey of his career: trying to pass Sutton as No. 2 keeper in Montreal. Once nicknamed “Harry Potter” by former Montreal boss Marc dos Santos, Bush will need plenty of magic tricks to achieve his goal.

    READ: 2012 Montreal Impact Preview

    Defense

    Depth Chart: LB 1. Josh Gardner, 2. Tyson Wahl; CB 1. Tyson Wahl – Matteo Ferrari, 2. Shavar Thomas, 3. Hassoun Camara, 4. Nelson Rivas; RB 1. Zarek Valentin, 2. Jeb Brovsky

    Strengths: Jesse Marsch can count on many versatile defenders. Wahl, usually a left-back, made the left center-back position his own during preseason. Valentin can help out pretty much everywhere. Camara can fill in at right back. When the time comes for a makeshift defense, the Impact coach probably won’t be too worried.

    Weaknesses: With both Valentin and Brovsky in their second MLS seasons, there is not much experience at right back. Others might be called upon to fill in, but these two are the natural right backs of the squad.

    Wildcard: While Rivas would have been among the starters in most circumstances, a thigh injury relegates him to the bottom of the depth chart for now. How long will it be until he can finally start at the heart of the Impact defense?

    SEE: Preseason Schedule and Results

    Midfield

    Depth Chart: LM 1. Justin Mapp, 2. Lamar Neagle, 3. Sinisa Ubiparipovic; CM 1. Patrice Bernier – Felipe Martins, 2. Davy Arnaud, 3. Collen Warner 4. Bryan Arguez; RM 1. Davy Arnaud, 2. Sanna Nyassi, 3. Sinisa Ubiparipovic

    Strengths: The discovery of this preseason was the combination of Montreal native Bernier and Brazilian Felipe in the center of the park. Bernier has the wisdom of a Europe veteran, while Felipe has the energy of youth.

    Weaknesses: The transition from midfield to attack has been letting the Impact down for weeks now. While there is no denying the midfielders’ fitness, they just seem to have a hard time linking up with the forwards.

    Wildcard: Listed as a side midfield player here, Ubiparipovic probably lacks the pace he would need to be a threat from Montreal’s current central midfield spots. But should Marsch play a higher mid in front of Bernier and Felipe, the 28-year-old would have the skills to make everyone around him better.

    READ: Montreal Impact 2011 schedule

    Forwards

    Depth Chart: 1. Justin Braun, 2. Mike Fucito, 3. Miguel Montaño, 4. Eduardo Sebrango, 5. Andrew Wenger

    Strengths: The Impact can count on energetic young forwards (with the obvious exception of 38-year-old, yet very fit, Sebrango) who will do all they can to impress Marsch.

    Weaknesses: Montreal’s attack is crying out for depth, even more so with No. 1 SuperDraft pick Wenger studying until May (which is why he is listed at No. 5 here). Nyassi might be part of the front two at times.

    Wildcard: When it comes to who will arrive in the summer, Impact owner Joey Saputo has refused to name names. Pleanty of names have been mooted, but that mystery player is widely expected to be the striker Montreal fans have been loudly requesting.

    Setting the Scene
    Andrew Wenger ready for rookie year



    The Montreal Impact were already a 19-year-old club when they began their final season as a minor-league team last April, in anticipation of the big jump to MLS. But what was supposed to be a scintillating send-off ended up becoming one of the club’s most forgettable seasons ever results-wise, which had the supporters paying more attention to what happened off the field than on it.

    Needless to say, the roster has been fully revamped. Of all the players who, at some point last season, had been members of the Impact, only six made the jump to MLS. They are joined by a solid mix of veterans and young guns looking to establish themselves in this league.

    Head coach Jesse Marsch has been vocal about his intentions to build a competitive team right away, and there is no denying he has mostly been creative and astute on the transfer market – though, understandably, the Brian Ching saga grabbed a lot of headlines. The Montreal boss is nonetheless ready to start his first gig as head coach with a bang.





    BUY MONTREAL TICKETS HERE

    In and Out
    IN: D Nelson Rivas (10/3: free/Inter Milan, Italy); D Hassoun Camara (10/11: NASL Montreal Impact); G Evan Bush (10/21: NASL Montreal Impact); M Sinisa Ubiparipovic (11/1: NASL Montreal Impact); D Jeb Brovsky (11/23: expansion draft); D Bobby Burling (11/23: expansion draft); D Josh Gardner (11/23: expansion draft); M Justin Mapp (11/23: expansion draft); F Sanna Nyassi (11/23: expansion draft); D James Riley (11/23: expansion draft); D Seth Sinovic (11/23: expansion draft); D Zarek Valentin (11/23: expansion draft); M Collen Warner (11/23: expansion draft); F Justin Braun (11/23: trade from Chivas USA); D Tyson Wahl (11/23: trade from Seattle); M Gerson Mayen (11/23: trade from Chivas USA); M Bryan Arguez (11/25: free/Fort Lauderdale Strikers); M Davy Arnaud (11/28: trade from Kansas City); G Donovan Ricketts (11/28: trade from Los Angeles); M Ian Westlake (12/5: NASL Impact); F Miguel Montano (12/7: free/Seattle Sounders); G Greg Sutton (12/9: free/New York Red Bulls); M Patrice Bernier (12/19: free/Lyngby, Denmark); M Felipe (12/21: free/FC Lugano, Switzerland); D/F Andrew Wenger (1/12: SuperDraft); M Calum Mallace (1/12: SuperDraft); F Evan James (1/17: supplemental draft); F Aaron Schoenfeld (1/17: supplemental draft); F Steven Miller (1/17: supplemental draft); F Carl Haworth (1/17: supplemental draft);D Gienir Garcia (1/17: trade from Vancouver); D Shavar Thomas (1/20: free/Sporting Kansas City); F Eddie Johnson (2/17: allocation); F Mike Fucito (2/17: trade from Seattle); M Lamar Neagle (2/17: trade from Seattle); F Eduardo Sebrango (2/21: NASL Montreal Impact); D Matteo Ferrari (3/1: free/Besiktas, Turkey)

    OUT: D James Riley (11/23: trade to Chivas USA); D Seth Sinovic (11/28: trade to Kansas City); F Brian Ching (2/16: trade to Houston); F Eddie Johnson (2/17: trade to Seattle); M Ian Westlake (2/27: waived) M Gerson Mayen (3/1: waived)

    COACHING STAFF IN: head coach Jesse Marsch; assistant coaches Mauro Biello, Denis Hamlett and Mike Sorber; goalkeeping coach Preston Burpo; physical preparation coach Adam Rotchstein

    READ: 2012 Montreal Impact Depth Chart



    Star Attraction: Patrice Bernier




    He has never played in MLS, yet all eyes will be on the suburban Montreal native, whose second coming to the Montreal Impact had long been awaited. Fresh off an eight-season stint in Europe, the Canadian international is ready to make his experience and leadership count with his new team. Bernier will not score countless goals this season, but his composed approach to the game will help him dictate his hometown club’s play.

    READ: Arnaud assuming leadership role in Montreal

    Unsung Hero: Tyson Wahl
    2012 MLS First Kick: Vancouver vs Montreal



    With defender Nelson Rivas — who has earned the nickname "Tyson" after the former boxing legend — out injured, a namesake sensed his opportunity. Though primarily a left back, center back is what Tyson Wahl will probably be calling home come First Kick. His willingness to adapt, his athletic qualities and his work rate will turn the 28-year-old defender into more and more of an asset as the season goes along.

    READ: In Ferrari, Impact find an instant fit for the back line

    Ready for Primetime: Justin Braun
    Marsch is among those who believe it is time for the 24-year-old striker to establish himself as a top attacker in Major League Soccer. Braun, who is widely expected to start most games this season up front for Montreal, has displayed a very good work ethic during preseason and scored a delightful lob against Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico. The Impact will hope his goal tally hits double figures this term.



    Storylines to Watch
    1. Will the team jell in time? Montreal’s last Disney Pro Soccer Classic outing was impressive: The pressing was sustained and the movement clever. Marsch will need the effort to be that high every week if his team is to avoid the typical MLS expansion season.

    2. Who will be the DP? Impact owner Joey Saputo has strongly hinted at the signing of a difference-making Designated Player this summer. The supporters cannot wait for the mystery to be solved.

    3. Will Andrew Wenger get good marks? The No. 1 pick at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft will carry on studying at Duke University and will not be in Montreal full time until May. How will that affect the beginning of his MLS career?

    READ: Olympic Stadium accident won't affect Impact's opener

    What He Said
    “There’s a lot of buzz, and people are interested in discovering the premier soccer league in North America. We’re a brand new franchise and patience will be needed, but our preseason efforts shall lead us to a great new beginning.”

    – Midfielder Patrice Bernier (pictured right at his introductory press conference) on the Impact’s first MLS season

    SEE: 2012 Season Preview Archive

    If Everything Goes Right
    However one might try and foresee what will happen with the Montreal Impact this season, one thing keeps coming back to mind: This is an expansion team. While the club has put a lot of effort into trying to become one of the very few MLS expansion teams to make the playoffs, it still seems the Impact will struggle to achieve this objective. More likely, Montreal will have scattered bright spots in a season struggling to adapt to the top flight.

    Should the DP Saputo has in mind turn the season into a thrilling chase for an MLS Cup Playoffs spot, Impact fans will probably feel it’s already mission accomplie.
     
  2. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    9,510
  3. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    The No. 1 pick at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft will carry on studying at Duke University and will not be in Montreal full time until May. How will that affect the beginning of his MLS career?

    Wha-What?
     

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