030313_isi_nesta_mlsmj072112042 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
Major League Soccer

The Montreal Impact in One Word: Vecchio

We asked ASN Major League Soccer Correspondent Matt Thacker to sum up all 19 teams' personalities in a single word, and then craft mini-previews for each squad. Here, his take on the Impact.
BY Matt Thacker Posted
March 03, 2013
1:39 PM
The Montreal Impact performed well as an expansion team last season, but that did not save head coach Jesse Marsch, who mutually agreed to leave due to differences in “philosophy.”

Marco Schällibaum, whose ability to speak many languages seemed to impress Montreal as much as his coaching resumé, was hired to take the club to the next level in its sophomore campaign. The former coaching instructor from Switzerland might find the transition to MLS challenging. Still, the hiring fits with the European model and style that owner Joey Saputo wants for his club. Saputo is determined to make his philosophy work by investing in international–primarily Italian–stars. Andrea Pisanu is the latest addition from Italy. He joins a talented midfield that includes Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier, and Justin Mapp.

Montreal clearly has the talent to reach the playoffs, but age and questionable depth is a concern. This team could easily start seven players on the wrong side of 30 years of age. Center backs Matteo Ferrari, 33, and Alessandro Nesta, 36, will be tested by teams with speed. Marco Di Vaio, 36, still has the scoring touch, but can he be the focal point of the offense for an entire season?

Expected finish: 8th in Eastern Conference. This team relies too heavily on aging and injury-prone players, while younger players might need another year to develop.

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