Last season, the Montreal Impact fielded a starting XI in the CONCACAF Champions League final that had no Canadians in it.
A year later, the Impact have done an about face. Over the courses of two games this week, Maxim Tissot, Patrice Bernier, Kyle Bekker and Wandrille Lefevre found places in the starting lineup. Under the leadership of Canadian coach Mauro Biello, there has been a real surge in the number of minutes the team is offering to Canadian players. The Impact is still not equal to Toronto FC when it comes to giving first-team minutes to Canadian players, but Montreal’s average has shot up significantly over the last few weeks.
And, when it comes to Canadians getting minutes at the USL level, no team comes close to FC Montreal, the Impact’s affiliate. FC Montreal is well ahead of TFCII and the WFC2 when it comes to Canadian minutes at the USL level. Of course, the cynic will point out that FC Montreal currently has the worst record in USL; but, as an affiliate team, wins and losses are secondary to developing talent. And that’s what USL is for the MLS parent clubs — a developmental circuit.
Last season, this site (and Plastic Pitch mag, too) was critical of the lack of first-team minutes that the Impact gave to Canadian players. Now, it’s only fair that we highlight what looks to be a very different philosophy from the club. The jury is out if the Impact of 2016 will be better than the Impact of 2015; but there is absolutely no doubt that this year’s version of the team is a hell of a lot more likeable.
HERE ARE THE RANKINGS:
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