Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Impact’s Bernier has high regard for FCE coach Miller

Impact’s Bernier has high regard for FCE coach Miller

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Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier has a lot of respect for FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller.

Miller was in his first stint as the interim coach of men’s national team back in 2003, and he called up Bernier to the squad for a friendly against the Czech Republic. It was Bernier’s first cap for the national team.

“I know Colin from the national team,” Bernier said Tuesday after he and his Montreal Impact teammates finished their training session at a blustery Clarke Stadium. “I know how he expects his team to play.”

He expects a Miller coached team to be a very tight-knit unit and “to come out with conviction.”

Because he knows Miller, Bernier won’t take FC Edmonton for granted when the two teams meet Wednesday in the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal. It doesn’t matter to Bernier that Montreal is the defending champion and MLS big-shot, and FC Edmonton sits in last in the 10-team NASL.

“In Europe, I saw fourth- or fifth-division teams winning cup matches. I was lucky enough to win the Cup twice in Denmark and then the Canadian championship last year. I know that the cup is different from the league. I have been following that team (FC Edmonton) since last year and I saw that they gave Vancouver a run for their money. I know they have expectations, they’ve already beat Ottawa, and they want to prove something against an MLS team. We have to up for the match. It will be tough.”

Montreal is expected to start Evan Bush in goal on Wednesday; and big names like Marco Di Vaio have been left at home. But coach Frank Klopas had the chance to ask some people around NASL about the Eddies, and he’s looked at footage from a couple of games. But he said that cup competitions tend to make all that homework moot; because league form has no bearing on how teams play in knockout tournaments, there are always things that come up you don’t expect.

“It’s exciting to be in a tournament like this. To me, it’s like the U.S. Open Cup, a tournament setting. You looked at it like you need to win just five games to win a championship. Here, it’s different, going right to a semifinal. But competing for a cup is something special.”

As for the Clarke playing surface and the brisk Edmonton weather — which hovered near the freezing mark throughout Tuesday as flurries fell — the visitors weren’t in the mood to complain.

“It is what it is,” said Klopas. “Because of the weather, for the last four months we’ve been training on turf.”

And Bernier said that, ahem, “luckily” the weather hasn’t been good in Montreal, either, so the Impact is used to the blustery conditions.

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