Home MLS Montreal Impact Marsch: Impact also made offer for Le Toux

Marsch: Impact also made offer for Le Toux

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Asked to comment on the trade that sent French striker Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver Montreal coach Jess Marsch said that the Impact had made an offer to the Philadelphia team but that Vancouver had made a better one.

Back in town after their jaunt to Mexico and before departing once against the end of the week, this time to continue their pre-season in California, the Montreal Impact, over 30 strong at the present time, worked out at a local indoor facility, with the players being put through their paces for 90 minutes before Marsch and several of his men met with the media.

Incoming forward Justin Braun is looking forward to playing in Montreal.

“I’m extremely excited. I’ve only heard awesome things about this city and the club. The fans have been amazing. They’ve been reaching out to me and being real supportive. It’s fun to come to a city like this that has embraced the team and the coaches so much.”

Asked for his reaction to the Impact’s Mexico trip, training and playing against four local sides he replied that it was a positive use of time for the fledgling MLS franchise.

“It’s definitely a challenge to bring together guys who haven’t played together and get them gelling. I think we kind of accomplished that down in Mexico,” he said. “I think the team came together well and we got some good results. We definitely still have a lot to build on but a lot of positives came out of that trip. We’re just going to keep working and the goal is to ready come March 10th.”

Patrice Bernier, a coveted returnee to the squad and Montreal area native, agreed that the Mexican training term was time well spent.

“We developed a good foundation for team chemistry in Mexico. We still have six weeks before the season opens. We played games against Mexican sides with only a week’s work in our legs so we weren’t in top shape yet. Next we get to play teams we’ll face in the season with another couple weeks of training under our belt. I think it’ll be a better approximation of actual MLS play. We’re playing both teams that are physical and others that are more technical so I think it’ll be good preparation.”

He also discussed the difference in style of play between North America and Europe, where he’s spent the past decade.

“The MLS game is more north-south than the European game, which tends to be more of an east-west game. Individually, we have a lot of players with potential. We have a good core of players with MLS and European experience as well as a number of younger players the team drafted who are just beginning their careers.”

Veteran defender and the last captain of the Impact, Nevio Pizzolitto knows there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the roster when the season opens but it is a fact he does his best to keep out of his thoughts.

“I try to forget all that and concentrate on what I can do on the pitch,” he said. “Getting to know the others a little better put me at ease somewhat but we don’t dwell on things we have no control over. We’re all here to do a job, to grow the team, and we’re all doing our best.”

Justin Braun PHOTO: MIKE WYMAN

He also pronounced the Mexican segment of the preseason a success, saying, “I think the team did well. It was a little long, 12 days with nothing much to do at the hotel but play and eat but it was excellent for the club to get to know each other a little better. On the field we all worked very hard and we did well in the games we played against Mexican teams who have already started their seasons so there are a lot of positives that came out of the trip.’

Zarek Valentin is probably the most enthusiastic new recruit on the Impact. He tried out his rapidly expanding French vocabulary with the French media, declaring “Je suis fatigué” and “J’ai froid” and spoke glowingly about Montreal, even if he is having a bit of trouble finding a down-filled coat in his size.

“I was looking yesterday in the stores sadly it’s all extra-small or extra-large. I should be going out tonight to get some boots and a hat.”

Today’s workout was the 21-year-old’s initial experience on the pitch with his new team but he has benefitted from the counsel of his elders and trying to fit in.

“It’s my first day so I’m trying to get accustomed to the group and the way that things are shaping up. A lot of the older guys who have been in the league for a while have definitely stepped up. Davy (Arnaud) comes to mind for me. He was very vocal. A lot of the goalies are very vocal too. I talked to Brian (Ching) for a while and he’s been helping me with the transition to the team. Most of the guys who have been here for a little bit have helped me out.”

The end of the week will see a familiar face join Valentin, his long-time friend, Andrew Wenger, chosen with the opening pick in this year’s Superdraft, and a fellow native of Lancaster, Penn.

“We’ve played with each other since we were about ten years old so we’re very old friends. He lives five miles down the road from me; I guess that’d be 10 kilometres. Basically we played club together from U10 to when we went to college. It’s nice to have someone I’ve known for a while here,” he said.

“He gets in Friday and we’re planning on looking at apartments. Judging by past experience, I’m probably going to be the housewife, but I welcome the role,” he said to a chorus of laughter. “I’ll have to make sure his underwear’s folded, do the cooking and the cleaning but I’m like that a little bit.”

Head coach Marsch also spoke positively about the team’s time south of two borders. Asked what his most pleasant surprise of the trip was he replied along the same lines as his players had?

“The fact that it looked like a team, for a group of guys who were only together for four days, seven days, ten days. It looked like a team- a group of guys that understood how to play with each other, how it all fits together. For the most part most guys fit in about where we thought they would.

“That, I think, was the most positive aspect of being down there. We got good games, played in heat and elevation. We created a base for what we’re going to be as a team and how we’ll do things,” he continued.

Agourram needs playing time
With over 30 men in camp, there are going to be further cuts made to the squad. Yesterday the Impact released one of the five non-roster Canadian players that accompanied the team to Guadalajara.

Asked about Reda Agourram, Marsch declared that the young forward “did OK when we were down in Mexico but at his age and with his experience we feel that the most important thing for him right now is to get games. He’s going to survey his options a little bit and we hope to continue a relationship with him in the club so that maybe he can go out establish himself with a second division team and do well. Then we can revisit how he fits in with us a year from now or down the road.”

He also had some encouraging words for Pizzolitto.

“Nevio has a lot of experience. He’s been on teams. He’s always been a good leader and been a good guy to have around. We’ve wanted to engage him in that way and make him feel a big part of things. He’s done well. I think all the veteran guys, Simon (Gatti), Nevio and Eddy (Sebrango) have done well. It’s good for them and it’s good to see the reasons we brought those guys in have held up and we’ll see how it fits moving forward.”

Queried as to when the team would be naming a captain, Marsch indicated that it would be some time yet before that announcement is made.

“There are a lot of good leaders on this team. There are a lot of veteran guys who want to help and create something unique.”

How many of the candidates speak French?

“One and I’ll have to give Davy a half,” said Marsch.

 

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