Home MLS Montreal Impact Montreal loses again: Impact looks nowhere close to being ready for MLS

Montreal loses again: Impact looks nowhere close to being ready for MLS


The Montreal Impact doesn’t look close to being good enough to play decent NASL competition. And that’s a concern.

Both the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps looked to be building towards their MLS debuts in their final months in Division-2. But this Impact team, as it stands, looks to be the weakest side the club has fielded in years. Yet, this team is less than a year away from its MLS bow.

A 3-0 loss to FC Tampa Bay Saturday showed just how far behind schedule the Impact are when it comes to being ready for Major League Soccer. Other than keeper Bill Gaudette, who made several outstanding saves to keep the scoreline from being more severe, there wasn’t an Impact player on the pitch who looked anywhere close to being what anyone would call an MLS prospect.

After the loss in Tampa, Montreal has one win in six NASL games.

The club has scored seven goals in league play this season. But that’s misleading. Five came in its only win, over FC Edmonton. And that game saw FCE use midfielder Kyle Yamada in goal — surrendering twice — after keeper Rein Baart was sent off after his club had burned all three subs.

Outside of the five-goal aberration, the Impact has scored just twice. This is a team that looks like it is heading towards the USL, not MLS.

In the first half, Tampa Bay keeper Jeff Attinella was troubled only once. And that was when a clearing attempt caromed off the back of FCTB fullback Andres Arango and came back towards the home team’s goal.

Meanwhile, FCTB laid siege to the Montreal penalty area. It took 40 minutes for FCTB to breach the Montreal defence; Warren Ukah turned and launced a wicked drive from 20 yards out that Gaudette could do little about.

Before the goal, Gaudette made an outstanding save, diving towards the post to deny Keith Savage. A saving tackle from Impact defender Hassoun Camara prevented Tsuyoshi Yoshitake from going in one-on-one on Gaudette. Nevio Pizzolitto later deflected away a close-range chance from FCTB’s Japanese attacker.

And, in the five minutes after the Ukah goal, FCTB had beaten Gaudette twice more. But, on both occasions, Yoshitake’s goals were called back for what were very tight offside decisions.

In the second half, the Impact picked up the tempo somewhat, and Reda Agourram had a shot that the referee ruled went clean off the post, but it looked like Attinella may have got a saving touch before the ball hit the woodwork.

But, a tying goal would have been cruel to FCTB, which dominated. But, the home side soon had the insurance it deserved. After a scramble in the box, the Impact’s Leonardo Di Lorenzo was sent off for handling the ball as it was set to go over the line. Mike Ambersley, who was denied by Gaudette on a great scoring chance a few minutes before, buried the penalty.

“To get three goals, it’s a big confidence boost for our team,” said Ambersley after the game.

Yoshitake finally got the goal he deserved late in the game, beating Gaudette to a long ball from Chad Burt, then he was able to dribble back towards goal and finish the chance.

A fractured foot kept Montreal Impact playmaker Luke Kreamelmayer out of the lineup, and striker Ali Gerba did not make the trip even though he wasn’t on the injury list.

But, make no mistake, this loss wasn’t about Gerba or Kreamelmayer. This was about a franchise as a whole — that just isn’t good enough. Not good enough for NASL. And, definitely not good enough for MLS.

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  1. MB

    May 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    It makes sense to me that whatever effort goes into the team on and off the field today will reap some benefits for next season. If Montreal can’t even make the playoffs in NASL good luck in MLS.

  2. Reeves' Army

    May 23, 2011 at 1:08 am

    This article is a complete and utter joke. This team is not what’s going to MLS. The “Montreal Impact” that will go to MLS will be a completely different organization built from the ground-up with totally different players. Any non-MLS players will have to be re-signed if Saputo wants them, and those who have never been in MLS before will be subject to the SuperDraft first.

    To say that the Impact’s MLS prospects are in trouble because of what THIS team is doing is a total waste of breath. It only becomes a problem if attendance declines and Joey Saputo runs into money problems as a result.

    • Steven Sandor

      May 23, 2011 at 2:13 am

      Not necessarily true that players who didn’t play in MLS would have to be eligible for the draft. Davide Chiumiento and Terry Dunfield were re-signed to MLS deals after coming to the Whitecaps as Div.-2 players. What I am trying to point out is that the Whitecaps used 2010 as a jumping-off point to MLS, and plenty of their players made the move with them. The Impact, in the writer’s opinion (sorry for referring to myself in the third person), is behind that pace. And, at no time last season, would you have considered the Timbers or Whitecaps bad Division-2 sides. The Impact’s record and lack of scoring punch in NASL speak for themselves.

      • Reeves' Army

        May 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

        So what you’re trying to say is, the effort being put forth won’t bode well for fan support, it’ll end up flopping, and the Impact run the risk of being Expo’d.

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