The year 2020, as incredible and dramatic as it was overall, was one that unfolded under the sign of progress for the Montreal Impact.
No, the Montreal club has not necessarily shown tremendous progress. No trophy was won. But it is clear that this club now has a sporting and financial project. On the lawn, coach Thierry Henry has started to lay the foundations for a promising game system. On the upper floor, sports director Olivier Renard accumulates intriguing gestures and seems determined to build by youth while trying to make the most of the different mechanisms of the MLS in terms of assembling its workforce. And he seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve.
We also saw character. The Impact did not have a dominant MLS club on paper. He had to play in more difficult conditions than most other teams in the league. He suffered painful defeats. But he has generally kept his head high and had a decent season, with a first qualifying for the playoffs since 2016.
In short, 2020, in all its madness, could have set up the conditions for an even more interesting 2021 at the heart of a process which, on the whole, appears coherent and promising.
That said, there is still a lot of work to be done. The supporters of the club remain on the alert, very curious to know the next decisions of the staff as the MLS tries to organize a 2021 season that will make everyone happy in a context that will remain very difficult.
Here are, in no particular order, five wishes for the year 2021 that could appear on the list of the average Impact supporter:
Reinforcement in central defense
For a club that did not have a resolutely offensive designated player, the Impact scored quite a few goals in 2020. It has scored as many (33 in 23 games) as Toronto FC, which finished second in the overall standings! Problem is, he took 43, the worst total in the East. Obviously, we have to see it. Despite the recent acquisition of Canadian Kamal Miller, central defense could benefit from an addition. Rod Fanni is unlikely to be back. Rudy Camacho is paid like a number one center-back, but doesn’t behave like one. Luis Binks is full of potential and already a good caliber player, but he remains young, prone to mistakes and may not be around in 2022. Joel Waterman has some potential as does Karifa Yao, but both are still “ projects”. Our colleague Vincent Destouches spoke of another defender who could serve as a “big brother” to the group, evoking in passing Laurent Ciman. Whether Belgian or another, a good caliber addition would be appreciated in this sector.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
A big name in attack
Even if this does not seem to be in the short-term strategy of the organization, the acquisition of a decisive player in the offensive plan, with a big profile, would greatly appeal to the supporters who, it is recalled, saw Ignacio Piatti leave. at the start of the year without really being replaced. Romell Quioto has imposed himself magnificently in the meantime. However, the team could still improve ahead. An attacking midfielder, a winger or a striker, it doesn’t matter: a player with punch, creativity and who can draw attention to the club would be welcome. It will undoubtedly be necessary, before, to shed some big salaries … Could the club strike a big blow at the summer transfer window? There are so many unknowns, but the fans are still hoping.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
A young exploding
The Impact has several young players under its arm who could turn out to be in 2021. The first name that comes to mind is undoubtedly Djordje Mihailovic, an attacking midfielder with sure potential that Renard has just fetched at a high price from the side. from Chicago. The youngster is already an American international and he has the qualities to win. That said, Emanuel Maciel and Amar Sejdic have shown good progress in midfield. Full-backs Zachary Brault-Guillard and Mustafa Kizza are likely to be very important players in Henry’s system in 2021 and one of them could turn a corner. Can Lassi Lappalainen avoid injuries and plant ten goals? Will the American striker Mason Toye, who also cost the Impact a lot of allowance money last fall, succeed in making his qualities speak? Could we see the Quebecer James Pantemis, product of the academy, take the lead in front of the net in 2021? If the Impact wants to be successful in 2021, it is imperative that one of these young people, if not several of them, step up a gear.
Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports
A new identity … which brings together
A delicate subject if there is one, the change of identity of the Impact will undoubtedly be at the heart of the discussions of fans at the beginning of the year. It already is, in fact. Not much is known about this change that management promises to make in 2021. It is assumed that the name “Impact” will either disappear, or be much less in the foreground. It is assumed that the official club colors will change. Many believe, on social networks, that the club could become CF Montreal. But we don’t know. And that is a little scary. The majority of supporters are attached to the name of the Impact and its colors. They won’t take just anything. At the same time, the club is not wrong to look for ways to improve its visibility and attract new supporters. But does he have to go through an overhaul of his identity? This ground is slippery … We wish them good luck.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Return to stadium
It is not so much in the hands of the Impact: it will be mainly between those of governments and the league. The COVID vaccine will also need to be effective and widely distributed. Among others. But the fact remains that Impact fans missed Stade Saputo and their favorites in 2020. They can’t wait for the day when they can go there normally again. Going to the stadium at the start of the season will probably be unthinkable. But can we wish each other a nice alignment of the stars that will allow us to go to the stadium at the end of the campaign? It would do everyone good …
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116