Looking back, I hope the Impact’s last Champions League game is a foretaste of the season to come. Despite the elimination suffered in the quarterfinals, Thierry Henry’s men played against CD Olimpia as we would like to see them play all the time.
In fact, it is the feeling that the fans had after the meeting and that we would like to see reproduced in 2021. This feeling that the players had given everything, that the performance had been up to the moment. If there was only one thing to keep from this difficult year, it might be this state of mind, this diffused sense of duty accomplished.
Because a lot of work awaits the Impact sports director, Olivier Renard, before the resumption of activities in MLS. It’s eye-popping, the Bleu-blanc-noir has to improve. But if we push the reflection a little further, it is in consistency that the team must make the greatest progress. Can the Impact reproduce a performance like the one it delivered in Orlando last Tuesday?
With better players, the Impact will surely have a better season than the one that has just passed. But it is in the commitment of his players and in their ability to embrace Henry’s game plan that they can claim excellence.
More than an average club
On paper, the Impact has already taken a step forward. The additions of Mustafa Kizza, Kamal Miller and Djordje Mihailovic make the club a younger and more exciting team.
But it takes more than that. The Impact still needs players capable of changing the pace of a game on their own. A player who is above average.
Elsewhere in MLS, the other clubs have all equipped themselves with players capable of taking them up from the middle of the pack to the top of the standings. To date, the best examples remain the MLS Cup finalists, the Seattle Sounders and the Columbus Crew. Nicolas Lodeiro and Lucas Zelarayan have each enabled their respective clubs to take a step forward and become a real threat to the supreme title of the Garber circuit.
In the medium term, it is a player of their caliber that the Impact will have to add to the risk of remaining indefinitely in the category of “middle clubs” in MLS.
After a few weeks of procrastination, the Impact finally admitted by press release that it would change its identity next year.
From a sporting point of view, we can already say that the change is underway. Thierry Henry embodied this change by transforming the way the club played. If we compare to the regime of Rémi Garde which preceded it, it is day and night.
Now it is the club’s turn to play. Will they touch Blue-white-black? What will they do with the name “Impact”? Such a change deserves long-term work and in-depth reflection.
You don’t mess around with a name that has more than 25 years of history behind it. Because, like it or not, the “Impact” brand is known and recognized throughout Quebec. The same could even be said in the rest of Canada and internationally.
And finally, I hope that this change of direction does not exclude all those who, over the years, have wet the Montreal jersey. For them and for all the Impact has accomplished over the past quarter of a century, I hope the transition will be smooth.
After Henry and Renard, here it is for the leaders of the club to play.