Montreal roster holding steady ahead of California trip

Jesse Marsch addresses the media

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Montreal Impact

MONTREAL – It was back to work for the Impact on Wednesday, as the MLS expansion club returned home to Montreal for a quick week of training before heading off to its next preseason camp in Southern California.

Jesse Marsch led a 90-minute, fitness-centric training session on Wednesday at the Marie-Victorin Sports Complex, and the Impact players looked eager to start up where they’d left off after their first preseason trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. They were down one companion, though, as local forward Reda Agourram didn't make the first cut.

As the start of the MLS season draws closer, more cuts will be made, yet the staff is in no rush to trim the roster.

“We had good meetings with every player at the end of the Mexico trip,” Marsch told reporters after training. “We let them know of what we think, where we’re all at and where they fit. Most players will travel with us to California, but no definite decision has been made.”

Agourram was released after the camp in Mexico, but Marsch believes there could be a spot for him on the roster sometime in the future.

“Agourram did OK down in Mexico, but with his age and experience, we felt the most important thing for him right now is to get games,” Marsch explained. “We’re trying to maintain links with different clubs in the NASL, so we hope to continue a relationship with Reda so he can play in the second division, establish himself within a team and we could evaluate how he’d fit with us a year from now.”

While the club doesn’t seem in much of a hurry to add players, Marsch did admit to making an offer for former Philadelphia Union striker Sébastien Le Toux, who was instead dealt to Vancouver. The British Columbia club simply made a better offer, according to the Montreal gaffer.

Most players, including midfielder Patrice Bernier and forward Justin Braun, again reiterated the importance of getting fit and establishing togetherness within the team. And since every group needs a leader, Marsch acknowledged he had a few candidates in mind for the position of team captain. His answers on that subject suggest Bernier and former Sporting Kansas City skipper Davy Arnaud are early frontrunners.

A few players were still unavailable for training. Bobby Burling and Gienir García were missing, while Andrew Wenger will meet his teammates at the end of this week. Former Inter Milan defender Nelson Rivas skipped the session because of injury concerns, though the Impact head coach downplayed the seriousness of the knock.

“It’s a minor setback,” Marsch stated. “Rivas tweaked his hamstring a little bit, and we’re disappointed for him, because he’s done a lot to push himself and get ready for this season. He’s really excited to be a part of this team, and up until the moment he got injured, he was fantastic within the group. He’ll be travelling with the team to California.”

The Impact will train three more times in Montreal before flying to the West Coast next Monday, where they will face the Houston Dynamo, the Portland Timbers and the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.