Most Montreal Impact supporters felt there were two things missing on the team before Tuesday’s 2012 Supplemental Draft: firepower and Canadian players. The club must have heard them.
The Impact loaded up on goal scoring potential with Canadian winger Evan James (above, left) selected as the No. 1 pick of the draft, followed by American forwards Aaron Schoenfeld and Steven Miller as well as Canadian striker Carl Haworth. Between them, the four players scored 36 goals and recorded 21 assists last season in the college ranks.
“We tried to recruit the best players available according to our positional needs,” head coach Jesse Marsch told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “We feel the players we got will round out our roster in a good way.”
The four players are now expected to compete for spots on the roster with Reda Agourram, Mircea Ilcu and Eduardo Sebrango. All three marksmen are invited players at Montreal’s training camp.
The Impact took care of business and worked overtime on Tuesday. Not only did the club have a hand in the lightning-fast Supplemental Draft, but it also acquired left back Gienir García from the Vancouver Whitecaps. In return, the ‘Caps obtained the discovery rights to Maltese international forward Étienne Barbara.
Vancouver drafted the 22-year-old García No. 2 overall in the Supplemental Draft. He played 10 games for Mexican Liga de Ascenso club Cruz Azul Hidalgo during the past two years and also managed two games in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round for top-flight Cruz Azul, scoring a goal in the process.
Barbara, on the other hand, was the NASL’s Golden Boot and MVP last season, scoring 20 goals for the Carolina RailHawks. He had recently refused a contract offer from the Montreal club, making it known he wanted to be sent elsewhere. Should he sign with Vancouver, he will rejoin forces with Martin Rennie, his former coach with Carolina.
“We felt the whole scenario of the negotiations, the roster we have and the player available put us in a situation where it was better for us to trade rather than try to figure out a way to get Barbara on our team,” Marsch explained.
The Impact will hold the first training session of their 12-day trip to Mexico on Thursday and will face Primera División club Chivas de Guadalajara on Sunday. James is already with the team and will be joined by Schoenfeld and García – the latter already waiting in his home country. Miller and Haworth will meet the team in Montreal at the end of the month.