For the past two weeks, MLSsoccer.com has previewed each of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer, beginning with the clubs that brought up the bottom of the table in 2011 and ending with the league's newest addition, the Montreal Impact. This is part two of two previewing Montreal's 2012 season. You can find Part 1 here.
Depth Chart: 1. Donovan Ricketts, 2. Greg Sutton, 3. Evan Bush
Strengths: Despite losing his starting spot to Josh Saunders last season for the LA Galaxy, Ricketts remains one of the top goalkeepers in MLS. In Sutton, Montreal have a veteran No. 2 'keeper who knows both the league and the city.
Weaknesses: It was an injury that left the door wide open for Saunders to grab the No. 1 spot in LA. Expectations will be high on Ricketts, and another stop by the treatment table would hugely disappoint Montreal.
Wildcard: At age 26, Bush is about to embark on the most exciting journey of his career: trying to pass Sutton as No. 2 keeper in Montreal. Once nicknamed “Harry Potter” by former Montreal boss Marc dos Santos, Bush will need plenty of magic tricks to achieve his goal.
Depth Chart: LB 1. Josh Gardner, 2. Tyson Wahl; CB 1. Tyson Wahl – Matteo Ferrari, 2. Shavar Thomas, 3. Hassoun Camara, 4. Nelson Rivas; RB 1. Zarek Valentin, 2. Jeb Brovsky
Strengths: Jesse Marsch can count on many versatile defenders. Wahl, usually a left-back, made the left center-back position his own during preseason. Valentin can help out pretty much everywhere. Camara can fill in at right back. When the time comes for a makeshift defense, the Impact coach probably won’t be too worried.
Weaknesses: With both Valentin and Brovsky in their second MLS seasons, there is not much experience at right back. Others might be called upon to fill in, but these two are the natural right backs of the squad.
Wildcard: While Rivas would have been among the starters in most circumstances, a thigh injury relegates him to the bottom of the depth chart for now. How long will it be until he can finally start at the heart of the Impact defense?
Depth Chart: LM 1. Justin Mapp, 2. Lamar Neagle, 3. Sinisa Ubiparipovic; CM 1. Patrice Bernier – Felipe Martins, 2. Davy Arnaud, 3. Collen Warner 4. Bryan Arguez; RM 1. Davy Arnaud, 2. Sanna Nyassi, 3. Sinisa Ubiparipovic
Strengths: The discovery of this preseason was the combination of Montreal native Bernier and Brazilian Felipe in the center of the park. Bernier has the wisdom of a Europe veteran, while Felipe has the energy of youth.
Weaknesses: The transition from midfield to attack has been letting the Impact down for weeks now. While there is no denying the midfielders’ fitness, they just seem to have a hard time linking up with the forwards.
Wildcard: Listed as a side midfield player here, Ubiparipovic probably lacks the pace he would need to be a threat from Montreal’s current central midfield spots. But should Marsch play a higher mid in front of Bernier and Felipe, the 28-year-old would have the skills to make everyone around him better.
Depth Chart: 1. Justin Braun, 2. Mike Fucito, 3. Miguel Montaño, 4. Eduardo Sebrango, 5. Andrew Wenger
Strengths: The Impact can count on energetic young forwards (with the obvious exception of 38-year-old, yet very fit, Sebrango) who will do all they can to impress Marsch.
Weaknesses: Montreal’s attack is crying out for depth, even more so with No. 1 SuperDraft pick Wenger studying until May (which is why he is listed at No. 5 here). Nyassi might be part of the front two at times.
Wildcard: When it comes to who will arrive in the summer, Impact owner Joey Saputo has refused to name names. Pleanty of names have been mooted, but that mystery player is widely expected to be the striker Montreal fans have been loudly requesting.
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