MONTREAL – When asked about the Montreal Impact’s next opponents this coming Saturday, the Portland Timbers, head coach Jesse Marsch could not help but grin.
“He can’t play against us, by the way,” he said.
The “he” in question is Mike Fucito, the recently traded forward who was picked up two months ago in a trade with the Seattle Sounders before being shipped to the Timbers last week.
The inclusion of such a clause between the Timbers and the Impact goes to show the potential importance of a player like Fucito. But Marsch admitted that the 26-year-old striker, who scored one goal in MLS reserve league action and played 26 minutes with the first team, never quite settled in Montreal.
“We had some big hopes for Mike coming in,” Marsch told reporters after practice on Monday. “In the end, I think he thought that the combination of him not wanting to be here and him seeing that there’s a lot of competition at that position meant that he felt his future might be somewhere else.”
Settling in or not, the success of Serie A veteran Bernardo Corradi, Sanna Nyassi’s good form and Andrew Wenger’s successful cameos also certainly played a role in the Impact's decision to part with Fucito. It's in stark contrast to Marsch's thoughts regarding the other acquisition in the trade with Seattle: Lamar Neagle. The 24-year-old winger has been solid for the Impact so far and provided an excellent assist for Bernardo Corradi’s first goal from open play in MLS last week versus D.C. United.
No question in Marsch’s mind, then: the Johnson for Fucito and Neagle trade has been a good one and will keep on paying dividends.
“The chance to get both of them, we thought, was a really good option to give us depth,” Marsch said. “Without knowing exactly how the allocation lottery was going to stack up, the one thing we didn’t want to get caught on was it expiring and us not using it.
“In the end, we thought we’d leverage it the way we did, and I still think that getting Lamar here has been a great addition for us. What we got from Mike and the potential of what it could become still will help us in the future.”