MONTREAL – Chances are there will be very few dry eyes among longtime Impact supporters when the curtain is drawn on the 2012 season this weekend.
Of course Montreal will be back for another season in 2013, but the same may well not be said for a player the fans have loved since 2002, even during his stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps: striker Eduardo Sebrango.
The former Cuban international (above, left), who scored 51 goals in seven seasons with Montreal before the club made the jump to MLS, turned 39 years old this spring. It therefore came to no surprise when he told local station TVA Sports two months ago that this was probably his last professional season (watch it here).
Saturday’s encounter against the New England Revolution at Stade Saputo (2 pm ET, watch LIVE online) will likely turn into Sebrango’s last goodbye to the Montreal faithful. Head coach Jesse Marsch is adamant that Sebrango will factor in the match, and the player can only smile at the idea.
WATCH: Impact players' say thanks to fans
“It’s probably going to be a full house,” Sebrango told reporters on Tuesday. “The fans have supported me over the years, so it would be nice to get involved and play the last game of the season.”
Despite his original delight at beating long odds to sign a top-flight contract earlier this year – he had come back from a short-lived retirement during the 2011 season – it has been a frustrating season for Sebrango. The striker only managed one start – a memorable 2-0 away win at Kansas City in May – and a total of 109 minutes on the field.
“Whatever team you play for, whatever age you are, you want to be a big part of something,” Sebrango said. “It’s something that I cannot control. I’m pretty happy with myself and the things that I've done.”
Fans that have watched Sebrango train know why he is satisfied. Oftentimes, the Impact’s No. 16 is one of the last players off the field because of an extra lap he runs or that extra piece of advice he bestows upon one of the team’s younger prospects.
And even flirting with age 40, Sebrango remains one of the fittest players on the roster.
“It’s always nice to have the guys with the most work rate to be your older veteran guys because the young guys can see that and they see that that’s what it takes to play the game that long and be that successful,” Marsch said, before expressing what Montreal soccer enthusiasts have always known.
“And he’s just a great guy,” Marsch said. “Really just a great guy.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com