Over the next three weeks, MLSsoccer.com will take a look back at the 2012 season that was for all 19 clubs in Major League Soccer, starting with Toronto FC and ending with the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes. You can find the schedule and comprehensive reviews for each team here.
2012 record: 12-16-6 (42 points); 45 GF / 51 GA (-6 GD)
Editor's note: The Montreal Impact didn't make a member of the technical staff available for a postseason question-and-answer session.
There was nothing “off” about how the Montreal Impact’s offseason kicked off. The team immediately embarked on a two-week tour of Italy, which added to the questions already asked regarding not only the squad but also Jesse Marsch’s eventual successor.
The club looked at a number of trialists in Italy, but there is at least one other scouting trip (to South America) in the books. Montreal has already brought a number of new faces to MLS. Some tranisitioned seamlessly, some did not. Will there be others in 2013? You can bet on it. The question is whether or not whoever ends up in the technical area will be new to North American soccer, too.
How can the team’s postseason tour of Italy help the club bolster the squad?
“One of the reasons we're going to Europe and we're able to play in Bologna is the fact that Marco Di Vaio is going to go back and play against his old teammates. When we're in Europe, we're going to have the opportunity to meet other players; not only Italian players, but also players that play in Italy. Guys like [Matteo] Ferrari, [Alessandro] Nesta and Di Vaio, they have nothing but great things to say about this city, this organization and the fans that they play for.”
What kind of reinforcements can we expect for 2013?
“I don’t want to go into detail, but another creative midfielder, whether it’s a wide player or underneath the forward, would probably help this team get better. Maybe another central midfielder to help out Patrice [Bernier] and [Collen] Warner (right) – [Calum] Mallace has done a good job, but in those positions, we need that experience because it’s a position where the players hold great responsibilities. We’re going to have further discussions on what our needs are, and we want to be very specific and detailed. We want to take our time, because we think that there’s a very good foundation here.”
– Impact sporting director Nick De Santis, during postseason press conference. On December 10, De Santis further told the Impact’s website that “the attacking position will have to be addressed.”
How has this first season shaped the mentality of the team?
“Even in tough times, this was a group that stuck with each other and believed in each other. There have been rumors of bickering and whatnot. That’s only normal. In the end, we have enough professionals and good personalities on this team that it has maintained its positivity throughout this whole season.”
– De Santis, during postseason press conference
Jesse Marsch saw Felipe's (right) strong play coming...
“I think Felipe has done really well. He went to Italy when he was 16 [Ed. Note: He was actually 15] and he understands, tactically, how things are done. He’s sharp on the ball, he’s smart, he’s clever; he’s got a lot of good qualities. I saw this when I went to watch him in Switzerland, and I was hopeful that we had found a little gem.”
On what Montreal need to work on for next season…
“I don’t know, maybe we wanted to do some sort of flashback on our season. We created a lot of chances and couldn’t score, and they manage to score [late on] on a corner kick that was one of maybe two chances they created. It’s heartbreaking, but the season’s over, so we’ve got a few months to work on those details.”
– Bernier, after 1-0 loss at home to New England on October 27. A.J. Soares’ winner was scored on yet another late set piece.
On how the preseason Brian Ching situation has influenced further decisions…
“We’re learning. With [Eddie] Johnson, we can see he now has 14 goals and has made a difference in Seattle. We tried to convince him into coming to Montreal, but he came back from Europe for personal reasons and wanted to stay in the United States with his family. Could we have held on to him? Yes, but that’s how the Brian Ching situation started. This is why we took that decision.”
“I can't help but laugh when so-called experts talk about our next coach. All I can say is that you guys are way off! You know who you are.”