Ever since they got into MLS, the Montreal Impact have taught us to expect the unexpected. They certainly added to that aura at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
Aside from Blake Smith’s selection at eighth overall, which straightaway felt like Montreal were addressing a direct need, Montreal’s picks all felt somewhat surprising. The one pick that had most observers scratching their heads was midfielder Fernando Monge, selected at 18th overall when he might have been available in Tuesday's Supplemental Draft.
For Montreal, though, the objective was always to look for players that fit a specific profile based on technique and savvy, which Monge fit.
“There were other speedy players with good physical qualities on the board, but at the table, we kept on telling each other that we had to go for the type of player we're looking for,” sporting director Nick De Santis said in a conference call on Thursday. “Monge has good technique, he can read the play and he can play both as a second striker and as an attacking midfielder, where we have needs.”
As for their second-round picks, Montreal mainly surprised by not taking a Canadian prospect. Patrice Bernier and Karl Ouimette are the only two domestic players under contract for Montreal, who are thus one short of the required minimum of three.
Paolo DelPiccolo, Montreal’s choice at No. 27, is another midfield prospect whose soccer intelligence caught the eye not only of the Impact brass, but of college scouts in general. The caveat is that DelPiccolo is currently on trial with Eintracht Frankfurt – Canadian international Olivier Occéan’s side – and will therefore not be in Montreal for the start of training camp on Monday.
"Right before we made the pick, we called his Louisville coach, and he said that he was apparently doing quite well at Frankfurt,” De Santis explained. “He was invited by Eintracht, so that's a good sign for him, but we know that he has a will to come to MLS. He just wasn't offered a contract and he decided to go on trial before making any decision.”
For his part, goalkeeper Brad Stuver, the 32nd overall selection of this year’s SuperDraft, will seemingly become Troy Perkins’ and Evan Bush’s understudy. Yet it was widely expected that either Maxime Crépeau or Jason Beaulieu, two Academy goalkeepers, would become at once third goalkeeper and third Canadian on the roster.
“Academy prospects will be at training camp,” De Santis confirmed. "Wandrille Lefevre will be there, others like Maxim Tissot, too. There will be an opportunity for an Academy player to become the third Canadian.”