MONTREAL – It was midseason review time at Montreal Impact headquarters on Monday morning. Players and coaches didn’t let the recent downturn in results tarnish their fine report card after 17 MLS games, and sporting director Nick De Santis expressed great satisfaction with how the squad he's assembled has managed the first half of 2013.
But staying at the top of the mountain is a tough task, so the Impact aren't ruling out reinforcements altogether.
Should the team need bolstering, the 29 players currently signed – a 30th, Zarek Valentin, is currently on loan at Norway’s Bodø/Glimt – leaves limited room for player movement. De Santis will thus only consider the most favorable options.
“With the transfer window opening on July 9, are we still looking to improve the team? Yes, but we'll only make a decision when we're talking one, two players who can really increase the team’s level,” De Santis told reporters on Monday. “Otherwise, we’re really comfortable with what we have.”
Squad depth is a particular point of pride for De Santis. He cited Collen Warner’s recent performances – and considering how his waning number of minutes this season compared to last, his attitude coming into them – as an example. For De Santis, players like Warner can grant the regular starters a rest while maintaining a high standard of play.
De Santis has been looking at adding creative pieces to his puzzle for months and once again reiterated these intentions on Monday. Stabilizing the defense is another objective, however.
In this respect, the case of Nelson Rivas appears to be of some concern. The center back is still recuperating from a knee surgery, and the last appearance in his 11-game MLS career was on September 15, 2012.
“Nelson’s situation is a very complicated one,” De Santis admitted. “I think we’ve done everything in order to put him in the best possible conditions. He still feels pain, but now, it's coming down to going on the field and see what can happen. As a club, we have to start thinking about the future of this defensive line.”