MONTREAL – It’s only their second year in MLS, but the Montreal Impact already have five Homegrown Players on their roster. And for at least a couple of them, their time could be coming soon.
After Montreal announced that they put Swiss left back Dennis Iapichino on waivers on Tuesday, sporting director Nick De Santis said that the move would provide further opportunities for Montreal’s Homegrowns. Iapichino, 23, played 1,152 minutes in 16 games since joining the club on July 11, 2012, maintaining a 9-5-2 record (7-4-1 as a starter).
The decision was a difficult one – “He's a good kid,” De Santis said of Iapichino – but it had to be made so the player has sufficient time to find another team and the Impact has more leeway to give playing time to Homegrowns as MLS and CONCACAF Champions League fixtures pile up. Montreal’s current depth, De Santis said, is adequate.
“Obviously we evaluated [Iapichino] every day, every training session,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “For younger players who don't play many minutes, we look at either the sporting side or the personal side, and in the end, we decided that if we were to give minutes, we’d better give them to a younger, local players.”
So far, three Impact Homegrowns have made their MLS debut: Wandrille Lefèvre, Karl W. Ouimette and Maxim Tissot. All three fit the profile of the typical academy defender, asked to play out from the back with confidence. While a chance might come for recently converted center back Lefèvre, a central midfielder by trade, the other two names spring to mind when it comes to Iapichino’s full back position.
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The 21-year-old Ouimette can play both center and right back, and he has put in good performances of late at the latter position in Reserve League matches. But on the other side, Tissot, 21, is, like Iapichino, a left flank specialist.
“It always depends on the coach, but certainly, Maxim has been with the team for a while, and if that can give him some more space, it’s better for him and for us as a club,” De Santis said.