MONTREAL – Two games into his Montreal Impact career, Issey Nakajima-Farran already feels at home – on the field and off it.
“The guys are very welcoming, the staff, everybody,” Nakajima-Farran told reporters on Saturday night. “It’s been a very easy transition, a lot easier than the other club [Toronto FC]. This has been very good for me.”
It’s been very good for the Impact as well. In his first game at Stade Saputo, Nakajima-Farran was a handful for the New England Revolution on Saturday in a 2-0 win. He covered the left flank – and the right, to a certain extent, when he switched positions with Andres Romero – as if he’d had all of Montreal's 12 games to fit in, completing all but two of his passes without shunning his defensive responsibilities.
Only the quirks of soccer denied him an official assist on Jack McInerney’s goal: Nakajima-Farran picked up the ball well inside the Impact’s half before motoring forward to blast a shot against Bobby Shuttleworth’s chest, producing the precious rebound. The Montreal fans voting Nakajima-Farran as Man of the Match was a testament to how smooth this shift from Ontario to Québec has been.
“I’m surprised too [about the chemistry], actually, because it usually takes a good five, six, seven games,” Nakajima-Farran said. “It just clicks. Everybody’s playing simple, one, two touches, ball's zipping around. I felt comfortable, and the guys kind of know my movements too. … It’s good. I feel comfortable.”
Looking around him, Nakajima-Farran cannot believe that this Impact team sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. But on the flip side, Montreal have a chance to win a trophy this Wednesday when they host his former club, Toronto, in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship (7:30pm et, Sportsnet One) with the score at 1-1.
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Unavailable for this game, Nakajima-Farran still trusts that his new teammates will “prove a point that we’re a better team.”
“The guys are buzzing,” Nakajima-Farran said. “We've got a big game coming on Wednesday. I wish the guys well because I can't play. It's a big game for us.
“I hope they beat Toronto. I really do. I really do.”