MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact ended a physically and mentally grueling one-week evaluation camp on Saturday with an intrasquad game, in which head coach Jesse Marsch was able to evaluate the participating players one last time before making his final decisions next week.
Dealing with a few injured players, Marsch had to settle for a 10-a-side game for 70 minutes which saw Senegalese striker Mignane Diouf score both goals for the yellow team and Jeremiah White getting the only goal for the blue team.
“I thought it was a good effort,” Marsch said. “It looked more like a soccer game than some of the training sessions that were a little too wide open.”
Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, who was back in a full week of training for the first time in four months due to an ankle injury, was satisfied with his own performance pulling three key saves during today’s game.
“It’s been a tough week, but it’s been good,” the former Columbus Crew 'keeper said. “The boys battled all year and to have to come back and compete like this is difficult. The attitude and intensity shown this week was impressive. Everybody stepped up.”
Defender Wes Knight, who was recently released by the Vancouver Whitecaps, had similar thoughts on the week, explaining that the players felt tired from this week’s practices.
“The week was hard, which is probably why the guys had heavy legs today,” Knight said. “The staff worked us well, but we got quality in every training session and everything was very competitive. It’s a good way to end the week.”
Marsch and his staff — including newly hired Mike Sorber — now face tough decisions, as they will be meeting each player next Monday to discuss their future with the club. Marsch took the time to praise the players that participated in this camp.
“I have been very happy with the amount of energy and effort that all the guys have put into this week,” he said. “We all know this was an important week for everybody, and I appreciate all their efforts. Now, we’ve got to figure out how it all fits.”
The next few weeks will be very busy for the coach and his staff as he prepares his team for an inaugural season in the MLS. Marsch, who went to London at the end of September, will be traveling to South America at the end of next week for 10 days, alongside sporting director Nick De Santis.
Both will be also need to be prepared for the Expansion Draft in November and January's SuperDraft.
Asked if he was looking to plan another training camp after the Expansion Draft, Marsch said that he will instead be looking at other smaller camps.
“There’s the potential for different evaluation camps set up by other people that we might be at," he said, "but nothing like this week’s camp."