MONTREAL – Should the Montreal Impact qualify for the Canadian Championship finals, an already hectic month of May would become even busier. In total it could add up to a leg-sapping eight games in 25 days, which means squad rotation will be key.
Head coach Jesse Marsch has not made monumental changes to his lineup thus far in the club's inaugural MLS season, instead choosing to make small tweaks from time to time. Though Marsch says he knows what his best group is, opportunities will be there for members of the second unit - who are likely to see more than just spot duty in the coming month.
“We'll see how different performances play out,” Marsch told reporters on Tuesday. “The fact is that certain guys are better in games, certain guys are better in training, certain guys know how to make big plays, certain guys are prone to mistakes. A lot of guys are going to get a shot and it’ll be important for them to do well when they get their shot. Then we’ll see how things fit into place after May.”
Eight games into the season, Montreal have the worst defensive record in MLS with 15 goals conceded. It is therefore understandable that the defenders who have been witness to those goals from the substitutes' bench or from the stands are currently peeking over the starters’ shoulders, waiting for the right moment to sneak in.
One of those players is Hassoun Camara, whose injury worries have hampered his progress. The Frenchman is getting close to his optimum level and sounds confident that he can force his way onto the pitch in the next few days.
“Everyday, whether I’m part of the lineup or not, I try to do my best during weekday practices,” Camara explained. “I feel very well, physically and soccer-wise. I’ll keep going and I’ll see what happens this weekend or next Wednesday. … If you only knew how hungry for games I am.”
Tyson Wahl, who has played 630 minutes at center back and left back this season, feels such an attitude from players like Camara can only help the Impact turn the tide on what has been a challenging start.
“There’s always competition for spots,” Wahl said. “Some of our guys are recovering from injuries, so that’s good for our team. It adds depth, it adds competition. With guys are chasing behind your back, you fight for your spot and that’s what it’s all about.”