MONTREAL – No less than 14 players who plied their trade with another MLS team are on Montreal's roster, yet the Impact had to wait until the month of June to see one of them score against their old club – namely Lamar Neagle when he netted last Saturday against the Seattle Sounders.
The Impact’s next opponents, Chivas USA, have provided two of these players: forward Justin Braun and defender Zarek Valentin. Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch has all but confirmed there would be little to no changes in the Impact’s lineup on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), which means Valentin will get the nod at right back against the club which drafted him fourth overall in 2011.
And while he plays much further back than Neagle, Valentin (above) will nevertheless hope he takes a leaf out of his teammate’s book against Chivas.
“Lamar scoring against his old team, I’m sure, was a little bit extra ‘oomph’ for him, but I’m not focused on that,” Valentin told reporters on Monday. “I just want to go, and if we win and I play terribly, that’s all that really matters: we got the win.”
Once in a while, soccer clubs try to spring a big surprise on their opposition in an attempt to get the better of them. Marsch might feel, though, that the Goats cannot stun him more than they did last November, when they left Valentin unprotected ahead of the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft.
And Marsch knew right there and then that the 20-year-old would be part of his club. The move has paid dividends, as the Montreal boss feels Valentin has been living up to the potential he showed at Akron by cutting down on his defensive lapses.
“Right away, he was probably one of the biggest surprises in terms of names on the list – Brian Ching was another one, but ... Zarek was pretty big," Marsch told reporters with a chuckle. “We got a lot of calls about Zarek from other teams looking to make trades with us, and we pretty much said, right away, ‘We’re not trading him, we're taking him.’ And he’s been great here. He’s only going to get better and continue to grow.”