MONTREAL – At the end, Jesse Marsch and the Impact front office agreed to disagree.
In a press conference on Saturday, Marsch sat alongside club president Joey Saputo and sporting director Nick De Santis, and confirmed that he was leaving the club "by mutual consent." But for those in attendance, the tense atmosphere that prevailed at Stade Saputo revealed the significant difference between the beliefs of the first-year coach and those of the longtime club executives.
“Looking ahead, we realized that while we had the same goals, we do not share the same philosophy,” Marsch told reporters. “This is first and foremost a question of respect for the club, what it has accomplished, and where it is heading in the future. I had several discussions with Joey and Nick to see if we could make it work, and the conclusion was that an amicable split is the best solution going forward.”
When asked about the specific disagreements between the coach and the front office, Saputo pointed at the “little things” making it difficult for both parties to come together, though he declined to say which.
“The important thing is that we realized that, moving forward, it would have been difficult for it to work,” Saputo said. “At that point, we decided that it’s best for the club, best for me, best for Jesse that we go our separate ways.”
When Marsch, for his part, was asked if the philosophical differences extended to his relationship with certain players, in particular Italian stars Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta, the reply was brief.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Marsch said.
Five minutes later, the Impact’s first-ever MLS coach was gone.
Outside on the field, the squad trained in a cold drizzle. All expressed sadness over Marsch’s departure, insisting that they had maintained a collaborative relationship with Marsch throughout his tenure. They could see, though, where the front office and coach disagreed.
“The club was thinking about a different type of football than Jesse proposed this season, and they probably decided that it wasn't enough,” defender Matteo Ferrari told reporters. “People say that we had a great season because it was our first, but, for me the truth is that with the team we had, we should have made the playoffs this season. We didn’t. So maybe the club was thinking [the same thing]. But that doesn’t mean the fault is Jesse’s.”