MONTREAL – Andres Romero is courteous and polite during interviews. It clearly isn’t his favorite part of the job, but he’ll do them.
But a twinkle will appear in his eye if he gets to talk about one topic of choice: his 21-month-old twin boys.
“They’ve grown so much,” Romero told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “They eat a lot. They crush everything in their path. They’re the most beautiful thing in the world.”
And they’re part of the reason why Montreal Impact fans can call Romero one of their own. Having played in his native Argentina and Brazil his entire career, Romero sought out better opportunities for his children when he joined Montreal in 2013.
MLS turned out to be a fine opportunity for his future, too.
Romero’s stock has risen every year since he first came to Montreal, first on loan from Brazilian club Tombense. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t impressed ever since his arrival. His second-ever touch in MLS was an assist to Felipe against the Portland Timbers on March 9, 2013.
Romero did, however, struggle off the field.
His wife Maria stayed in their home country of Argentina when he first joined Montreal. She was pregnant with the twins, and the distance started to weigh on Romero.
His performances worsened in the second half of season, as did his temper – Romero ended his season by kicking Houston Dynamo's Kofi Sarkodie in a 2013 playoff loss, leaving Impact fans unmoved when his loan expired.
But Romero never lost the support of the front office and came back in February 2014, along with Maria and the boys. Eight months later, Romero had laid into none of his opponents and been named the Impact MVP for the season with six goals and three assists in 29 games. Montreal signed him to a permanent deal in early 2015.
“ was a difficult year,” Romero said. “Not only was my family in Argentina, but I’d arrived in a new country, where they speak another language. I had to adapt to completely new circumstances. Then, when the family got to Montreal last year, it was already easier. I understood the language better. I could simply focus on my work, on my football. And on a personal level, it’s going very well.”
Through eight MLS appearances this season, Romero has scored three goals and provided an assist. He also scored twice in the CONCACAF Champions League knockout round – including the decisive away goal at Alajuelense in the semifinals. It’s going well, indeed, and it could get even better this Saturday, as Montreal have a chance to win a second straight away game when they play against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium (7 pm ET; MLS LIVE).
Romero’s numbers actually aren’t too different than they were at this point last year – he scored his fourth goal of the 2014 season exactly a year ago. What makes this season feel like a breakout for Romero is the fact that Montreal are now winning.
“When the team goes well, all players benefit,” Romero said. “It’s my case as well. Hopefully, it’ll keep going like this. I think we have a very good team, and we can put together some more great games, still.”
The Argentine attacking duo of Romero and Ignacio Piatti are no strangers to that. Whenever one of them has contributed to an MLS goal this season, Montreal have not lost. In all competitions, Piatti has assisted three of Romero’s strikes, while Romero has returned the favor once.
“It’s been going really well with him,” Piatti told reporters on Thursday. “He puts on some very good performances for the Impact, for all of us. We’re on the right path.”
Given their origins, Romero and Piatti have gotten along well from the get-go. It didn’t take long after Piatti joined Montreal last summer before they started carpooling to training. That is reflected on the field, where it sometimes looks as if they are seeking each other out. But it’s far from being the case, according to Romero.
“We’re not trying to do that,” Romero said. “It comes naturally because we get along well. A nice chemistry came together. I hope it’ll carry on throughout the year. We know each other’s movements. Nacho is a great player. Playing with him is easy.”
Performance attracts interest, and not just from fans or the media.
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The 30-year-old Piatti, for one, has received offers from Mexico and Malaysia, but he insists that he is happy in Montreal. Romero, still only 25, could also become a transfer target in the future.
Romero knows the world of soccer is full of surprises, but he, too, is happy where he is.
“This is home,” Romero said. “If I was asked, today, to sign a contract for five, six years with Montreal, I’d sign it, no questions asked.”
The Romeros do return to Argentina in the winter months – to avoid the Montreal cold – but they always look forward to their flight back here. This is, after all, where the twins have spent most of their young lives.
“They don’t really like snow for now,” Romero said. “But they’ll get used to it.”