Adam Braz -- Close Up -- On the sideline
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Montreal Impact's deadline-day signings provide experience for playoff push

They may have saved their activity for the end, but the Montreal Impact finished the Secondary Transfer Window in busy fashion on Wednesday.

Montreal picked up three players on the final day of the window, trading Dominic Oduro to the San Jose Earthquakes for Quincy Amarikwa, picking up midfielder Micheal Azira in a trade with the Colorado Rapids, and in the one of the biggest deadline-day deals in MLS, signed experienced French defender Bacary Sagna on a free transfer.

Following the flurry of activity, Impact technical director Adam Braz talked about the moves with reporters on Thursday. Braz, who credited Impact head coach Remi Garde for helping sell Sagna on the move to Montreal, spoke highly of the newcomers.

"We're happy to have been able to add three players at the deadline on three different lines of the field," he said. "Bacary has played over 300 games at the highest level in Europe. Played in World Cup, Euro championship final. So he brings a wealth of experience and was playing at the highest level as of last season in Serie A. He's going to help solidify the backline, and help others improve around him."

Azira, 30, is in his fifth season in MLS. The rugged defensive midfielder was brought in to bolster the depth at that position.

"Micheal is a player with a lot of experience within MLS, 90 games within MLS," Braz said. "It's a position on the field that we were pretty light in terms of actual numbers, so it's something we felt we needed to add. And he brings that, the position of central midfielder, and the experience factor."

Amarikwa, also 30, had been used almost exclusively as a substitute forward in San Jose after returning from a major knee injury, something Braz referenced in discussing the player's desire.

"Quincy is a player also with a ton of experience in MLS, 190 games in the league. He's someone that's very eager and hungry. He's had a tough go in terms of the injury to his knee a couple years ago. He was back in the mix this year, coming off the bench, and he's coming here with a point to prove. So we're looking for him to bring enthusiasm and energy, those are two big parts of his game."

Prior to the late moves, it had appeared Montreal's transfer window would be notable primarily for a move that didn't take place, as the team's indications that they would be signing French forward Jimmy Briand fell through.

"It's not a secret that he was the priority in terms of trying to sign him, and it didn't happen," Braz said. "You have to turn the page. Sometimes these types of things happen in the world of soccer, you move on."

Still, the technical director noted that the Impact had never placed all their proverbial eggs in the basket of signing Briand, instead working on several deals this window.

The bottom line? With Montreal sitting in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but only two points above the playoff line, Braz is confident the team is stronger now.

"I think today as a group we're better than we were yesterday," he said.

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