Midseason review: Impact sits on top of Eastern Conference
With the midpoint of the 2013 MLS campaign coming to term for the Impact Sunday night, it’s hard not to notice the drastic improvements the team has made in its sophomore season, despite its recent three-game winless streak.
Kicking 2013 off with a win in Seattle
Top of the table
Take a look at the standings and the team atop the table in the Eastern Conference is the second-year squad from la belle province.
On 17 games, the Impact has 31 points with a record of 9-4-4 and is one point ahead of second place Sporting Kansas City with two games in hand. Last year at this time, the Impact had a record of 5-8-5, with 13 points less than this season and was barely clinging on to a top five spot.
One of the biggest reasons for the Impact’s point improvement has to be the man on the side line. Marco Schällibaum has been able to instill some chemistry that was lacking in 2012 through his leadership, winning mentality and fiery personality.
In 2013, Impact Designated Player Marco Di Vaio is tied for the league lead in goals scored with 11 from 17 games. Needless to say, Di Vaio will most definitely have time to work on his new team scoring record with half a year left to play.
Winning the Voyageurs Cup in Vancouver
The Impact fizzled out of the Canadian Championship tournament last year, losing to TFC in the semi-final two-game aggregate goal series, getting shutout by the Reds 2-0 over the two games. This season, the Impact came home with the Voyageurs trophy, having played three strong games, including a 6-0 thrashing of Toronto at Stade Saputo.
All-star discussions last year at this time barely contained a whisper about the Montreal Impact, although Bernier had started to round into form. This year, Di Vaio, Bernier, defender Matteo Ferrari, midfielders Felipe and Justin Mapp, along with goalkeeper Troy Perkins, have all been in the discussion – with a good bet that the Impact has at least one representative versus AS Roma on July 31 in KC.
So, despite a few dark clouds recently, the sun is still shining at the top of the mountain as the Impact is the best team in the Eastern Conference.