The inaugural season in the first division always represents a big challenge for any sports team and the Montreal Impact saw some success in 2012. However, three important things were missing at the beginning of the season last year and they will be key to the club’s success for Year 2.
A clear objective
Beginner’s nerves and an unbalanced schedule brought with it a hope to make the playoffs instead of a profound belief. With a deeper knowledge of the league, its opponents and its own roster, the conviction to get it done is now instilled within the club. With central defenders with great experience, a dynamic and creative midfield, the Impact has what it takes to make the playoffs. The team had a lot of success at Stade Saputo last season, but road games were a different story. The road to the playoffs requires a more aggressive approach on the road and as a result, the accumulation of the all-important important road points, which started with 6 points on the West Coast.
A better defined identity
Sporting director Nick De Santis professed to the media that 2012 was a year in which the team learned more about itself, which helped to re-establish the club’s identity. After a short experiment with more physical players that had a lot of MLS experience, focus has moved to players with more technical skill, soccer intelligence and passion. As an analyst, but more importantly as a lover of the game, these three aspects of the game are the most important in my philosophy and the supporters will be pleased as they get to see their favourite players express themselves on the field with more freedom and skill.
An active public
With the dedication of an entire section to the Ultras and new chants for 2012, the Impact’s first season was one of learning and adjustment for the team’s supporters. However, they had an immediate effect on the likes of Felipe or Marco Di Vaio, where relationships were quickly forged between player and supporter and vice versa. A stadium in which its supporters sing in unison sends chills down the players’ spines and will unite the efforts of head coach Marco Schällibaum’s troops. However, the singing requires cooperation of those outside the supporters’ section. I loved the way the fans interacted towards the end of the season. Supporting your club is not simply a right, it’s a responsibility. Chant responsibly!
Love your city, support your club!
Olivier Brett is the soccer analyst for TVA Sports, official broadcast partner of the Montreal Impact.