At the beginning of the season, if you would have told Daniel Lovitz that he was going to play more minutes this year than in his whole MLS career, he might have laughed you out of the room. Drafted in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC, the winger turned full-back logged 1,387 minutes over three seasons with the Reds, usually coming on as a substitute.
“It was a tumultuous offseason for me last year,” said Lovitz. “I think going into this year, it was just about getting a job. I think my goal was to just put my head down and solidify some time in one position.”
He got the opportunity to do just that this season with Montreal, raking in 1,750 minutes on the pitch on his way to earning the Impact Defensive player of the year award.
“Being the first year that I was put into one position, especially being a defender, I mean, the accolade is nice,” followed Lovitz. “For me, it was about optimizing my performances and making sure that I could show what I have to offer.”
Seizing the opportunity
Lovitz first met with the Montreal Impact during their training camp in St. Petersburg, near Tampa Bay, in Florida. He was invited for a 10-day trial after he spent some time with the Vancouver Whitecaps, in Wales, in January.
After impressive performances both in training and in preseason games, Lovitz was signed to one-year contract with an option for two more years. He was expected to add depth to the back line, but as it often happens in sports, an opportunity arose.
“With Ambroise Oyongo’s injury, I was allotted much more time and my job was to not flinch at the opportunity and just to move forward,” continued the Philadelphia native. “For me, it was a spectacular year in that aspect. I’m very pleased with the amount of minutes I could play.”
A year to remember and forget
Lovitz ended up making 25 appearances for the Impact this year, starting 19 games, and would prove to be consistent at left-back, in a year where the Impact struggled to find its rhythm at the back. Although Lovitz is proud of the strides he has made as a player this year, he knows next year will bring more challenges. The good news? He is up for it.
“I have looked at myself, every game, every minute that I have played, every goal against, what could I have done differently,” said Lovitz. “I am sure all the other guys do the same. It is a positive, broad picture when I look back at this season, but when it comes down to it, it was not good enough in a lot of ways. I think I could have done a better job, I think we could have done a better job, and it will be our focus moving forward.”