Quote-unquote: Wilmer Cabrera meets the media

New head coach Wilmer Cabrera and president Kevin Gilmore address the media

There’s a new man in charge at the Impact: head coach Wilmer Cabrera, introduced to the media for the first time today alongside club president and CEO Kevin Gilmore, will take over the reins of the Impact’s first team. The Colombian head coach and former player comes to Montreal with a bundle of MLS experience under his belt, and a playing career that spanned over 20 years in South and Central America.

His objective with the Impact this season is simple, and twofold. With seven games remaining in the regular season, and the Impact holding on to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, qualifying to the fall tournament is a priority, but the Canadian Championship final approaches as well, where the Impact will take on its rival, Toronto FC, over two legs, to try and put its hands on the Voyageurs Cup for the first time since 2014.

It just so happens that our rival from Ontario is the Impact’s next opponent as well, this Saturday, at 7:30pm, at BMO Field (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). Three games against Toronto in a month’s time will certainly be intense, especially considering both teams are tied on points heading into the final stretch, but it will certainly get the new man in charge accustomed to the way things are in Montreal.

Here are some of the highlights from Thursday's presser:

Head coach Wilmer Cabrera

On his goals with the Impact

“I’m here to work for the club. As I said to the players this morning, I’m here to try and help them. I want to be a tool for them to achieve their goals. The only way to do that is if we work together. That’s my goal, coming here. I’m very sure the players want to. Right now, the first step is the game on Saturday.”

On his philosophy

“The idea isn’t to adapt the players to my philosophy, it’ll be to help them be successful with what they already have, while making small adjustments. I’ve spent the past two nights watching and analyzing Impact games to try and help them somehow. One of the things we talked about is how to get better on set pieces, because it’s a fact that the team has struggled on set pieces.”

On his style of coaching

“The fact that I’m here shows that I take risks. I want my players to take risks. Because when you take risks, you can lose or tie, but you can also win. No matter what, we’re always going to feel like we did our best to try and win. How can we take measured risks to try and win and affect our opponents? That’s what I want to bring.”

On the players’ role

“It’s not about the coaches. The most important aspect of the game is the players. This is the players’ sport. We are here to try and make the players better by giving them the best tools. I understood that, and that’s why I’m sitting here today. The Impact has very talented players and a good roster. There is quality and discipline. My job now is to put a plan in place to help them make those adjustments.”

On young players

“At some point, young players have to play. That’s why they’re in the roster. More or less 30 years ago, there was a small 17-year-old kid in Colombia who had to get on the field when everyone was injured, and he played. His career lasted 20 years afterwards. That’s my job. I lived that and went through it. If we need a young player, we have to play him. We cannot be afraid to play young players. We have to take those risks. He might be a fantastic player, but we don’t know if we don’t try.”