The call came, Amar responded

Cabrera impressed with Sejdic in first pro start

It was one of the first things head coach Wilmer Cabrera said when he joined the Impact about a month ago, during his opening press conference alongside president Kevin Gilmore: “At some point, young players, they have to play. That’s why they’re in the roster.”

The team, at that point, was getting ready to face Toronto FC and was dealing with a barrage of injuries, which meant the Colombian head coach opted to give Ken Krolicki, Zachary Brault-Guillard, and Ballou Tabla starts in his first game in charge. For those who didn’t know the Colombian head coach, it became clear that he would make use of the team’s young players.

Cabrera did the same against the LA Galaxy last Saturday, giving Amar Sejdic his first pro start after he was selected in the second round by the Impact at this year’s MLS SuperDraft. The team is going through a busy stretch, this game sandwiched between a two-legged Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC, so roster rotation was definitely to be expected.

“Amar had a good game,” said Impact head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen a very technical player, who’s very comfortable with the ball and good at making quick passes. He’s always looking to move the ball forward and I saw a possibility to use him. It was a very positive start. He was sent in there with a task. Not only did he accomplish it, but he played well and showed personality.”

Playing your first MLS minutes against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy is definitely a tall order for any young player making his professional debut, but Sejdic fared well, keeping possession, completing 24 successful passes, including 10 in the final third, while being steady in his defensive duties, recovering the ball four times in his defensive end.

“It could’ve gone wrong, but it’s a risk that we have to take, and I took it, with the staff’s support,” added Cabrera. “We subbed him, because it was his first game and there’s a lot of tension and extra adrenaline. We’re happy for the club, because now we can count on another player who has talent and who knows how to create things move forward.”

Choinière and Bayiha make an impact

Chasing an equalizer in the second half, Cabrera made two changes, bringing on Homegrown players Mathieu Choinière and Clément Bayiha from the bench. Although the Impact couldn’t ultimately find the tying goal, it showed interesting combinations in attack, and certainly created some chances, many by the two youngsters and their dynamic play.

“We played with personality, especially those that came into the group,” said defender Bacary Sagna. “It isn’t easy, because for some it was their first game while others haven’t had many minutes, but they answered the call. Amar had a very good game, and even those that came into it later. Mathieu Choinière and Clément Bayiha came into the game well and immediately contributed to the team. It’s good for the future.”