As the winners of the Canadian Championship, the Montreal Impact will partake in the CONCACAF Champions League. There are three questions that must first be answered if they are to make another run in CCL.
As we enter the month of February, MLS clubs have begun to shake off the dust as players have started to report for training camps across the Western Hemisphere. But where most clubs are gifted more time to iron out the wrinkles prior to the regular-season opener, the Montreal Impact are not so lucky. They must prepare to face some of the toughest opponents on the continent as they enter the 2020 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Impact have proven their might previously in a tournament-style format when they took down MLS Cup finalists Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship last year. But their inconsistent play over the course of 2019 has left fans with questions. The Quebecois club has performed well in CCL tournaments in the past — they made a deep run to the Championship final in 2015. But if the Impact are to make another deep run in 2020, they have doubters to prove wrong.
And so, with all that in mind, here are three questions the Montreal Impact will need to provide answers to if they are to have success in the CONCACAF Champions League.
3. Can the defense hold up?
In 2019, the Montreal Impact’s defense was nothing to write home about. The club gave up 60 goals across the regular season, amounting for the fourth-most goals against in MLS. In wake of the season finale, the Impact have done little to address the defense. Following the departures of former French International Bacary Sagna and long-time starting left-back Daniel Lovitz, the club’s only notable defensive acquisitions have been the resigning of veteran Rod Fanni and the permanent transfer of former loanee Zachary Brault-Guillard.
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Fanni has been a solid defender for Montreal in the past and Brault-Guillard is a 21-year-old Canadian National Teamer with a really high upside, but the club’s failure to bring in a new every-day left-back or another day-one starting center-back to partner with Fanni could be the club’s ultimate demise in the CCL.
The Impact have instead looked to the future by signing English U-19 International center-back Luis Binks from Tottenham Hotspur’s U-23 side and Joel Waterman, the first-ever player to be transferred from the Canadian Premier League to MLS. But both players may need some time acclimating to a more competitive league before being thrown straight into Champions League play. Their arrivals may pay off in the long run, but can either step in and deliver in the present?