Heading into the 2014 preseason, Montreal Impact center back Matteo Ferrari is not too thrilled about the team’s chances to live up to their moniker. The front office of the club was hoping to add a couple more new faces to the team, but time is running out and things aren’t looking so rosy.
“Right now, when I think about last year’s team, I think we’re a little bit – how can I say – not as good as before,” Ferrari told MLSSoccer.com’s Oliver Tremblay. “We lost key players. We haven’t replaced anybody until now. I don’t know, maybe it’s early to say something because the market is still open. But I would like to say that because I don’t want people to think that we have to do what we did last year – of course, we won – but like this, it would be more difficult.
“The second year we were not the same, but we did well. We did better. That means that, in your mind, you start to think that maybe you need to do something more. I don’t know. But our team needs to improve.
“I don’t want to put some bad things in the minds of our fans. They love us and they want the best as always and it’s normal. But right now, we’re not the same. We’ll see.”
Montreal are dealing with the departure of Alessandro Nesta to retirement and former captain Davy Arnaud, a journeyman by trade. So who will succeed Arnaud as the captain? Two options. There’s Marco Di Vaio, the best goalscorer on the Impact, bar none.
And there’s Patrice Bernier.
“Davy served his role fantastically here,” Impact manager Frank Klopas told Tremblay. “Players like Patrice, Marco have worn the armband before, and I think that both those guys can be leaders and captains. Obviously it’s the first day here for me, and after this first phase here, I’ll be able to select one. But both these guys are true leaders. You can’t go wrong with picking either one or both of them.”
“The coach will make a decision, but as I said before, I’d like that,” Bernier said of the possibility of donning the armband. “To me, it would be logical, and on a personal level, it would be incredible. It’d be perfect. If I were to finish my career here with the armband, it’d be perfect. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Also this week, former Kansas City Wizards defender Nick Kounemakis joined Klopas and his technical staff for a meeting. The hope for Klopas is that Kounemakis will join the team’s technical staff, but ultimately it is Kounemakis’s call.
“[The current staff] are people that have been with this organization for a long time, and there’s truly a passion for the team, for the city here,” Klopas said. “They’re quality human beings. For me, it was easy to come here and have those guys on board. But I felt that we needed to add one more to complement the staff that we had.
“Nick is someone that played at a very high level. He has UEFA Pro licenses, he’s played in the backline and he can complement the staff that we have.”
Montreal open up their season on Mar. 8 on the road at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tex. against FC Dallas. Where will the Impact be in the 2014 MLS Multiplex Preseason Power Rankings? Find out this February!