2017 Montreal Impact Review
2017 was supposed to be the year the Impact challenged for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. 2016 ended with the most exciting playoff seires in league history with Montreal losing out to Toronto late. Unfortunately, Montreal was unable to replicate their previous performances and failed to make the playoffs after finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference.
Key Losses: Blerim Dzemaili, Patrice Bernier Hassoun Camara, Hernan Bernadello, Ambroise Oyongo, Laurent Ciman, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla
As fans will notice, Montreal has lost a lot of talented starters and has not brought in enough replacements yet. Dzemaili’s loan expired amidst rumors of his desire to be closer to his family, Bernier retired at age 38, and Bernadello’s contract expired. These three were stalwarts in the midfield whose presence will be difficult to replace.
The defense has also been decimated with the transfer of Ciman to LAFC, Camara’s retirement, and Oyonogo’s move to Montpellier.
One of the young highlights, Tabla, was expected to step up, but a transfer to Barcelona B was worked out and he is no longer in MLS.
Montreal is hoping that the additions of Edwards, Raitala, and Taider will replace the departing core of players.
Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture
At this time, it’s difficult to predict how Montreal will line up to start the season, but building off the core they are returning, fans would expect something along these lines if the formation stays the same.
Matteo Mancosu, Dominic Oduro, and Ignacio Piatti will be familiar faces up top. Samuel Piette made Bernadello somewhat expendable and his partnership with Marco Donadel should work well. Taider will likely be the CAM Montreal needs and since he is the highlight of the offseason so far.
Montreal has played a counter attacking style for the last several years, but that could change under new management with this roster. The 4-3-3- they have played is likely to change to incorporate the players they have now.
Adding Raheem Edwards to the roster brings a dynamic left winger that could allow Piatti to return to his more natural attacking midfield roler. The issue here is that Taider, Piette, Donadel, and Piatti would all be wanting to play more centrally. Even playing Piatti deeper at left midfield pushes one of the better starting options to the bench.
Fans are very much in a wait and see state when it comes to this team. It’s unknown how much overhaul will take place between last season and the 2018 season kickoff.
Quite frankly, the expectations for Montreal should not be the high. The team appears to be in the middle of a rebuild and new players will need to acclimate to the team and MLS. Without a proven supporting cast, Piatti will be looked to to carry the load. Montreal has a history of bringing in solid talent to replenish their losses, but 2018 is a year of big changes in MLS. While other teams are bringing in exciting young talent as designated players, Montreal is attempting to cling to their old ways of proven, but aging, veterans. It’s not looking like they can keep up at this time.
Closing Fantasy Thoughts/Conclusion
Until Montreal lines up a proven roster, it’s not advised to select any of their players for MLS Fantasy. Some might think Piatti will flourish with all the extra opportunities, but he showed he was not able to go it along last season in the absence of Dzemaili. Piatti averaged just over 5 points per game without Dzemaili in 2017 which is not good enough given his inevitably high price tag.