Get primed for the 2013 MLS season with a look at what might lie ahead for the Montreal Impact. TSN Radio 690's Noel Butler takes you through the off-season remodeling of the Impact and what impact it could have on the team's on-field performance. Keep reading for players to watch, a projected starting line-up and Butler's prediction for how the Impact will finish this season.
Meet the New Boss
Schallibaum's presence could make the greatest impact between the 2012 and 2013 squads.
The Impact's inaugural MLS season provided some glorious memories and a possibility of the playoffs until deep in the season. However, these sentiments alone were not enough to keep Jesse Marsch at the helm, the first year coach leaving the club mere days before they were to depart for Italy on their post season tour.
In some regard November's tour was an audition, the unofficial kick off for this pre-season.
Two people who certainly made the most of their opportunities in Italy were trialist Andrea Pisanu and interim head coach Mauro Biello - now reinstalled as an assistant coach in a far more prominent role.
For all the player moves made by the Impact since they trudged off the pitch defeated at home in the final match of the season they pale in significance when set against the hiring of head coach Marco Schallibaum.
The multilingual Swiss national immediately set about his considerable task upon his arrival into Montreal. His focus in the pre-season has been to instill in his playing squad greater fitness levels to counter the demands of a gruelling schedule - alongside this a vitally essential bonding culture away from the pitch.
The ability to rise above adversity has been a hallmark of the Montreal Impact since the football club was formed in 1993.
Only three other league clubs conceded more goals last season. More alarming was the repetitive nature of conceding crucial markers late on that ultimately cost them a playoff spot. To counter this, Schallibaum's approach will go a long way ensuring the club maintains a more cohesive shape as tight games get into the decisive late periods. Alessandro Nesta has an essential role to play in implementing this structure through the entire 90 minutes.
On the attacking side of the equation last season's unacceptably poor distribution to Di Vaio needs vast improvements. The Roman does a phenomenal amount of work away from the ball and possesses an innate ability to find himself in acres of space.
Are you listening Impact wing backs? Good things will only occur for the Impact if his team mates feed their DP.
The only value that should be read into the Impact winning the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic is the greater sense of psychological well-being that emanates from positive outcomes.
A vintage club by North American standards - the real measure of truly celebrating their 20th season is with a playoff position this season. Then anything can happen.
Home and Away
One Canadian and One foreign-born player for Impact fans to keep an eye on in the 2013 season.
Noel Butler has predicted a final record of 15-11-8 for the Impact in 2013.