By far, for the Montreal Impact, this is the worst season in 20 years. With only 3 wins in 20 games so far, our season is a nightmare. After years of pressure from the supporters, the team owner announced a couple days ago that Nick de Santis, the sporting director of the club, was getting fired. Former player for 10 years, former international for Canada (9 caps), former coach and now former sporting director, de Santis has been with our club since its founding in 1993. The past years have been terrible and us, as supporters, haven’t been too kind with “NDS”. Banners, chants, insults: we made clear to the the club that we wanted him out. We can now start afresh and focus on our own Champions League.
Despite this year awful performance, Montreal Impact has been able to win the Canadian Championship and therefore qualify for the CONCACAF Champions’ League.
The CONCACAF is to the Caribbean, North and Central America what UEFA is to Europe.
24 teams, divided in 8 groups, qualify for the group stage. Mexico and the USA get 4 teams each, Canada 1, and several other countries get either one or two spots (eg. Costa Rica 2, Honduras 2, etc.) Since 2006, the championship has always been won by a Mexican team, very often against another Mexican team in finals.
In 2008-2009, despite playing in the second-tier league of North America, Montreal Impact surprised everyone by qualifying to the quarter finals. Beating the Mexican club Santos Laguna 2-0 in the home game, the supporters got their heart broken when the club finally lost 5-2 after two goals by Santos Laguna in stoppage time.
In recent years, the club often downplayed the importance of the Champions’ League compared to the MLS championship (selecting only players lacking in experience, for example), this year it seems that the CONCACAF Champions’ League might be the only road to redemption for the Montreal Impact.
On August 5th, we will meet the Club Deportiva FAS, a team playing from Santa Ana in Salvador. First game between our two teams, it will be interesting to see the Tigrillos and their supporters since there is a sizeable Salvadorian diaspora in Montréal. The other team in our group is the New-York Red Bulls led by Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill. Them we know and despise, Red Bulls being the perfect example of modern football.