Could the Impact’s Solution Come From Within?

Using Karl W. Ouimette seems to be a step in the right direction
by Dominic Tremblay   |   Monday, April 14, 2014

Royal Blues - column on Montreal Impact (IMFC) & the Quebec soccer scene.

Six games in and still no win. Both offense and defense have been pointed at for the poor start of the season. And while the offensive aspect has been somewhat addressed with the acquisition of Jack McInerney last week from the Philadelphia Union, there is still a big question regarding the defense.

Eric Miller is still young, Hassoun Camara is playing out of position, Matteo Ferrari is not getting younger and Jeb Brovsky lost his starting position on the left to Heath Pearce, who’s play has not been up to what it should be.

Could the solution to this defense be from within the club?

One of the few bright spots coming out of the game against the Chicago Fire is Karl W. Ouimette’s performance. Physically impressive, he won his 6 tackles, more than anyone on both sides of the pitch that day and more than any other IMFC defender in a single game since the start of the season. Ouimette also recovered 11 balls during the game, about 20% of all Montreal recoveries and also more than any player on the field. After trying to convert him to a right back for the most part of last season, it seem that the best place to play him might be at center back.

Another option to reinforce the backline is Nelson Rivas. The Columbian just started training with the club again following an injury that happened during training camp. It’s hard to evaluate what he can bring to the equation since he’s been on a stationary bike for the better part of the past three seasons, but we can surely expect physical play from a guy once perceived as one of the possible best center backs in the league. That is of course if he can stay healthy. Adrian Lopez might eventually also be an upgrade in the center of defense, but since we have not seen him play more than 45 minutes and considering that coming back from a torn ACL is never easy, it is hard to evaluate his potential contribution to the team.

Pearce’s play is also starting to raise questions. After a very impressive outing in the last minutes of the home opener against the Seattle Sounders, Pearce was integrated into the starting XI for the upcoming games. However he’s been directly involved in a couple of opposition goals and he has been targeted by opposing fast wingers due to his lack of speed. It might be time to give a better look at Eric Miller on the left side.

Montreal Impact first selection in the last MLS SuperDraft has started every game this year and he has not looked bad at all. After being used on the left side during pre-season he was transferred to the right when Frank Klopas decided to field Hassoun Camara besides Matteo Ferrari in the middle of the backline. Transfering Miller to the left to replace Pearce could mean a new start for Camara who was one of the better right back in MLS last season but who has been struggling in a pairing with Ferrari so far.

Having allowed at least 1 goal in each of the first 6 games of the 2014 season, coach Frank Klopas needs to find a solution to this defense. Using Ouimette instead of Camara seems to be a step in the right direction coming from a manager who seems to prefer status quo over tactical changes. It’s time to see if Klopas can indeed turn a season around like he did with the Chicago Fire last season.
 
NEXT UP: April 19 – Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas, 8:30 p.m., MLS Live, TVA Sports.

Dominic TREMBLAY

Nationality:
Canada
College:
N/A
Club Domestic:
Montreal Impact
Club Foreign:
River Plate, Barca
French speaking fan trying to seriously write about soccer in English. Trying to raise football culture/awareness one hockey fan at the time.
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