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It was broad smiles all around from head coach
« en: 20 de Mayo de 2019, 09:08:09 am »
It was broad smiles all around from head coach Frank Klopas and Sporting Director Nick de Santis as the Impact put on their brave and cheery faces at training yesterday. Hard to imagine this is a club who are firmly entrenched at the bottom of the Eastern Conference as results this season mirror the tailspin the Impact suffered throughout the later stages of the 2013 season. Last Saturdays Kansas City shambles offered very few shreds of comfort or optimism for a club who have only claimed a solitary victory over the course of their last 15 regular season matches. Coincidentally, that win - secured in the final home match of the 2013 season - came against the Philadelphia Union who will be the opponent for the Impacts Saputo Stadium home opener Saturday afternoon. Going into this season there was no expectation the Impact would start in the same forthright manner they did in 2013, where they had already accumulated 16 points and by a distance were the form team of the Eastern Conference through seven games. By the same token nobody in the organization would have thought the club would still be in search of its first win on the back of the worst start of the season in club history. By a quirk of fate Klopas old flame, the Chicago Fire, are the only other winless team in the conference. Any thought Klopas would suffer a similar fate of so many Impact coaches before were completely dismissed out of hand by De Santis yesterday, as he offered full and unequivocal support for his besieged head coach. De Santis could not have appeared more genuine as he addressed the media first in French and then reinforced the same message when switching to English as he expressed complete confidence in his coaching staff. “Its frustrating, its disappointing but we do need to stay patient,” De Santis said of the Imapcts start. The opening goal conceded against the reigning MLS Cup champions was a Callum Mallace attempt at a headed clearance that found nothing but the roof of the Impact net. It typifies the run of ill fortune the Impact has experienced so far this season. One that by this stage drains, and erodes confidence levels allowing for the doubts to set in. This was evident during the second half in Kansas where as a team they completely lacked conviction and confidence. After Marco Di Vaio was forced off injured in minute 55, many players became mere shadows of themselves as they conceded three soft goals. After the match Impact captain Patrice Bernier could offer little explanation of why the team had performed so poorly though the second half. If the Impact is to salvage their season this has to represent rock bottom. Playing at Saputo Stadium for a first time this season offers up the perfect tonic. Training yesterday took place at the clubs training pitch adjacent to the stadium and was conducted under glorious blue skies, which is in stark contrast to training and playing at a dreary appearing Olympic Stadium. A spring was in everyones steps, a certain buoyancy in the air. Di Vaio - who will be the first to admit that his form this season is far from where he would like it to be, or where the club needs it to be - seems likely to overcome the slight hamstring strain and should be available Saturday. Someone who likely again wont feature is Argentine DP Hernan Bernardello. Yesterday De Santis spoke of the midfielders fellow countryman Igniacio Piatti, who currently plays for San Lorenzo. The Impacts Sporting Director admitted the club was very much hoping to bring him in during the upcoming transfer window. Dont expect summer shopping to be limited to merely adding a third and final DP. This is a club who throughout its 20-plus-year history doesnt shy away from making the investments where needed. Bolstering the lineup and adding greater depth will certainly enhance the Impacts chances in the second half of the season. For now, though, its about getting the optimum performances from all the players at their disposal. This is something Klopas admitted earlier in the week was keeping him awake at night. In the lead up to Saturdays game much has been made in both Montreal and Philadelphia about Andrew Wengers return to Saputo Stadium. Wenger even got in on the act himself in the week when he spoke of his time in Montreal and learning much from Marco. Referring to Di Vaio, this was clearly a backhanded slap in the direction of Marco Schallibaum. As the team were putting in some of their final preparations for Saturday afternoons encounter, the finishing touches were been applied to Saputo Stadium. The pitch looks in perfect shape. The last time the club took to that pitch was last Oct. 19 in what was a must-win game for the Impact - who had gone into the game on the back of a six-game winless skid. Philly took the early lead before Di Vaio notched his 20th goal of the season and Karl Ouimette scored the late winner. The opponent will be the same Saturday afternoon, and the club fully need a similar result. Or as De Santis put it yesterday: “We are a win away from relieving the pressure on everyone.” You can reach and follow Noel Butler at: Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca @TheSoccerNoel on Twitter Listen to Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union live on TSN690 Montreal [TSN690.ca] Saturday at 4pm et. 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Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin broke the news that hes cleared for full activity moving forward.NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to play third base next season but want the suspended star to prove during spring training he deserves to have his position back after a one-year absence.Rodriguez hasnt played an injury-free season since 2007, turns 40 on July 27 and missed all of this year while serving his penalty for violating baseballs drug agreement and labour contract. Hell have to show his body is up to the rigours of a major league schedule.Weve got to see where hes physically at, and if he can play the field, how many days he can play the field and how many days he needs to DH, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a news conference Monday. I dont think really any of us know about him until we actually get him into games in spring training.New York missed consecutive postseasons for the first time since 1992 and 93. While beloved captain Derek Jeter is retiring, the much-maligned Rodriguez will be returning. The three-time AL MVP is signed for three additional seasons for a total of $61 million, part of his record $275 million, 10-year contract.He hasnt played in a year. Thats not easy to do, to sit out a year, Girardi said. Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness I think you have to see where hes at.As for whether the Yankees will ask Rodriguez to take grounders att first base, where he could back up the oft-injured Mark Teixeira, Girardi said thats something that we have not talked about yet.dddddddddddd.After playing 155 games or more each year from 2001-07, Rodriguez made six trips to the disabled list in six seasons for a strained right quadriceps (2008), right hip surgery (2009), a strained left calf (2010), right knee surgery (2011), a broken left hand (2012) and left hip surgery (2013).Girardi kept in contact with Rodriguez through text messages.Have not talked a ton about baseball. Ive talked more about how hes just doing and his family. It was, I dont know, once, twice a month, the manager said. Obviously that will pick up now that were through the season and I dont have nearly as much to do, just to see where hes at physically, and encouraging him, and to see what his thoughts are.Girardi doesnt expect A-Rod will have clubhouse issues with teammates but anticipates fans will remind him of the suspension.Our teammates enjoy Alex, his presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game. So I dont think that will be an issue, Girardi said. Will he have to deal from some angry fans? Yeah, but well help him get through that. When was the last time Alex hasnt had to deal with that? So its not like its something that hes not used to, and sometimes players thrive on that. 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