Depth means Impact players face healthy competition from within
Published Monday, February 4, 2013 7:26PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 7:27PM EST
It's week three of training camp for the Montreal Impact and the team is mostly in place, despite still deciding on some tougher decision in midfield.
Unlike a year ago, the Impact now have a solid group of returning players, with the stability and quality that will help them go a long way as the Impact head to Florida Thursday to play a series of pre-season games.
“We've had a year and six months together. That's the difference. You can tell that the chemistry is what it was towards the end of the year,” said captain Davy Arnaud.
With 30 players attending training camp this week, there's more than enough talent to fill the roster.
With limited positions available, there are a few battles brewing, but it’s all part of the game, said head coach Marco Shallibaum.
“That's football. I think it's important to have this quality and the decisions from one game to another can be also be different. I think that's not a problem. It's okay,” he said.
Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier agrees.
“Even if the guys are supposed to be subs, they're pushing the guys that are playing to be at their top, which is pushing the team to be at its peak early, not midway through the season,” said Bernier.
That certainly the case at midfield, with Bernier and Felipe Campanholi Martins a virtual lock at centre, That leaves Arnaud and Andrea Pisanu fighting for playing time on the right side, and Blake Smith pushing Justin Mapp on the left.
“Obviously he's been here longer and he’s a veteran, so, if I want to see playing time, I'm going to have to perform and prove that I should be on the field,” said Smith.
Mapp said the competition is a good thing.
“You know, a good team has depth. Pushing each other only makes the team better, so the more quality we can have, the better, and there's going to be competition throughout the year and that's part of it,” he said.
Arnaud said players have to be able to handle the competition if they’re going to make it on the team.
“I've been doing this for a long time now, and it's not the first time you have healthy competition,” he said. “Ultimately, if you don't enjoy that, if you don't look forward to that, if you can't thrive in that situation, you're not going to last too long.”