Who are they?
The Impact joined MLS in 2012 as the league’s 19th team, but the club has held residence in Montreal since 1992 - winning three league championships across the APSL, A-League, USISL A-League, USL First Division, and the NASL. While their transition to MLS in 2012 was technically under a new legal entity, the team carried over its ownership, colors, supporter groups, and more to MLS.
What have they won?
A lot of winning in a lot of different leagues. They won the ASPL playoffs in 1994, league title in the A-League from 95-97 and 03-04, Playoff champion in the A-League in 2004, USL First Division league title from 2005-2006, and playoff champion in the USL First Division in 2009. They also won Canada’s Voyageurs Cup seven consecutive times from 2002-2008.
What about the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Yup, they won that too, in 2013. Beating Columbus Crew in the final 1-0.
The Impact struggled in MLS play last season. They didn’t record their first victory until April, and only won six times all season - all at home. They did, however, have a very successful cup season. They were able to go on the road and defeat El Salvador’s FAS to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals (they have now advanced to the semi-finals after this thrilling finish in early March.) They also won their second consecutive Amway Canadian Championship.
Are they any good?
They have yet to score in two MLS games this season, but it’s really too early to tell. They did make a few quality additions after a tough 2014 in defender Laurent Ciman (away with the Belgium National Team) and adding midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker via the MLS waiver draft. If their play in the CCL is any indication though, they certainly have some fight in them.
Player to Watch?
Ignacio Nacho Piatti (#10) - The midfielder from Argentina is dangerous. He can do things like this. He’s quick in space and strong on the ball. He’s someone the Orlando City backline, and you, should keep an eye on this Saturday.
Who’s the boss?
The Head Coach is former United States National Team member Frank Klopas. With 39 caps to his name as a player, and coaching stints with the MISL expansion side Chicago Storm from 2004-2006 and with the Chicago Fire from 2011-2013, Klopas brings a wealth of experience to Montreal at the young age of 48.
What about their supporters?
Of the Impact’s three supporter groups, Ultras Montréal is the longest standing. Formed in 2002, the group has pulled together some nice TIFO in their time. Including this one during CCL play this season.
Who are their rivals?
When a derby gets a name, you know it’s a good one. Toronto FC is Montreal’s biggest rival and they square off each season in the 401 Derby. Teams from the two cities have been competing for more than 40 years, and with the addition of both teams to MLS their rivalry has only intensified.