Montreal hopes to improve in year two. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Montreal hopes to improve in year two. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

To say things are done differently in Canada may be an understatement. We’ve seen all the changes in Toronto over the years and Vancouver has seen their fair share of changes in their three years in MLS. But one would have thought Montreal would be just a little different. It turns out they aren’t too far off their Canadian foes.

Going into their sophomore season in MLS, many figured the Impact would build on their solid expansion year under Jesse Marsch. Instead, he went out of the door and in came new manager Marco Schällibaum.

Not a ton is out there on the new manager of the Impact. But one thing we do know, the team will gobble up Italians as much as Chivas USA is gobbling up Mexican-Americans.

If anything this second season in Montreal will be interesting to watch.

2012 MLS Record: 12-16-6 (7th in Eastern Conference), 42 points

[twocol_one]IN: 
M Andrea Pisanu (1/4/13 – loan from Bologna)
Andrés Romero (2/7/13 – loan from Tombense)[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]OUT:
GK Greg Sutton (10/26/12 – retirement)
Evan James (11/19/12 – option declined)
Shavar Thomas (12/3/12 – option declined)
Josh Gardner (12/5/12 – traded to Sporting KC)
Lamar Neagle (1/27/13 – trade to Seattle)[/twocol_one_last]

Key Questions for 2013

1. Has this team actually improved for year two? Let’s be real for a moment, the Impact were decent in year one but not great. They had solid returns out of guys like Felipe Martins and Patrice Brenier. Their defense was weak and their offense wasn’t anything great to write home about. So with only two new additions and a couple unsigned draft picks, the Impact don’t look that much better than what they finished out 2012 with.

Their defense isn’t any younger (or better) while the offense did add another Italian. Great but really helps the bottom line of improving this club from year one to the next.

2. Does the one-year contract of Schällibaum do the Impact any good? If there was ever a lame duck coach, right now, today in MLS it would be Schällibaum. Why? The man signed a one year deal with the Impact. On purpose. The Impact didn’t hesitate to sign him to that either as it gives them an instant out clause should the team just not be any good early on this season. To me that screams a number of things, one being the management has little faith in what has been brought in. While I do think little amounts of roster turnover is a good thing to see in MLS, anytime it is done with a coaching change you have to wonder a bit as to why it was done this way.

3. Is there going to be enough offense? Marco Di Vaio is a quality veteran player while the other forwards on the team appear decent enough. The bottom line is I see this team struggling offensively this season. Di Vaio isn’t getting any younger and unless Andrew Wenger breaks out in year two, I don’t think the other attacking options are that great just yet. They are either too young or on the wrong side of 30. Not the combination you want to see up front in my book.

Breakout Player for 2013

Andres Romero – The young Argentine is one of the two signings that are in camp right now. He’s 23 and just waiting to show what he can do to the world.

Predictions for 2013

- A DP will be signed this summer. Joey Saputo and Nick De Santis have been building this roster in an interesting way over the last two years. But one thing missing is a big playmaker in the midfield. I think they go for one this summer.

- Montreal will be an active trade club. Either it will be due to a coaching change at some point or just because they need some allocation here and there, I see the Impact as a trade partner for at least two if not three trades this season.

- Impact will struggle again on the road. They didn’t do great away from Montreal in 2012 and that trend will continue in 2013 due to the unpredictable nature that surround their head coach.