MLS 2018: Despite his disastrous tenure at Aston Villa, Remi Garde is still quite a coup for Montreal Impact.

When Remi Garde left his position as Aston Villa manager in March 2016, his managerial reputation was in tatters. 

The 51-year-old Frenchman won just two of his 20 league matches in charge of the Villans, which culminated a win percentage of just 10%. It’s the lowest of any Aston Villa manager in the club’s history.

Yet, his unveiling as Montreal Impact’s fifth head coach in seven years is still quite a coup for the Canadian outfit and for the MLS in general.

Before his disastrous spell at Villa Park, Garde had worked up a rather impressive CV. As a player he won at least one trophy at every club he played for- including a Premier League title with Arsenal in 1997-98.

The former Lyon, Strasbourg and Gunners midfielder also saw success follow him in his early coaching career.

Garde took over from the dismissed Claude Puel at Lyon in 2011. During his time in charge of Les Gones he won two trophies – the Coupe de France and Trophèe des champions.

This resulted in him being linked to some of the biggest jobs in football – including a possible return to the Emirates to replace his mentor Arsene Wenger.

Whilst his ill-fated tenure at Villa has probably seen that opportunity fade away for Garde, the manager’s job at the Villans was at the time a poisoned chalice.

The club were rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, and the players at the club lacked the desire the 51-year-old demanded. A promise of January signings by Randy Lerner never materialised into nothing more than false pretences. You could therefore say that he had no chance of turning the fortunes of the club around.

It may surprise some that he’s decided to move halfway across the world for his new managerial venture at Montreal, but his appointment may prove to be shrewd bit of business by owner Joey Saputo.

The main issue will be the longevity of this partnership between Garde and Impact.

Montreal have a reputation in the MLS to hire and fire head coaches on a consistent basis. The 51-year-old becomes the franchises’ fifth in just seven seasons, and may need to get off to a strong start in order to keep the board happy.

On the other hand, the temptation and the glamour of European football could sway Garde back across the Atlantic Ocean should he do well in Canada. He only lasted at Lyon for three years before leaving for family reasons. Neither party likes to overstay their welcome.

The Frenchman is another recognisable manager to have joined the MLS in recent seasons as the league’s appeal continues to gradually grow. Former Barcelona and Argentina boss Tata Martino became head coach at Atlanta United last year, with Bob Bradley returning to the league to take charge at new franchise Los Angeles FC.

Garde has had all winter to prepare his team ahead of their opener against Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend. A key signing he has brought in is that of former Inter Milan midfielder Saphir Taïder to help bolster the midfield.

Last year was one to forget for Impact, with a ninth place finish in the Eastern Conference and 17th overall. But if Garde can find that formula that saw him win trophies with Lyon, he could make this Montreal side a real force in the league and regular post-season contenders.

Something that will surely have a positive impact on his dented managerial career and help him recover that early reputation of being one of the best in the business.

 

 

 

 

 

MLS Daily: Late Will Bruin strike rescues Sounders in Montreal.

The defending champions are still without a win this season. 

The ability to claw back results from the face of defeat is a trait of champions, and that’s exactly what Seattle Sounders did at Montreal Impact last night.

Will Bruin, one of the club’s newest signings, netted deep into stoppage time as the defending MLS Cup champions produced a fine comeback at the Olympic Stadium.

For the second consecutive week, Sounders started slowly, and found themselves 2-0 down thanks to goals from Matteo Mancosu and Ignacio Piatti.

Montreal were cruising at that point, before Nicolas Lodeiro converted a penalty on 83 minutes for the away side

Bruin, a late substitute, proved why he was a worthy acquisition as he was in the right place at the right time to slot home a 94th minute leveller.

The goalscorer told Sounders after the match: “It’s a monkey off my back to score my first goal.

“Hopefully the floodgates will open and I will get plenty more.

This was the second consecutive match that the ex-Houston forward came off the bench, but the striker isn’t too fussed about his position just yet.

“I don’t expect to be an instant starter,” he admitted.

“But I’m hoping to take every opportunity with both hands and give the coach a selection headache.”

But Seattle have now produced two poor performances. One could be excused had they thought Clint Dempsey  wasn’t playing. The American was hardly involved last night, and when he isn’t firing at full cylinders, the Sounders look less like the team that went on to win the MLS Cup last October.

Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said after the match: “We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.

“We don’t want to chasing down one goal, two goals. We played the game we wanted too.

“Every team makes mistakes, we are going to make mistakes. We are trying to get the season up and running. We will get better. We will resolve the defensive issues.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, New York Red Bulls made it two wins out of two after defeating Colorado Rapids 2-0. It’s now 18 games unbeaten at the Red Bull Arena for Jesse Marsch’s side.

Sebastian Giovinco went off injured as Toronto drew 2-2 at Philadelphia Union, San Jose Earthquakes won 3-2 at home to ten-man Vancouver Whitecaps and Chicago Fire won 2-0 to end Real Salt Lake’s six match unbeaten record at Toyota Park.

Houston Dynamo won for the second week in a row. They beat Columbus Crew 3-1, whilst FC Dallas drew 0-0 at Sporting KC.

New England Revolution and Orlando City will play their match on September 2nd after their game was postponed due to the weather.