tBG) The Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact will be linked for the foreseeable future due to the Andrew Wenger/Jack McInerney trade. Looking at their overall bodies of work so far, who won?
MRS) I am still surprised that this is still a question, my dear Eugene. Looking at the quality shown by both players, goals scored, style of play and impact on the club, the Impact is still winning this trade. As much as I like Andrew Wenger and had hopes for him, he was in a good situation in Montreal, as per being surrounded with quality players. Unfortunately for him, the Impact did not offer the kind of environment that he needed to develop his game.
McInerney is an excellent striker that has his faults but can easily get you 12-15 goals in MLS.
tBG) Montreal had quite a few games off thanks to them going to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. Is that starting to catch up to them now? How have they dealt with a hectic, crowded schedule?
MRS) It will catch up the Bleu-Blanc-Noir as the season goes on, especially with the long list of injuries that it's currently tallying. But the good news is that the club's depth has responded in quantity and quality, something the club has not had since joining the league in 2012. Rotation, effective roster management and proactive attitude will be key for the coaching staff to fully understand the needs and limits of its roster.
tBG) There's been a bit of turnover since the two teams have played last. Who should the Union pay attention to? Who's missed the most?
MRS) The whole starting XI basically. But Laurent Ciman is one player that will hopefully define in a positive way what the Impact represents. A technical central defender, the Belgian has been one of the best MLS defenders up to now even though he has had his bad moments, like everyone else. He is a real leader on and off the pitch with a great sense of anticipation when it comes to marking a player as he defuses a dangerous situation before it even happens.
He has a low threshold for mediocrity so expect him to raise his arms and communicate vehemently with his teammates
Predicted lineup: Evan Bush ; Ambroise Oyongo - Laurent Ciman - Wandrille Lefevre - Donny Toia ; Patrice Bernier - Nigel Reo-Coker ; Andres Romero , Ignacio Piatti, Dilly Duka ; McInerney
Predicted score: 2-2 tie