Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coaches Review Toronto FC, Montreal Impact Performances in MLS Pre-Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coaches Review Toronto FC, Montreal Impact Performances in MLS Pre-Season

Article excerpt

Coaches review Toronto, Montreal showings

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ORLANDO, Fla. - If you missed the action and only heard the coaches' post-match comments, you might have been confused by what happened to Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact in their pre-season openers.

"Not everything was good," said Montreal manager Marco Schallibaum.

"I think everybody did really well," said Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen.

"That's a game that we'll look back on with a lot of positives from," he added.

Montreal won on the day, rallying to defeat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Earlier Saturday, Toronto FC lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew at the same tournament.

Both coaches had more expansive comments on their side's efforts. Still the comparison sheds some light on their style and teams.

"Demanding but fair," Impact captain Patrice Bernier said of Switzerland's Schallibaum.

"Efficiency first," he added. "He's very charismatic, passionate, he likes football. He demonstrates it when he talks to us. The last three weeks (of camp) have been very good."

Having inherited a team that went 5-21-8 last season, Nelsen has been unwaveringly positive since taking over -- at least in public.

In practice, he is almost avuncular as he makes suggestions or grades his squad's performance on a drill.

Asked for his thoughts about backup Joe Bendik, who came in for the injured Stefan Frei in the first half against the Crew, Nelsen was positive and inclusive with his praise.

"I've got faith in all three 'keepers. They're very good. And Stewart (goalkeeping coach Stewart Kerr) is doing a great job with them, working them really hard."

Nelsen makes a point of praising all his assistant coaches. In past regimes, you sometimes wondered if the top man knew their names.

Having just retired as a player himself, the former Queens Park Rangers and New Zealand defender also seems determined not to display the team's dirty laundry in public.

Nelsen and assistant coach Fran O'Leary made a point of -- diplomatically -- distancing themselves from team president and GM Kevin Payne's comments that some players had reported to camp out of shape. The coaches' official line was that all they know is what they have seen, and that the effort has been commendable.

Nelsen also made a point by selecting young midfielder Jonathan Osorio to his starting lineup against Columbus.

"He's a player that's come through the (Toronto FC) academy. He's worked really hard in the pre-season and I thought he did really well out there," Nelsen said. "There's three products from the academy that played out there today and that's really promising.

"I don't care if you're an academy player or you're Lionel Messi, whoever. If you perform well, you'll get your opportunities."

The Impact (12-16-6 in their debut season last year) can point to an academy success of its own, as substitute fullback Maxim Tissot set up Andrew Wenger's winner with an accurate, intelligent pass. …

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