This has been a roller-coaster week for the Montreal Impact as a soccer club. While the team should be applauded for playing 135 minutes of organized soccer over the course of the two-legged CCL final against Club America, Major League Soccer's rescheduling shenanigans may affect the course of Rochester's USL game in Montreal on Saturday.
Already this season, the Impact has already raised some eyebrows with the use of its gameday loans to FC Montreal. Hassoun Camara played 90 minutes for the USL side while serving a suspension in MLS for a red card he received against New England. Eric Alexander and Kenny Cooper both played against Richmond Kickers last weekend, though they couldn't help FC Montreal beat Revolution goalkeeper-on-loan Trevor Spangenberg.
Alexander was cup-tied to the Red Bulls in the CCL, and therefore couldn't play with the Impact against Club America, and Cooper was on the bench for both games. We should expect that both of these players will be available to play against the Rhinos on Saturday afternoon for FC Montreal. But you don't have to take my word for it, here's the always knowledgeable Sofiane Benzaza who, in addition to managing Mount Royal Soccer, works play-by-play commentary for FC Montreal games:
I don't want to paint the Montreal Impact as somehow gaming the system or unique in their conspicuous gameday loans. Harrisburg City Islanders played Zach Pfeffer in the USL on a short-term loan from the Union while he was suspended from MLS for elbowing FC Dallas playmaker Mauro Diaz. When another MLS scheduling headscratcher meant the Red Bulls had a bye week at the beginning of April, that team loaned 11 players to its USL side for one game.
It's not a stretch to saw that the fortune of the Rhinos could very well depend on the "reinforcements" that FC Montreal receives from the Impact. Very clearly, Eric Alexander or Kenny Cooper or perhaps even former Rochester and recently-signed Montreal goalkeeper Kristian Nicht all possess the talent to make a huge difference in the USL.
I may just be sugar-coating the potential end to Rochester's impressive 6-game unbeaten run to start the 2015 USL season, but the team would have a much better chance if Montreal's MLS side was also in action this weekend. Having asked Rochester head coach Bob Lilley about playing MLS teams in the Open Cup and preparing to face LA Galaxy II twice last season, though, he will definitely prepare his squad to face any line up that FC Montreal throws onto the field at Stade Saputo, regardless of personnel.