[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Who will coach the Montreal Impact, whose late-season slide ended with a monumental meltdown in its conference play-in game, where it lost to Houston, 3-0, and had three players sent off? All that is known is that it won't be retired Impact defender Alessandro Nesta, reported over the weekend to be in position to replace Swiss coach Marco Schallibaum.
Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo said there was no
foundation to the SI.com report that Nesta, the former Italy national team star, was to be named the Impact's
third coach in three years.
Nor had a decision been made about Schallibaum, who received suspensions for his sideline behavior in 2013.
"We had excellent discussions with
Marco," said Saputo of the meeting that look place on Monday. "But we have don't want to make a decision too quickly. We will continue to analyze the situation in the coming weeks."
Montreal had one of the best records in MLS over the first half of the season, but a late-season collapse dropped the Impact to fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The loss at Houston left it with
a record of 1-7-1 over its last nine games.
Impact's qualification for the playoffs does pose a dilemma for Saputo as it kicked in Schallibaum's option clause in his contract, meaning the
Impact will have to pay if he's retired like it had to pay Jesse Marsch after he was relieved of his duties after the 2012 season in a move to build a more
European and less American team.
The Impact's season ended in embarrassing fashion as Andres Romero and star Marco Di Vaio were sent off in the 89th minute of the play-in game.
"A particular apology on my behalf to the MLS family for the way we conducted ourselves last Thursday," Saputo said. "That's not the image we want to project. There was a lot of frustration, but
that's no excuse."