De Santis, 46, has been involved with the team for more than 20 years as a player, coach and executive. He will be retained in an administrative role as the team, which is at the bottom of the overall league standings with a 3-12-5 record, goes through a restructuring. Head coach Frank Klopas, who was hired in December after being dismissed by the Chicago Fire, will handle all player personnel duties.
“We tried with coaches, had three coaches in three years,” said team owner Joey Saputo. “We changed players. Obviously, Nick took responsibilities as sporting director. He made decisions during the offseason. There’s a certain amount of accountability that you have to take, and unfortunately we’re not where we want to be, and he’s paying the price for it.”
In December, Klopas replaced Marco Schallibaum, who lasted just one year after replacing Jesse Marsch, who had been named to lead Montreal in its first MLS season (2012). The Impact missed the playoffs under Marsch yet posted a credible 12-16-6 record, and under Schallibaum last year started strongly before dropping into the wild-card game, which it lost to Houston. The team’s poor finish and Schallibaum’s penchant for incurring suspensions prompted the hiring of Klopas, a former MLS and U.S. national team player who left the Fire after three seasons.
Klopas requested the club make a move for midfielder Dilly Duka, whom he had coached in Chicago, and on Tuesday the Impact sent Sainey Nyassi to the Fire in exchange for Duka. Saputo hinted that more player moves are quite possible.
The Impact has lost five games in a row and is 10 points out of a playoff spot heading into a rivalry game Saturday at home against Toronto FC. D.C. United set a league record last year by winning just three of 34 games.