Archive for the ‘Montreal Impact’ Category

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MLS Commissioner Don Garber in Vancouver, B.C. – Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The current MLS collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on January 31, 2020. The possibility of a work disruption next season continues to grow as MLS owners and the MLSPA look to improve the league.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber, was in Vancouver ahead of Whitecaps FC’s 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at B.C. Place. Garber appears ready for a strike.

“Certainly the league would be very prepared for a work stoppage. We are in the pro sports business, and all leagues are preparing for any outcome. You don’t go into any negotiation, on any deal that you’re trying to do, talking about the worst outcome. You try to talk about the best possible outcome. I’ve been in this job for twenty years, and this will be our fourth CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). Every one of them is difficult.”

If there is going to be labour peace next season, the MLSPA must find some common ground on a wide range of topics. The most contentious issue is charter flights. Each MLS team is permitted four charter flights a season. If a team is traveling for an away match and use a charter, to and from their destination, that would count as two charter flights.

Several players have taken to social media throughout the season to share all the travel delays, frustration, and sleep deprivation they have endured while flying the not so friendly skies.

An vast increase in charter flights will be the hill the MLSPA dies on.

The NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB and semi-final playoff bound WNBA teams have charter flights.

Would Commissioner, Garber be supportive of 100% charter flights next season?

“It’s a difficult question to give you a simple answer to,” Garber bemused the question from Har Journalist. “Of course I would be supportive of 100% charters. In the context of everything else that the players are going to be looking for, it all needs to go into the pot. We mutually need to decide how an available pool of money is going to be allocated to a wide variety of needs.

Players are looking for increased compensation. They’re looking for increased movement, an increased number of charters. All that goes into a pot and is stirred around, and then you hope to reach an agreement on all things.”

As MLS continues to add new teams, the price tag for expansion fees continues to soar to $200 million. However, at the end of the day there is only a certain amount of money available in the proverbial ‘pot.’ If the MLSPA wants a massive increase in the amount of charter flights that are available to teams, they can point to sky high expansion fees.

The average cost for a full team charter flight ranges from $150,000 to $200,000 per flight.

Perhaps it would make sense if part of the money that owners earn from expansion fees went into a ‘pot’ to help pay for, and provide more charter flights.

“We do allow our teams to travel via charter on a limited basis,” Garber explained. “I can assure you that there will be more charter travel in the new CBA. Whether it goes all the way to 100%, I think it’s a function of how negotiations go.”

Having available charters is fantastic, but getting an MLS owner with deep pockets to actually use the charter flights that are available is a whole other issue. Several MLS teams don’t use all their charters.

The club with the most travel of any MLS team this season has used 1/4 charters. Whitecaps FC were caught in a storm in Kansas City, while trying to get to New Jersey for a mid-week match against New York Red Bulls. Vancouver was forced to use a charter on May 21, to get to Newark, for a match the next day.

How would Commissioner Garber, make sure owners actually use their charter flights?

“I would assume our teams are utilizing their charter allocation,” Garber said. “You’re shaking your head, so maybe not in Vancouver. I don’t know how many are, and how many aren’t. I would assume that all of our teams are utilizing the vast majority of their approved charters.”

“Does anybody know?” Garber asked the room full or reporters and his staff.

It would be great for players, fans, and the overall sport of more charters were available for teams to use. Players would be well rested, flight delays, and cancellations would be minimal, and the product on the pitch would be better. If MLS wants to take the next step and continue to evolve as a top tier league in North America, more charters are must.

Making sure MLS owners use all their charter flights is a whole other kettle of fish. That’s why Major League Soccer and the MLSPA could be headed for a lengthy work stoppage.

“It would surprise me if a lot of them were not utilizing them,” Garber doubled down.

“It would surprise me a lot, frankly.”

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t. This is the first time I’ve ever heard that they weren’t using it.”

The good news is that MLS owners and MLSPA have been talking. There is a mutual level of respect between both parties. It is hoped that they can continue with positive discussions behind closed doors as apposed to public posturing.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to action on Wednesday, August 28 against arch rival the Montreal Impact. The mid-week clash between the Canadian clubs, is a match Max Crépeau has had circled on his calendar all season.

The Montreal, native, will get a chance to play his former team for the first time, in front of family and friends at Stade Saputo. Growing up in Greenfield Park, Crépeau, is expecting to have a vocal crowd of 200 supporters cheering him on, including his beloved grandma.

“I feel great about it,” Crépeau explained to Har Journalist. “It’s nice for a player to go back home and play against his former team. I think it’s a feeling that every player has. It’s fun to get back to a familiar environment where I grew up. After that, it’s business, and getting the job done in Montreal.”

The 25-year-old, did his best to get the job done on Saturday, in San Jose when Vancouver fell 3-1 to the Earthquakes. Crépeau set an MLS record with 16 saves. Whitecaps FC were under siege for much of the match, Crépeau was kept busy facing 43 shot attempts.

His stellar performance helped him earn a spot on the MLS Team of the Week.

As he gets set to play Montreal, Crépeau reflected on is time with the Impact.

“I have a lot of respect for the organization,” Crépeau acknowledged. “They gave me a chance of having a first contract. I grew up in the system of the academy. I know how it is there, and I’m grateful that they believed in me in the first place. I respect the organization, but I’m truly happy to be here (Vancouver) now. The page is turned, and it’s better here, than it was there.”

Why is it better?

“That’s a good question,” Crépeau said. “It’s better on my side because I have the confidence of an organization, which didn’t happen before. It means a lot where you can actually develop yourself, and reach a higher level when you have the confidence of an organization.”

It’s hard to excel in any sports environment without confidence, and support. If Crépeau was going to take the next step in his development, he needed a clean break from the Impact, and an opportunity to compete as top keeper.

His 2018 loan move to the Ottawa Fury helped him show himself, and Montreal, that he was ready for another challenge, and a bigger opportunity to showcase his blossoming talents.

Crépeau, was able to find that on the west coast with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

“Before Ottawa, I asked to move,” Crépeau, explained. “There was some back and forth. We didn’t know what the situation for a few weeks. There was the option to go to Ottawa which was a great move for me, because I needed games. I needed to start somewhere. Ottawa was great. I think my mindset was the same, to leave the club. I felt like that was the best move for me, for my career. It ended up being here (Vancouver), and it was fantastic after that.”

As he heads back toLa Belle Province’, Crépeau hasn’t forgot about his roots. Montreal will always be his home. That’s where he grew to love football, and playing in goal. It’s not hard to see where Crépeau’s tenacious and determined attitude comes from.

Growing up on the South Shore, Crépeau’s idol was a goalkeeper of a different variety. A bleu-blanc-rouge protecting of the net that has paid the Price in the biggest of games.

“In Canada, we always do the comparisons of hockey and soccer,” Crépeau explained. “The fact is being alone. He’s alone in his blue crease, and I’m alone in my box. It’s a mindset that all goalkeepers have, that they need to focus on themselves to bring the best out of them.

Carey Price is a great example where he has been always on top of his game. He’s been so calm and focused. He inspires his co-workers. When I was young, I grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens, and Carey Price. He’s been an icon, I’ve been watching for years.”

Having both played in the bubbling cauldron of Montreal, Crépeau, and Price are well accustomed to the constant exposure, and expectations one receives in Montreal. As intense as Vancouver can get, nothing beats the massive pressure of playing in Montreal.

“Montreal fans no matter what sport are very passionate,” Crépeau, explained. “They will live highs and lows like crazy. They live the highs really high, and the lows, really low. If you have a bad game, you’re getting buried. If you have an amazing game, you’re the best guy in the whole world. They’re really intense but it’s part of the Montreal culture.”

In what has been a bleak 2019 campaign for Whitecaps FC, Crépeau has been on top of his game throughout. In 22 games, Crépeau has earned 5 clean sheets, and made 98 saves. He ranks third in MLS in saves.

Crépeau has earned all of Vancouver’s 6 wins this season.

If not for the heroics of Max Crépeau, Whitecaps FC would be on the receiving end of many lopsided score-lines. Crépeau has been the Team MVP, no question about it.

“You know, if I saved a ball, I’m happy,” Crépeau laughed. “If it hits my face, arms, foot, whatever, I’m happy. You don’t really choose which part of your body you’re going to make the save. You just react to it.”

Whitecaps FC have been carried by Crépeau, and now it’s time for his teammates to return the favour by helping him earn a result against Montreal. While it’s special time for Crépeau, just imagine how special it would be to earn a win on Wednesday.

“It’s three points,” Crépeau, said. “After that, it’s more the emotional aspect of it. Of course it’ll be nice, but I approach it the same as every game.”

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive Vancouver for my latest Vancouver Whitecaps FC story.

https://bit.ly/2E8guBY

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive Vancouver for my latest Vancouver Whitecaps FC story.

https://bit.ly/2SzQYcD

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Whitecaps FC vs Montreal Impact match breakdown.

https://bit.ly/2Ol3ICO

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Montreal Impact Canadian Championship semifinals second leg match report.

http://www.rednationonline.ca/Articles2016/ImpactoverwhelmWhitecapsinMontrealadvancein.aspx

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Thanks

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Montreal Impact Canadian Championship semifinals first leg match report.

http://www.rednationonline.ca/Articles2016/CapsoutaheadofMontrealafterfirstlegof.aspx

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