Thierry Henry sees a need for better defense after the first training with Impact | paNOW | Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

“We have a good number of wingers and higher. Ideally, we should buy two or three defenders if possible. “

Twenty-eight players are in training camp that later this week to Orlando, Fla. Moved out. Only four of them are defenders with some MLS experience: Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho and Jorge Corrales.

On Tuesday, the Impact acquired the Canadian center Joel Waterman after a transfer from Calgary-based Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League. Aldergrove’s resident, B.C., signed a two-year contract with Montreal with options for 2022 and 2023.

Henry’s first training was very light and lasted about an hour. The former French international did not want to overload his players.

“After an hour of training, so far very good,” said the retired striker, who signed a two-year contract with an option for 2022. “Application was good and the boys trained with the right intensity. We have to be careful with that, because they haven’t done anything for a long time, but I’m happy with the first day.

“It was nice to see the players (in person), because I watched a lot of video, but it is different to be here, to see who is playing and how.”

Henry, who previously coached AS Monaco in Ligue 1, has his work ahead of him with a new season approaching.

His first match as a coach will be February 19 when the Impact travels to Costa Rica for the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 series against Deportivo Saprissa. The return trip is 26 February.

Montreal starts its MLS campaign three days later at home in New England. The Impact are looking for their first berth after the season since 2016. They went 12-17-5 last season.

“This team didn’t make the play-offs in three years. That’s not an accident. We have to work on that,” Henry said.

That gives the Premier League legend four weeks to make a number of crucial selection decisions. Maxi Urruti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel compete for the team’s main forward position. Evan Bush and Clement Diop want the starting track in goal.

“Everyone starts from scratch,” said the new Impact coach. “Everyone has to prove that they belong in this team. Yes, there is now a goal hit. Whoever deserves to play will play. “

Meanwhile, midfielder Ignacio Piatti was back in an Impact uniform, putting an end to constant off-season speculation. The future of Piatti seemed to be in the air when he met no reporters at the press conference at the end of the season last October.

It was rumored that Piatti wanted to stay with his family in Argentina, although the Impact used the option on his contract for 2020.

“Last year, after a conversation with (sports director Olivier Renard), I left and had things to do and the media forgotten,” says Piatti, who first came to Montreal in 2014. “There is no problem. It’s a new year and i am here.

“My family is there (in Argentina), so it will be a difficult year for me. But I am under contract, so I am here.”

Remarks: Assistant coaches Wilfried Nancy and Patrice Bernier and goalkeeper coach Remy Vercoutre are back this season … Haitian international midfielder Steeven Saba was invited to the training camp of Montreal … After spending two weeks in Florida, the team returns to Montreal on January 29. back to Florida for pre-season friendships.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 14, 2020.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press