In one fell swoop, the Montreal Impact fired Marco Schällibaum and hired Frank Klopas. The club called a Wednesday news conference, where they simultaneously announced the departure of their old manager and the hiring of their new one, ushering in a new era in Montreal.
New eras aren't new for the Impact, despite having just completed only their second season in MLS. The club is already on their third manager in Klopas, who will try to do what neither Jesse Marsch nor Schällibaum was able to — please owner Joey Saputo enough to earn a second season in charge.
Klopas comes to Montreal from the Chicago Fire, where he was the longtime technical director and since 2011, also manager. But after failing to make the playoffs last season, the Fire moved in another direction and Klopas was forced to consider life in MLS apart from Chicago.
The question is whether it's even possible to appease Saputo at this point. He has earned a reputation for being eccentric, if not combustible, and the constant turnover in the club has made it difficult to develop any sort of cohesion. That it took months for Saputo to actually fire Schällibaum and then hire his new manager is just another indicator that things in Montreal are unusual at best.
The team started spectacularly last season and led the Eastern Conference heading into the summer, but injuries to older players and a lack of squad depth saw them dip and barely make the playoffs. They were easily dispatched by the Houston Dynamo in the play-in match and with that, their season was over.
Clearly simply making the playoffs isn't enough in Montreal, but can Klopas do better? He didn't have a ton of resources in Chicago so he has more to work with, especially seeing as the Impact already have a decent core in Marco di Vaio and Patrice Bernier, but Klopas has some work to do if they want to build the team into one of the East's better sides and earn a second season in Montreal.