SPORTS

Impact coach Marsch ''regretful'' of outburst that drew 1-game suspension

10/18/2012 04:35 EDT | Updated 12/18/2012 05:12 EST
MONTREAL - It was well known that Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch had a temper even before he was expelled from the 1-1 draw in Houston two weeks ago that sank the expansion club's MLS playoff hopes.

His outburst over a non-call on what he felt was a foul on Sanna Nyassi late in the game saw the team fined by the league for ''unprofessional conduct of team staff'' and Marsch ejected from the match.

That drew an automatic one-game suspension, which Marsch will serve when the Impact travels to Toronto on Saturday. Assistant Mike Sorber will take his place.

''The staff has done a really good job all year and that's coming in handy now because I got thrown out,'' Marsch said Thursday. ''But I have full confidence in our team and how they'll respond to our staff.

''It doesn't take much for our guys to know that it's a big game and that we need to go down there and make ourselves and our club proud.''

The 38-year-old Impact coach was a peppery little player for 14 seasons in MLS with D.C. United, the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA from 1996 to 2009.

He not only scored 31 goals in 321 career matches, he also committed a league record 477 fouls. He was shown the yellow card 61 times and the red card twice.

In his first head coaching job with the expansion Impact, Marsch has been among the more demonstrative coaches on the sidelines. In one match this summer when the visiting team was awarded two penalty shots, he took off his jacket and slammed it on the ground.

He had already been fined once for criticizing a referee to the media after a game, so he was careful with his post-game comments after that one.

Now, he's had his first ejection as a head coach.

''I shouldn't have done what I did when I ran on the field,'' he said. ''The emotion of the game got the best of me.

''It's not the first time and it won't be the last time. I'm regretful for doing it, but at the same time, we were in that game all the way and I was on the field with the guys.

''You never want to be a guy who's getting reprimanded and fined and have disciplinary action all the time, but at the same time, it's important to be yourself and express yourself so that the team feels it and everyone knows we're in it together.''

He and the more even-tempered Sorber were both working as assistant coaches with the U.S. national team when Marsch was named the Impact's first head coach in August, 2011. Sorber joined him in Montreal and will now get his first taste of being an MLS head coach, if only for one game.

''I'm probably a little bit more adamant in my emotions than Mike is,'' added Marsch, who will be at BMO Field to watch the match, but is not allowed near the sidelines or even the press box. ''But I'm totally confident we'll be ready to go without me on the sidelines. We won't skip a beat.''

The 41-year-old Sorber was a regular on the U.S. squad in the 1990s, earning 67 caps and playing a key role for the team in the 1994 World Cup on home soil. He has coached some of the Impact reserve team games, but never the first squad.

''Everyone knows that from Day One, Jesse's been the leader,'' said Sorber. ''But the way we've built this thing is that the message is consistent and clear.

''The game plan is laid out while we're in training, so everyone has the ideas. And when they step out onto the field, everyone's on the same page.''

The draw in Houston eliminated Montreal (12-15-5) from the playoffs but the club still hopes to finish first among the three Canadian teams in order to get the top seed for next year's Amway Canadian Championship. That would mean drawing Edmonton, which plays in the second-tier NASL, in the first round.

They also hope to take revenge on Toronto (5-20-7), the last place team that is 2-1-1 against Montreal this year. In their last meeting in Montreal on June 27, TFC won 3-0 in what Marsch called his club's ''low point of the season.''

''No game in our league is easy, especially playing away from home,'' said Impact captain Davy Arnaud. ''They (TFC) have not had the results they wanted this year, but this game being against a rival, you can throw the records out.

''It's a really big game for them. They don't want to lose to us, especially with the year they've had.''

Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier was back after seeing Canadian national team duty. He wasn't used in the humiliating 8-1 loss in Honduras on Tuesday that eliminated Canada from contention for a spot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

That left the Brossard, Que., native with 49 caps for Canada. At 33, he doesn't expect to get the call again as the team is likely to rebuild with younger players.

''I know the factors behind it, preparation for 2018,'' he said. ''My goal was to reach 50 before we went to the Hex (the final round of World Cup qualifying), but we'll see. It may be my last game with the national team.''

The Impact are without midfielder Felipe Martins, who is out for the rest of the season with a sports hernia. Marsch said it hasn't been decided whether rookie Callum Mallace would replace the Brazilian for a second game in a row.

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