Thierry Henry’s start as head coach of the Montreal Impact hasn’t fully gotten underway with the club only playing two league matches to date. Despite advancing into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals earlier this year, the club has yet to hit its peak in MLS.
Last week, MLS extended its moratorium on games until at least June 8, fueling further uncertainty. Despite the news, Henry remains optimistic about a potential restart.
“I’m sure the Commissioner and whoever is involved to take that decision are working obviously extremely hard to find out what we are about to do,” said Henry. “All we can do on our side is to be focused and prepare for whatever is going to come our way.”
“Usually, when you train during the week, you want to see that transformation on the field,” said Henry. “Right now, you’re not even training on the field to see that transformation at the weekend. Everyone is at home and you have to trust them.”
The early signs in Montreal were positive, but Henry maintains it’s only the beginning.
“I always mention Jürgen Klopp. It took him three and a half years to do what he’s doing with Liverpool,” Henry said. “It doesn’t happen just like that.”
Henry’s initial intention was to deploy the Impact in a 4-3-3 system, but preseason struggles forced the tactician to adapt. As a result, Henry pivoted to a hybrid system, that sees the Impact switch seamlessly between a back three and back five.
“It’s the early stages, let’s not get carried away,” Henry said. “Guys were just starting to understand what we wanted and how we wanted to play as well as the intensity and the togetherness that we wanted to put into games.”
Henry returned to North American soccer for the first time after retiring over six years ago. Since hanging up the boots, the former Monaco boss concedes Major League Soccer has undergone significant change and is still growing.
“For me, the biggest thing, is that now teams are buying players from the Mexican league, and trying to get players from Europe earlier,” said Henry. “I don’t know if that would have happened before.”
For the French tactician, this is only the beginning of a new trend in MLS.
“The league has no limits, for me,” said Henry. “You have the likes of Carlos Vela playing here that could have gone back to Europe, but now, clubs are capable of holding on to players. That’s a sign of how the league grew, for me.”