Don't look now, but the vaunted Montreal Impact, whose 2008 Nutrilite Championship launched them into a stirring CONCACAF Champions League run which was the cause of much chest-thumping and preening by "owner" Joey "Frat Boy" Saputo, is pretty much dead in the water in their campaign for a repeat.
Their 2-0 loss to Vancouver last night, coupled with last week's loss at BMO, leaves them 6 points behind TFC after only two games. And in light of the fact that Montreal won the whole shebang last year with 7 points total, things don't look so good.
Toronto FC and it's fans were rightly a bit red faced when one of their USL1 countrymen moved into the CCL slot that they - and pretty much everyone else - felt was thiers almost by default. The Canadian Championship (Nutrilite) deal was thought to be more or less a formality contrived out of thin air to bestow some legitimacy on TFC's ticket to the Champions League.
After they came up short, what tended to get lost in all the hoopla over Impact de Montréal's "historic" achivement was that, contrary to popular belief, they didn't get there by beating TFC.
In fact, Toronto actually won the match in Stade Saputo and then tied them in the home leg at BMO. The reason Montreal won the Cup - or whatever it is - was because the Vancouver Whitecaps, not le Impact, beat the Reds 1-0 in Toronto on a PK from Steve Nash's baby brother while Jay Nolly had, if memory serves, 4,812 saves for the Caps.
This of course fed into Pal Joey's delusions of grandeur, and launched a thousand "We're as good as those stinky old MLS teams any day" articles written by delusional Montreal sports guys with - obviously - a bit too much vin rouge under their belts.
To further feed the fantasy, Montreal - you will surely recall - went farther in the Champions League than any MLS team did, prompting assertions in some quarters of Quebec - including Joey's living room - that the Impact was actually better than an MLS team.
Which in turn has led to the assertion that one reason to admit the Impact into MLS on the cheap is that they can simply slap MLS patches on the Impact's current uniforms and, voila, they're an MLS caliber team. This, Saputo wants us to know, would allow him to skip the usual MLS expansion draft, earning him a discount on the fee. Montreal doesn't need those guys. They've got better.
Unfortunately for this theory, last night the Whitecaps - who, not being on psychotropic drugs, will fact participate in the 2011 draft - scored twice in the first 17 minutes to give the Impact their second defeat in two Nutrilite matches, making Montreal's prospects for a repeat CCL run look remote at best.
This, coupled with their current 1-3-2 record in USL1 this season, is of course unlikely to get the message through to Joey the Frat Boy that his outfit simply isn't that good.
A team that starts, among others, MLS rejects like Adam Braz, David Testo, Felix Brilliant, Joey Gjertson, Kevin Sakuda, Roberto Brown and Eduardo Sebrango is nowhere near MLS caliber and one simply cannot imagine Don Garber allowing Joey to bring this team into the league in order to get it's brains beat out every week.
The only person who doesn't seem to grasp that fact is Saputo.