Impact's search for a new coach down to a handful of candidates

The Montreal Impact are down to a handful of candidates to replace Jesse Marsch as head coach of the Major League Soccer club.

Jesse Marsch parted ways with club following expansion season

Jesse Marsch, left, and Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo during a news conference in Montreal in November. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Montreal Impact are down to a handful of candidates to replace Jesse Marsch as head coach of the Major League Soccer club.

An unsigned article on the team's website on Friday said 28 people from around the world applied for the job and "a few" candidates have had second meetings with management.

No names were mentioned.

"The situation is well in hand, but the management wants to take the time necessary to make the best choice," it said. "Even though the club has remained fairly quiet on the coaching front over the last few weeks, the search is making solid progress."

The Impact report for medicals on Jan. 19 and open training camp two days later in Montreal.

New coach "must speak English and French"

As for what they want in a coach, the team said "it will be essential that the new bench boss be able to work on a daily basis with other members of the technical staff, the first team and the academy, but he must also be able to develop a natural chemistry within the group."

And it added that the new coach "must speak English and French."

Marsch, from Racine, Wis., spoke only English when he was hired, although he drew praise for his efforts in learning enough French to do a television interview by the end of the season.

Marsch agreed to part ways with the club despite a better-than-expected 12-15-7 record in its expansion season in MLS.

Philosophical differences were cited for the split. It is believed Marsch preferred a more physical, North American style of play while management and the handful of European veterans signed during the season preferred a more controlled, possession game.

Saputo unhappy with speculation

Team president Joey Saputo recently wrote a biting message on Twitter saying local media were off-target in speculation about the new coach. Names of a few Europeans had been mentioned, including former Impact player Enzo Concina and ex-Juventus striker Pierluigi Casaraghi.

The team's message ended with a paternal note that "a few days before the New Year, supporters need to be patient and have faith in the organization, which has always acted in the best interest of the club and for the growth of soccer in Quebec."