The Jesse Marsch era is over at Saputo Stadium.
The Montreal Impact has decided to part ways with its first-year coach on the eve of a post-season tour to Italy.
Team owner and president Joey Saputo made the announcement Saturday morning, flanked by Marsch, who thanked the team's fans for their support. The move is being described as an amiable parting of ways.
”This is not a dismissal or a resignation,” said Saputo, adding that Marsch and team management had differences of opinion on how the team would be run.
Under Marsch, the Impact managed a seventh place finish in the MLS's Eastern Conference in its inaugural season.
The team had its moments under the 38-year-old Wisconsinite - who played college soccer at Princeton and spent 14 years as an MLS midfielder - at one point they had a 7-1 run, but they sagged to an 0-3-3 finish, falling out of playoff contention in the last six weeks of the season.
There were hints at the Impact braintrust's end-of-season news conference this past week that there might be philosophical differences between Marsch and his employers. Saputo made a point of saying that "everyone's" performance would be reviewed, including that of his head coach.
Marsch raised eyebrows early in the season with his treatment of star midfielder Patrice Bernier - the hometown boy who ultimately was named the Impact's player of the year - benching him for several games.
There have also been persistent rumours that Marsch didn't see eye-to-eye with high-priced Serie A acquisitions Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta.
That's not reason, on its own, to replace a coach, but Saputo did admit at his news conference Thursday that he was surprised at the treatment of Bernier. Furthermore, Saputo and director of football Nick De Santis referenced the Impact's propensity to lose games in the late going.
Goalkeepers coach Preston Burpo and conditioning coach Adam Rotchstein were also axed.
Assistant coaches Mike Sorber, Mauro Biello and Denis Hamlett will remain with the team.
With files from The Canadian Press