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Kristian Nicht signing shows NASL’s value to Montreal Impact

Kristian Nicht

The NASL is often ignored by North American soccer fans especially around times like tonight’s CONCACAF Champions League final, which could be a major boon for the league. But the second leg of the final between Montreal and Club America will have a distinctly NASL flavor.

Not only did Montreal participate in the NASL until the end of the 2011 season but five players on the Impact’s current roster have experience in North American’s second division. One of those players, Kristian Nicht, has been transferred from Indy 11 to the Impact in time for tonight’s final due to a rash of goalkeeper injuries. Nicht will be backed up by Canadian Jon Smits, who is on loan from FC Edmonton of NASL. Smits had the lowest goals against average in NASL last season. However, Smits was available on loan because Edmonton signed Matt Van Oekel away from Minnesota during the offseason (Van Oekel has been considered one of the top NASL goalkeepers over the past four seasons).

Nicht was the first-ever signing for Indy 11 and he impressed between the pipes last season as the German netminder helped keep the expansion side in many games when the run of play was against them. Nicht helped Indy 11 in a season where record attendances cheered on a side that was often not competitive with the rest of NASL.

When evaluating Nicht’s game, he is an excellent reflexive shot-stopper and also very good at organizing his backline on set pieces. Having spent part of the MLS preseason with Montreal, he will be able to communicate well with the backline. Having played four games already this season for Indy 11, including this past Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Carolina, Nicht enters tonight’s final in good form and in match shape.

Montreal was able to use its time in lower-division soccer, first USL and then NASL, to build a supporters base but also a deep knowledge of the depth of the player pool in lower divisions. The Impact’s move for Nicht is just the latest in series of moves that began the Impact’s final year in NASL (2011) to find the best talent in the lower-divisions and bring them to Montreal.

Tonight’s final is a big night for Major League Soccer but also an important statement for NASL. Without NASL, Montreal would not be where they are currently, and the signing of Nicht indicates that the NASL’s talent pool continues to be at a high enough level to potentially influence a continental final.


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  1. Yespage

    April 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    What does it say about the CONCACAF Champions League when there isn’t even a Live Thread at WorldSoccerTalk? And being relegated to FS2 on television.

  2. yespage

    April 29, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    What does it actually mean if Montreal wins? Does CONCACAF have to reassess allowing a Canadian team into the tournament because they won Rock-Paper-Scissors?

    Montreal won 6 games last year. Are winless this year. What does it mean to win a Champions League title if you were bottom of the Table? What value is the Champions League Title if a team with Montreal’s pedigree wins? The truth is, a 0-0 result tonight would mean all they needed was a 4-5-1 record to win it all.

    I have no idea how to take Montreal winning it.

    • Flyvanescence

      April 29, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Dont worry–the MLS windbags will be out in full force anyway.

      • jtm371

        April 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        Fanatics I think is the correct term. 🙂

    • Bishopville Red

      April 29, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Well, it’s looking like you won’t have to suffer that dilemma. However, dismissing their run as “rock paper scissors” is absurd. They had to beat a number of quality sides, including MLS sides and clubs that smashed MLS clubs to get where they are.

      Credit where credit is due.


  3. David

    April 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    It wasn’t goalkeeper injuries- Montreal’s primary goalkeeper is suspended for yellow cards and their main backup is ineligible to play in this because he appeared for another team earlier in the CL. The Impact will probably be playing very conservative though- it’s 1-1 so if they can keep it scoreless tonight they win on away goals.

  4. yespage

    April 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I think the article may be trying to sell the reflected glory angle for the NASL a bit too hard.

  5. CTBlues

    April 29, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Is this a permanent move or a loan?

    • Christopher Harris

      April 29, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Permanent deal.

      • CTBlues

        April 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        Wow, I can understand allowing an emergency loan but an emergency sale is a bit odd.

        • Flyvanescence

          April 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm

          You should have realised that the leagues around here make up rules as they go along.

          • CTBlues

            April 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm

            This is a CONCACAF completion so it’s their fault not MLS or NASL.

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