Brovsky has become a second-choice defender under Frank Klopas, despite the fact that he offers qualities the winless Impact are badly in need of.Jeb Brovsky has become something of a cult hero amongst Montreal Impact fans over the last two years.
The Colorado native’s dogged determination on the field, as well as his many philanthropic endeavors off it, have made him one of the team’s most adored players.
Many fans consider him a model professional; some, an exemplary human being. Last year, a few Impact supporters even went as far as forming a group called “The Jebi Knights,” dedicated to promoting the values and lifestyle choices that Brovsky strives to live by.
Brovsky has also been a fixture on the outside of defense for the Impact over the last two seasons, providing a steady defensive hand and becoming an integral part and very respected member of the team. Last year’s head coach, Marco Schällibaum, called him “a warrior.” Some would say that he’s a definite captain-in-the-making should he decide to stay on with the Impact in the coming years.
But the 25-year-old has now been reduced to a substitute role under new head coach Frank Klopas. Though he did start the Impact’s first three games this term, he’s been limited to bench appearances in the team’s last four outings, as new offseason signing Heath Pearce and academy product Maxim Tissot have played in his place at left-fullback.
Questioned this week about why Brovsky is now being left out of the starting lineup, Klopas explained that it’s because he prefers having naturally left-footed players playing on the left side of defense.
"I'm looking for more of a natural left-footed player," Klopas told assembled media following team training on Thursday. "To be fair, when you put him (Brovsky) on the left side, it's not ideal, even if he played well last year. I'm looking for a left-footed guy that can open up the field, that can get crosses in.”
In an ideal world, Klopas would be right: at left-fullback you want to have a left-footed player who can easily bomb forward and distribute quality crosses. Since the Impact haven’t had this kind of player over the last two seasons, Brovsky has often had to take up the position on the left-side of defense even though he’s naturally right-footed.
Acquiring a proper left-fullback was one of sporting director Nick De Santis’ priorities for the offseason, but the best that he and Klopas could do was sign a cast off defender like Pearce. So far, the former MLS MVP and U.S. international’s performances have been disappointing. Clearly, his best days are behind him. By the time he languidly arrives deep into the opposition half, even if he’s technically capable, he barely has any energy left to deliver a quality cross.
A position in central defense might suit him a lot better.
The only other left-footed player the Impact currently have at their disposal is 22-year-old academy product Maxim Tissot. Tissot is speedy and willing to get forward, but he’s too much of a defensive liability, just like he was last game against Kansas City, despite the fact that Collen Warner devoted much of his time to helping Tissot double up on the outside.
As limited as he might be with his left foot, Brovsky is still the Impact’s best option at left-fullback. He might not offer a whole lot offensively, but he brings that defensive steadiness that the Impact are in desperate need of at the moment – the team has conceded a whopping 14 goals in seven games so far.
Montreal is still winless this season and Klopas has experimented a lot with his lineup, especially in defense, but it’s time that he goes back to some of the things which were proven to work in the past.
For a team that’s looked so soulless and fragile, the Impact could really use a player like Brovsky in the starting lineup.
It's ill-advised to cage lions.— Jeb Brovsky (@JebBrovsky) April 24, 2014
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