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Montreal’s Schallibaum backtracks; Arnaud still captain

Jan 22, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

San Jose Earthquakes v Montreal Impact Getty Images

Am I the only one who giggled a little when I read that new Montreal manager Marco Schallibaum needed exactly one day into preseason training camp to get himself into a little hot water with the fans?

Not that I wish the veteran Swiss manager or the Impact any ill will. But this is precisely what teams get when they are bound and determined to go fetch a foreign voice as head coach, one who has no history with the vagaries and peculiarities of Major League Soccer.

Schallibaum may turn out to be the nicest guys in the whole history of nice guys. As a coach, he might be Rinus Michels, Guus Hiddink and Sir Alex Ferguson all rolled into one for all I know.

I truly wish him nothing but the best.

But I also know that he’ll bump up against a learning curve in MLS. And some of the low hanging branches on which he’s bound to conk his noggin won’t be the kind that Montreal heals with a quick press release saying, effectively, “Whoa! That’s not really what he meant!”

Yesterday, after the team’s first practice under the man who replaced Jesse Marsch, Schallibaum indicated that Davy Arnaud’s captaincy was up for review. And as one of my pals likes to say, that went over about as well as a fart in church.

A press release went out. Arnaud (pictured, left), a fan favorite, an emotional leader and a man who wears the captaincy quite well, is likely to keep the arm band, Schallibaum now says.

Meanwhile, we’ll man the watchtower for the next possible misstep borne of cultural inexperience.

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