Report: FC Montreal Folds; Ottawa Fury to Become Impact USL Affiliate

IMAGE, RICHARD A. WHITTAKER/OTTAWA FURY FC

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Change continues to be the norm across the lower leagues.

This time, USL will lose an MLS2 team in 2017 — but that is not necessarily a sign of the league’s health. Reports state that FC Montreal will be making way for the Ottawa Fury to be the Impact’s USL affiliate team according to Tony Marinaro of TSN. FC Montreal will close their operations in the transition.

Marinaro would go on to detail the three options laid out for FC Montreal players.

Option 1: Players can try out for the Ottawa Fury but would not be guaranteed a spot with the team.

Option 2: Players could play in the PSL, a lower division semi-pro French-Canadian league where the Impact’s reserve team may play next season.

Option 3: Players can be released from their contracts but the Montreal Impact will retain their player rights for one year.

FC Montreal started play in 2015 and was the youngest side in the league for two straight seasons. Despite not producing on the field, the team showed signs of progression with players like Alessandro Riggi and Frederic Lajoie-Gravelle being potential MLS candidates. The move also throws into question the academy system for the Montreal Impact which has been rumored to be less of a priority next season.

The loss of FC Montreal may be an indication of league wishes. MLS2 teams are the lowest attended sides in the USL with branding that makes it difficult to market. The teams also add a “reserve-league” feel which many teams are wishing to avoid in the future. Teams such as Reno 1868, which will be the MLS team for the San Jose Earthquakes, took an approach which not only branded the team differently but didn’t place them in the same general sports market.