After Saturday’s loss to CF Montreal, head coach Hernán Losada dropped that it was “difficult” for his team to score. The message did not fall on deaf ears.
Late Wednesday afternoon, during the first day of the summer transfer window, the Impact announced that it had recruited striker Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku from Los Angeles FC in return for a general allocation amount (GAM) 1.65 million in 2023 and $100,000 in GAM in 2024.
At the same time, still with the LAFC, the Bleu-blanc-noir also acquired an amount of $100,000 from GAM in 2024 in return for an international spot in 2023. This sum will therefore be used to join the 1.7m Ghanaian.
“We are very pleased with this acquisition. He’s a young player who already has good experience in the league, including having won the MLS Cup last year by being a decisive player with LAFC, “said the vice president and chief athletic officer of the CF Montreal, Olivier Renard, by press release.
“He will be able to give us something different from the other players we have in terms of his speed and one-on-one ability. This is a profile that we lacked in our workforce. I am confident that he will be able to continue his progress with us,” he added.
Opoku, who turns 22 next week, will try to energize the Montreal offense. Only Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls have fewer goals scored than CFM.
Opuku’s mission will be to be the catalyst for a team that is unable to generate scoring chances. According to the specialized site FBref, only Inter Miami have generated fewer expected goals than the Montrealers this season.
That’s good, because that’s exactly Opoku’s strength. Both on the wing and up front, he causes things offensively.
Last year, the one who mainly evolved as a winger scored 7 goals in addition to obtaining 3 assists, taking part in all the regular season games of the team that will become champion. This season, he collected 4 goals and 2 assists while remaining at the heart of the powerful attacking trio of the Californian club with Carlos Vela and Dénis Bouanga.
Without being the player who touches the most leather in an encounter, Opoku’s speed, ardor and positioning allow him to create a plethora of chances. He is also in the first quarter of the circuit in terms of scoring chances generated.
His profile is quite different from other attackers at the club, as Renard explained. Opoku will be the one who will allow Losada to better install his style focused on verticality given his qualities to play in depth.
Since Romell Quioto suffered a long-term injury, only Sunusi Ibrahim has been able to create chances like this. Otherwise, Chinonso Offor and Mason Toye have a harder time being the spark. The new pickaxe will therefore have a role to play in this register.
What’s more, the transition to Montreal will be a little smoother since Opoku has already played in Los Angeles with Impact attacking midfielder Bryce Duke. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two players with great potential getting along like thieves.
However, the repercussions of Opoku’s arrival should be felt this season.
This acquisition once again gets the trainer club plan seal of approval. The team’s modus operandi — that of acquiring young players and enjoying a few good seasons before selling them for a profit — was once again respected.
Since taking office, Renard has tried to find players who fit this description in the circuit, as he has done with Alistair Johnston, Djordje Mihailovic and Duke, among others. If the strategy worked with the first two names, he hopes Duke and Opoku can do the same.
Like the deal with Inter Miami for Duke, Opoku’s took a while to materialize. According to informant Tom Bogert, Montreal had been trying to acquire the Ghanaian since April.
Note that according to the website Transfertmarkt, the new CFM striker is under contract until the end of this season, but the club has an option to extend his contract for an additional year.
The arrival of Opoku should also lead to some departures. Several players find themselves far in the attacking hierarchy and those who already have few minutes, including Jules-Anthony Vilsaint, could be sent on loan. During the mid-season review, Renard had praised this method of developing players, so it wouldn’t be surprising if “one or two players” left the club on loan, as he had assumed.
Since the start of the season, CF Montreal has spent 2.95 million in MAG to conclude transactions. These are sums that were obtained in particular thanks to the sales of Mihailovic, Johnston and Ismaël Koné. Renard had explained that he would not receive all the GAM from these transfers at once, but rather at the rate of the payments. With the transfer market opening on Wednesday, now was a good time to close the deal. It is also the second most lucrative trade in the history of the circuit for a single player. Only the acquisition of Paul Arriola by FC Dallas, for 2 million, is ahead of that of Opoku.