Three days before the season opener in Porto Rico, the Montreal Impact added some depth to its offensive line, Thursday, with the confirmation that striker Joel Bailey had joined the club for the summer, on loan from the Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
The 24-year-old forward, originally from Trinidad & Tobago, will provide one more option for head coach Nick DeSantis, who already has forwards Eduardo Sebrango, Nikola Budalic, Fred Commodore and Darko Kolic on his roster.
"We were looking for another forward with good speed and a physical presence, and he’s got it,"said DeSantis about Bailey. "Joel is going to need some time to get accustomed to the way we play, but he’s shown us a lot of qualities."
Bailey, who was the NCAA’s top scorer with 36 goals over the 2000 season, will be making his A-League debut, but he has shown promise in his first pro season, this winter, in the MISL.
"He brings the kind of punch to a team that you don’t see everyday," said Impact defender Nevio Pizzolitto, who had Bailey as a teammate over the last indoor soccer season in Cleveland. "You can tell he’s going to be a good player. He’s versatile with the ball, he likes to take on players one on one, and he has speed. Several teams were interested in him, so that’s why I told Nick about him so he could look into it."
Bailey finished his college career in the United States as the all-time leading scorer in Wheeling Jesuit University history. In four seasons at the West Virginia-based institution, he scored 92 goals and collected 31 assists. His 36 goals and 86 points picked up in 2000 are both team records for a season.
"I’ll try to bring another dimension to the team offensively, so that we become tougher to defend against," said Bailey. "My best assets are probably my speed running with the ball, taking players on and just trying overall to be dangerous."
The Impact offence had one last chance to fine tune its play before Sunday’s season opener against the Islanders, as Wednesday morning, it led the Montreal squad to a 5-1 pre-season win against the McGill Redmen. Mauro Biello scored three goals.