Le what? Montreal and manager Jesse Marsch part ways?

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Of all the MLS managers we thought were in a bad spot – Chivas USA’s Robin Fraser, the Red Bull’s Hans Backe, even perhaps Colorado’s Oscar Pareja – no one saw this coming.

Montreal and manager Jesse Marsch have parted ways.

This is being blamed on the ol’ differing philosophies, but it’s difficult to get arms around a decision that’s baffling on its face.

The Impact in 2012 came tantalizingly close to making the playoffs, which would have been an amazing accomplishment for an expansion side. As it was, finishing 7th of 10 teams in the East (with a 12-6-6 record) is more than credible for Marsch and Co.

More than that, through August and September the Impact was playing as well most teams in the league. Veterans like Felipe Martins, Marco Di Vaio and Patrice Bernier were integrating with the younger likes of Andrew Wenger.

So, management could not possibly have been disappointed with the 2012 results. Consider, for instance, that last year’s pair of expansion sides won 11 and 6 matches (compared to Montreal’s 12).

If anything was amiss at Stade Saputo, the team did look rather old for an expansion side. Perhaps one of the parties here (either Marsch or the figures at higher pay grade) wanted a more youthful approach, one that was more on the “build for future” program, less on the “win now” track. Perhaps that was the genesis of the clash.

Either way, this one deserves further exploration – which I’m sure is to come.