Montreal needed help out wide and got just that in Thursday's SuperDraft – Blake Smith is here.
Well, not quite. Like two other Impact selections in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Smith could not attend the event in Indianapolis – his particular absence was due to travelling issues. It meant that, on the very day he turned 22, he got to learn where his pro career would take off, while sitting comfortably on the family couch, alongside proud parents and siblings.
“It was the best birthday present I could get,” Smith told MLSsoccer.com from his home state of Texas on Thursday night.
Montreal fans need not to worry about Smith’s absence in Indianapolis. The rookie confirmed Impact sporting director Nick De Santis' earlier indication that he would be at training camp on Monday with a resounding “Yes, I will.”
“You want to go somewhere where you think you can step on the field and fight for a position,” Smith said.
The Impact front office were very open about their needs on the flanks after last season, and Smith seems to fit the bill perfectly. While Montreal were playing a decidedly narrow style in MLS, the University of New Mexico wide midfielder ranked among the best NCAA assist-providers in 2012, with 13, and also scored three goals in the process.
De Santis notably praised Smith’s crossing ability following the draft, which fits a definite need for club. Still, the youngster sounds remarkably receptive to exploring other options than his natural position on the left.
“If Montreal tries to bring me underneath, as an attacking mid, then I think you’ll see more goals out of me,” Smith explained, alluding to his 10 goals and five assists for New Mexico in 2011. “If they decide to play me out left, I’ll be able to get more assists, for sure.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com.