It had been a while since midfielder Clément Bayiha, now an Ottawa Fury FC player, had shared the pitch with his friend and former teammate, Mathieu Choinière, who just recently signed a first team contract with the Bleu-blanc-noir.
The chemistry, however, remained unchanged, from what we saw last Friday in a friendly game against Ottawa Fury FC.
“I always know where he’s going to be,” said Bayiha. “With the U19 team, we often played together on the same side. I often knew what he was going to do so it helped on the field.”
“We’ve been playing together for a very long time, since the U16 team, about four or five years ago,” said midfielder Mathieu Choinière. “Considering the number of times we’ve practiced together as well, our chemistry comes naturally. It’s easy to play with him.”
The two were impressive with the Impact Academy’s U19s the year prior, helping their team finish first in its group in the Development Academy. They were also both invited to the first team’s training camp earlier this year. Now, in a professional setting, not much seems to have changed for the former Academy players.
“They integrated into the team extremely well for this game,” said coach Joël Bats. “One of them even allowed us to win the game. They covered a lot of ground and played with personality. Mathieu was able to find his bearings tactically, play between the lines, and bring chemistry in attack. They were both very good.”
It’s now back to the playoff race for both teams. Ottawa, sitting ninth in the USL Eastern Conference, is one point behind the line, while the Impact still holds the sixth and last playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference standings as it gets set to visit the Philadelphia Union this Saturday (TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN 690).