MONTREAL — New Montreal Impact centreback Rudy Camacho and coach Remi Garde should get along fine.
Not only are they experiencing Major League Soccer together for the first time, but both from Arbresle, a municipality of about 6,000 near Lyon, France.
Camacho, 27, signed a four-year contract with Montreal on Thursday after completing his transfer from Belgian first division club Waasland Beveren. The move fills a big hole in the Impact’s central defence.
“I’ve seen a lot of players on video since I got here,” said Garde, who joined Montreal from Olympique Lyonnais in November. “Rudy caught my attention because he likes to defend, he’s aggressive and he seems to be a leader on the field.”
The Impact (1-2) were left scrambling for defenders when, after dealing the popular Laurent Ciman to Los Angeles FC, his replacement Zakaria Diallo suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury a few days before the start of the regular season. They were already missing second-year centreback Kyle Fisher for four months with a leg injury.
That left Victor Cabrera as their only healthy natural centreback. Left back Jukka Raitala filled in at centreback in the first three games.
Garde recently signed 36-year-old central defender Rod Fanni, who made an impressive debut in a 1-0 home win over Toronto FC on Saturday, to a three-month contract that can be extended. He filled another need Monday with the signing of 28-year-old Uruguayan attacking midfielder Alejandro Silva.
The Camacho deal and Silva’s three-year contract were both done using targeted allocation money, so the Impact still have one designated player spot open after Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider.
Silva and Camacho are expected to see their first action in Impact blue on March 31 in Seattle, when MLS play resumes after an international break.
Camacho, who had been in town for a week while the Impact and Waasland worked out the deal, watched the game against Toronto as a first look at a league he didn’t know much about.
“Remi Garde called me directly to see if I was interested,” said Camacho, who donned shirt number four as he met with the media. “I had options in Europe.
“I thought it over. There’s my family, there’s football. It’s another adventure. There’s the quality of life. Everything plays into it. But I think I made the right decision and I’ll try to show that on the field.”
While he and Garde are from the same town, they had never met.
“I didn’t know him at all before he showed interest in me,” he said. “It’s just by chance.
“We’re born in the same city, so that’s good.”
The six-foot-one Camacho, who joined Waasland in 2016, started 27 games and played in three Belgian Cup games this season. He scored two goals and acted as captain in his last eight games with the club.
He previously played in lower divisions in France for Nancy, Lyon-Duchere and Sedan Ardennes.
“It’s a very good moment in his career to give his best,” said Garde. “I also like the fact that he built his career smart because he started in low clubs.
“It shows me it’s someone who really wants to achieve. As a player, he’s a strong defender and also I like the way he can pass the ball from behind to build the game. He has very good ability on that. He can play on the left or the right side of the central defence, which is also important for me. I think it’s a very good prospect for us.”
Technical director Adam Braz said this week the team is likely done with signings at least until the summer transfer window.