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Daniel Lovitz ‘would love to’ return to Montreal Impact in 2020

The fullback in a contract year said he started talking with sporting director Olivier Renard.

Jun 1, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact defender Daniel Lovitz (3) makes a pass against Orlando City SC during the second half at Stade Saputo. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO — Daniel Lovitz’s 2019 season has been filled with ups and downs.

Lovitz earned his first cap with the U.S. men’s national team in January and has since played 13 times. He also featured in the crushing 2-0 defeat to Canada at BMO Field earlier this week. At the club level with the Montreal Impact, he lifted his second Voyageurs Cup. Lovitz was also left out of the 18 by Wilmer Cabrera for the Impact’s season finale.

“It was a discussion between me and the head coach,” Lovitz said. “I’ll keep that between us but more than anything it was nice to be on the same page about it. Obviously, I expressed to him that I wanted to play but I respected his decision and it’s one of those things.”

Ahead of the U.S.’s loss to Canada, Gregg Berhalter spoke about Lovitz’s progression with the national team. Berhalter enjoyed what the Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania native has been giving his squad.

“He’s done a good job, he really has,” Berhalter said. “What I really like with Danny is that he can attack. He’s very aggressive going forward. He’s a competitor as well.”

Interest in returning to Montreal

In his introductory news conference, Impact sporting director Olivier Renard expressed his interest to build an attacking style. When asked about potentially contributing to the Impact’s new era, Lovitz simply said: “I would love to.”

“I was a winger for the majority of my life and my professional career so it’s something that I have a natural knack for,” Lovitz added. “It’s been an adjustment to just pick the right spots, to do that and to be on a team that is constantly trying to attack from wide areas.”

The fullback had an informal conversation with Renard. For him, the sit-down with the Impact’s new sporting director was “to get on the same page and put a face to a name more than anything.”

“I think that anyone that knows MLS knows that things operate quickly and when you least expect it sometimes,” Lovitz said. “Especially now that the Impact are not in the playoffs, I think a lot of other teams still focused on the current year in the season and they’ll kind of reevaluate things when the dust settles.

“For us, it’s a head start to try to figure out what we want to look like next year and who’s going to be available. That stuff always plays out and players don’t always have a say in what happens.”

Growing pains

Playing at BMO Field last Tuesday brought back memories of Toronto FC, the club where Lovitz started his professional career. He hadn’t made the transition to left back yet and struggled to find regular minutes.

“For me it was about sticking around and doing what I can do to impress the coaches, whoever they were at the time, and to make sure that I was consistent when it counted,” he said. “At times [in Toronto] I didn’t think I did a great job with that and I was able to transition into Montreal and find some stability in a position that I was able to call home as a left back and move forward from there.”

Lovitz added that one of the challenges for him growing as a left back in Montreal has been finding balance. He needed to know when to move forward and stay back with star left winger Ignacio Piatti. He believed that playing for the USMNT helped him play through that struggle as a left back.

“We struck a good balance at times and we were incredibly dangerous,” Lovitz said. “I think the structure [at the U.S. national team] has been good for me I think especially this camp. The [Cuba] game, just what we’ve been able to put together structurally, I feel the most like myself in the position and I’m able to get across half field and get touches on the ball and I love that.”

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