Lovitz photo courtesy Montreal Impact
National team fans have a mixed relationship with left back Daniel Lovitz. How does he rate from an MLS perspective? I asked Tristan D’Amours, who covers the Montreal Impact for ProSoccerUSA what to expect from the new Nashville SC defender.
For Club and Country: What sort of player should Nashville SC fans expect from Lovitz? What are the strengths of his game and some of the weaknesses?
Tristan D’Amours: At his best he was the fullback that could help Nacho Piatti out offensively but mostly defensively on the left when no one expected him to. He did that really well when Remi Garde first came in. We need to remember that Lovitz came in as a winger and then converted to a left back. The Impact was in a tough situation when Ambroise Oyongo left from Ligue 1. Lovitz took that opportunity and ran with it. That’s admirable. I have a strong feeling that this is why he got his first cap around then. Gregg Berhalter saw that when he was coaching the Crew and gave him a chance when no one had done it before. At his worst he was a liability on the back line. He made mistakes that cost the team dearly. Near the end of his time at the Impact, fans got frustrated with with the poor defensive work that he put in. He also won’t be that fullback that will cross the ball into the box time and time again. I’m quite interested to see who will be playing above him on the left flank because Piatti was never known to be the most helpful player defensively. I wonder if that’ll be different in Tennessee.
FCAC: I think most fans probably know him as a relatively unpopular USMNT mainstay over the past year-plus. What’s his reputation among fans North of the Border?
TD’A: To go back to my previous answer, Lovitz essentially came out of nowhere so his reputation heading into 2019 was relatively good. The Impact’s two prominent American players, along with Evan Bush, were both underdog type players that made their way to the starting lineup with hard work. The city of Montreal respects underdogs so they both had good reputations until the 2019 season. Impact fans this season didn’t see Lovitz’s addition to the USMNT very well, however. I’ve seen Impact fans calling out his interest for the USMNT trump his interest for the Impact many times this season. It was a first over here to have an Impact player feature consistently on the USMNT and I think fans weren’t down with that. One thing I’ll add, he scored a darn good penalty in the shootouts to help the Impact win their tenth Voyageurs Cup and that went a little too unnoticed for my liking.
FCAC: Was there any sort of discomfort or awkwardness acquiring him from a rival back in 2017? Or was it just a matter of the best way to get a useful player?
TD’A: Not at all since he came in on a trial. As a matter of fact, Lovitz had a trial with the Whitecaps prior to coming to Montreal and didn’t make the cut. He wasn’t seen as an important player back when he came in since Oyongo was the de facto left back. But the fact that Lovitz took the mantle when no one really thought it would amount to anything merited respect. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen any animosity around Lovitz being part of Toronto FC before coming over to Quebec.
FCAC: What made him expendable for the Impact? Do they feel like they got a good price for him?
TD’A: The Impact learned from their mistakes. Oyongo left for Montpellier for nothing and that was seen as a mistake. This time around, the Impact had a player come in on a trial — shortly after failing to crack the team in Vancouver — and three seasons later they get $50,000 in TAM, $50,000 in GAM and an international roster spot. Impact fans may tell you that it’s a steal by looking at his 2019 season. I prefer seeing it as the Impact finally making a profit off of what they put in a player. The Impact have invested in him as a left back and they are now collecting the fruit of that work.
FCAC: What sort of guy is he off the pitch? Fiery leader, quiet hard-working player, popular in the community?
TD’A: I couldn’t say for how invested in the community but I can tell you that he was a classy individual off the pitch. He wouldn’t shy away from answering questions. He would tell it like it is and that was quite refreshing. He made his name as a hard-working player that never got things handed to him and hopefully he’ll bring that with him to Nashville. I wish him all the best.