MONTREAL, CANADA - MAY 2: Milos Kocic #30 catches the ball while Terry Dunfield #23 of the Toronto FC holds onto Davy Arnaud #22 of the Montreal Impact during the Amway Canadian Championship Series match at the Olympic Stadium on May 2, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The first leg is in the books and both teams part way with a 0-0 tie. In the home and away system, the Montreal Impact have some advantage without conceding a goal, knowing that every goal they score at BMO field counts for double. Both teams fielded what was close to their MLS 1st teams outside injuries and a couple of coaches choices.
A crowd of 13,405 fans made it to Olympic Stadium and it's not bad number for a Wednesday night game but the Big O usually sucks out the fun and atmosphere. We all hope (fans, media etc..) that the Montreal Impact play in Stade Saputo at the planned date of June 16th against the Seattle Sounders. Outside the ambiance around the field, the ambiance on the field was also kind of dull but it was expected that Toronto FC would defend and hope for a goal in a counter attack or on a set-piece. It was also expected to see Montreal take control of the ball (ball possession at 66.2%) as Toronto FC gave it away and the Impact gladly took it. The Montreal Impact had most of the chances to take a lead in the 1st leg of the ACC semi-finals but faced a Milos Kocic in excellent form.
It was a good opportunity to see Jeb Brovsky play a full 90 minutes and Lamar Neagle starting (71 minutes in total) showing a certain depth in the team whether to remedy to injuries, squad rotation or coach choices. I will add my disappointment in the Bernardo Corradi - Sanna Nyassi duo as both worked very hard but didn't seem to be in sync.
More after the jump....
With a number of solid chances in the 1st half, the Montreal Impact could have ( should have?) easily taken the lead and sealed the deal of the 2012 ACC semi-final 1st leg with a generous lead but lady luck and Milos Kocic made sure to keep the suspense going. Jesse Marsch fielded an almost identical team that played against the Portland Timbers except for Zarek Valentin and Justin Mapp being out due to injuries. It shows confidence in the group and the fact that Marsch seemed to have wanted to use that victorious momentum to take as much of a lead as possible in the 1st leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semi-finals.
Scoring chances are still being generated...
Lamar Neagle continued the heavy left sided attack of the Impact and replaced Justin Mapp very well. The Washington native multiplied his runs on the left and combined with pretty much everyone around him. He saw his nice dipping shot saved by Kocic after an excellent 1-2 combination with Tyson Wahl. Neagle has also finished his runs with dangerous crosses in the box that had TFC's defense scrambling, a defense with some poor marking. That poor marking included leaving Shavar Thomas unmarked on a corner kick but he saw his header saved on the line.
Another good point to take note of is the Montreal Impact's ability to make easy buildups. Once again, the importance of a technical solid midfield led by Felipe Martins has been seen in this game. We saw a technical ease in which nice combinations are being generated that lead to a few scoring chances. The outside backs have been more involvded, especially Jeb Brovsky who enjoyed a good support from Davy Arnaud to help him out and excellent ball distribution by the team as a whole.
Montreal should have at least scored once....
And that could have happened with some more realism and luck. Bernardo Corradi ran a lot and did a lot of grunt work winning many balls ( 8 won headers and 4 layoffs) but no synchronization was to be found with Sanna Nyassi, at least not enough as they have been playing together for a few consecutive games. Corradi's precious winning aggressive attitude on every ball is important and will need to be taken advantage more often than not. He also shows excellent initiatives by spreading the ball wide to the wings and stretching out the other team's defense.
With Toronto FC's slow backline, the Montreal Impact generated a few dangerous chances that they know they should have capitalized on.After this, the Montreal Impact will now focus on their next game , on the road, against MLS giant Sporting Kansas City.
Toronto FC will host next Wednesday's return match at BMO Field.
The players point of view
Jesse Marsch's press conference
|Montreal Impact||Toronto FC|
|12||Attempts on Goal||1|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||0|
|15||Open Play Crosses||3|
|48%||Duels Won %||51%|
|81%||Passing Accuracy %||67%|