The Montreal Impact are finally back home after another road trip that took the team to Dallas then to DC, a road trip that could have easily yielded 6 points. With 1 point in the pocket, the Montreal Impact are back in town for 10 days as they get ready to host the Portland Timbers on April 28th at Stade Olympique.
After a disappointing and heart breaking loss against FC Dallas, the Impact recovered well mentally and physically against DC United, a team that made some changes in its lineup but still fielded a strong team with an offensive potential that could hurt if left un-marked.
When I say strong mentally, some (or many) might question this statement by pointing at the fact that the Montreal Impact lost the lead (again). But when looking at Maicon Santos' goal, we can see a mental breakdown the way the team defended but it was part of a series of individual mistakes and some luck or bad luck depending on your perspective
more after the jump...
Let's look at Maicon Santos' goal:
The pass from Kitchen to Maicon was simple, direct and crisp and you can see that Davy Arnaud did his job to pressure Kitchen who still was able to pass correctly. Maicon is holding off Matteo Ferrari, who recognizes quickly that his job is done and backs up to the box . Ferrari see Felipe Martins and Justin Mapp around Maicon and is confident that the situation will be taken care of. Justin Mapp starts to pressure Maicon but then stops as he sees Felipe going for the ball. Felipe slips, losses his footing and that frees up Maicon who has Felipe coming back and Collen Warner in front of him.
At this point, no one really got back close enough to prevent Maicon to shoot , which gave him enough space to take that shot. Was he given too much respect for what he can do as he also had the option to pass to Pontius who was making a run behind Shavar Thomas ? At the end, Donovan Ricketts seems to be completely taken by surprise and looked slow and sloppy on that '' weakish '' shot, a shot that should have been saved for a goalkeeper of his experience and caliber.
All these combinations of mistakes, of bad luck , circumstances and inches might all be bundled up and called mental mistakes, mental lapse from individuals, which accumulated in what seems to be a team breakdown. The good news is that these kind of situations can be worked on through practice, positioning and lots of video. Outside Maicon Santos coming to Montreal and re-enacting the whole situation, Jesse Marsch will probably include some video sessions (not sure if its Match Analysis yet ) but these type of constructive sessions can only help a team that is still in construction.
Young players stepping up their game
A positive story to these last game has been the incremental evolution of some young players especially Zarek Valentin and Lamar Neagle. Since a bad against game the New York Red Bulls, Valentin has been a much more reliable defender with better passing ( an average of 33.67 successful passes in the last 3 games) either on the ground or with good crosses.
Lamar Neagle is getting more and more confident in his game and it shows on a few runs he made that was concluded by a excellent one-touch cross for Bernardo Corradi's goal against DC United. A bit slowed up at the beginning as he was recovering from an injury, Neagle is stepping up his game and will only be better with time, labor and intensity.
There is a lot more to talk about but with the Montreal Impact having played their first 8 games, it's a good for Mount Royal Soccer to present a '' Quarterly Report '' on the 19th MLS franchise, your Montreal Impact.