You wouldn't believe a 3-1 loss at home when you see the quality shown by the Montreal Impact vs Sporting Kansas City. The scenario even looked better with Sporting Kansas City trailing early in the second half. Two penalty calls later and a deflected strike by Jacob Peterson saw the visiting team take all 3 points at Stade Saputo and getting their '' revenge '' on the Montreal Impact.
Marco Di Vaio played his best game with the Impact and it is unfortunate that the finishing did not follow as the team could have had a 2-0 lead (conservative comment) at the break. The logic of the game did prevail when Patrice Bernier gave the Impact the lead. Felipe Martins got free on the right side going after an excellent through pass by Zarek Valentin. The Brazilian midfielder, trying to find Di Vaio in the box, saw his pass deflected just outside the 18-yard box to find a sprinting Bernier who finishes the play with a nice right-footed strike.
After that, 2 penalty calls for a Bernier handball in the box and a Davy Arnaud foul on Soony Saad killed the game and the spirit of the team. A bigger killer is the suspension of Felipe Martins and Davy Arnaud for the next game vs the Columbus Crew for yellow cards accumulation.
There are a lot of positive things to take from this game but for how long can a team learn and get better without winning?
Analysis and quotes after the jump
Marco Di Vaio: close but no cigars
The Italian striker seemed to have synced with the team and vice versa with a very active first half that saw the Impact create 4 clear scoring chances.
Di Vaio Keys to the game in Pre-Game
- Not confront the physical strong central defenders all the time and go for runs behind them and play with them their ''offside trap'' game.
- Make himself available at all times to get the ball from his teammates quickly, keeping the ball smartly while giving time and space to the midfielders (for e.g) to join him and build an attack.
- Look for midfielders to go into the box (Felipe and Arnaud, maybe Bernier) to be play that 2nd striker role either next to Di Vaio or to receive a pass from Di Vaio.
Marco Di Vaio never really went to physically confront the physical Aurelien Collin and used his quick feet and passing combination with Justin Mapp and Felipe Martins to get rid of the man-marking on him :the ball is faster than the man. This is was very refreshing to see the Impact's Designated Player impose his presence and rhythm to the game and quickly instilling doubt on the opposite defense. The 4-2-3-1 adopted by Jesse Marsch ,over a month go, was custom made for Di Vaio as he was enjoying the freedom of the lone striker, without being stranded with the constant support of Arnaud,Bernier,Felipe and Mapp.
The focus shouldn't be just around Di Vaio but he was the focal point of the team marketing and soccer wise. The central defense took care of business and were not challenged a lot. The midfield did what they had to do to get the ball out quickly to put pressure on KC. The lack of finishing has hurt the team as a 2-0 lead would have been deserved and important to finish off Sporting Kansas City early and efficiently.
It was Sorin Stoica's 3rd MLS game and it probably was his most eventful game. Both calls can be argued as being the wrong calls but Bernier's handball was too obvious not to call. The issue from the first penalty call was not the actual call but how long it took for the call to be made. The referee was walking away from the box until he turned back and called the PK. We assume that his ear bud was buzzing from his assistant confirming a handball but the whole turn of event was off-putting.
The foul called on Davy Arnaud was not far fetched but the captain of the Montreal Impact said it himself when he insisted that all battles in the box be called the same way to give consistency to the calls.
It doesn't make sense that a MLS caliber team has a NASL/USL crowd even in a mid-week game. This crowd or lack there-of is starting to seriously bother me as I am more and more concerned. Marco Di Vaio should attract 15,000 by himself (no scientific formula used here at all) just for his name and aura around that player. Are we going to see 15,000 for Alessandro Nesta, one of the best Italian central defenders in Italian soccer ?
From embedding theMLS culture at a young age to massive marketing, a few factors will help the Montreal Impact improve it attendance numbers. Still the biggest challenge will come from Montrealers going from only talking soccer (European Leagues) to talking MLS.
to be continued...