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Montreal 2 vs Columbus 1: Character, Grit and Determination

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'' We would have been in hell and back '' Jesse Marsch, Head Coach of the Montreal Impact

Jesse Marsch was talking about the team's current experience in a 3-game losing streak. It also gives context to where the team would be coming from when they start winning again. And they just did that. A 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Montreal Impact. This comeback win was witnessed by 15,118 fans at Stade Saputo, a good number for a Sunday night game. The attractiveness of the new ticket packages seemed to have picked up some momentum for the club.

This come back win couldn't' come at a better time when you look at the team's current form, opponent and context around the club. Breaking a 3-game losing streak brings some confidence to a team that has played much better than its record. The context was of big importance when playing a direct competitor for a playoff spot and with that win, the Impact hold 8th spot, a win away from 5th spot and the Houston Dynamo.

With the Philadelphia Union suddenly shadowing Montreal (4 pts away) , the next game for the Impact will continue to be in a sequence of cut-throat games in a Eastern Conference, much closer than predicted.

More Analysis, Quotes and Stats after the jump

Recap of the Game

Patrice Bernier scored an 89th-minute penalty and Zarek Valentin's first-ever MLS goal cancels out Milovan Milosevic's opener from a corner kick.

Club Time Player (Assisted by)
CLB 64' Milovan Mirosevic (Nemanja Vukovic)
MTL 78' Zarek Valentin (Sanna Nyassi, Marco Di Vaio)
MTL 89' Patrice Bernier


Defensive disicipline

One positive aspect that has gone unnoticed (at least for me) was the performance of the central defense since both Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas were out due to injury. Hassoun Camara and Shavar Thomas stepped up to the plate with a no non-sense approach with some interesting combined stats: 1 blocked shot, 4 interceptions, 10clearances, 10 recoveries.

Zarek Valentin and Jeb Brovsky are continuing to be solid with Valentin getting rewarded for being more offensive as he scores the tying goal. Brovsky is neither a natural outside back nor left-footed but has filled out the left back role very nicely. Not as offensive as you want the left side, Jesse Marsch still needs a defensive insurance back there and let's Justin Mapp take care of offense on that side.

Set-Piece defending continues to become an evident weakness for the team as a whole. This is a team weakness with individual faults that need to be corrected in practice. There is so much that practice could do but when it comes to set pieces, it comes to individual commitment and effort to mark your man at all times.

Offensive

Marco Di Vaio continued to play well as he seemed in great form, making runs behind the Crew defense. He was probably too fast and eager for his teammates as the run-passes synchronization was not at its best but adjustments were made in the 2nd half. In the post-game, Jesse Marsch mentioned that he asked Di Vaio to time his run better or at least tone it down to help out his midfield. The Italian striker started to make plays himself with a few key passes that put a lot of strain on Columbus.

Justin Mapp had the playmaker role and filled it out well. As much as he might be frustrating for some, he still brings added value to the team with some good technique and nice runs. He provoked the game winning goal on a nice combination with Di Vaio as he was pulled down in the box for a PK.

Patrice Bernier and Collen Warner had a bigger role with Felipe Martins and Davy Arnaud suspended for this game. Both combined smartly in defending and attacking with Bernier more present in the last third. Having Felipe and Arnaud back will just give a huge boost to the midfield especially with Di Vaio that will have a diverse choice to make plays.

This is a fun team to watch and I sincerely hope that fans come more and more to Stade Saputo and tune it to away games. This is a good product on the field and you can just feel a positive vibe around the team with the hard work of the squad paying dividends with a well-deserved 3 points.

Post-Game Quotes


Match Stats

Montreal Impact Columbus Crew
25 Attempts on Goal 9
5 Shots on Target 1
10 Shots off Target 7
10 Blocked Shots 1
4 Corner Kicks 6
8 Fouls 12
21 Open Play Crosses 10
2 Offsides 3
2 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
40 Duels Won 42
48% Duels Won % 51%
447 Total Pass 353
81% Passing Accuracy % 83%
55.3% Possession 44.7%

Highlights