The Montréal Impact came away with 3 points from two road games this past week, which in the grand scheme of things is not a bad haul at all. That said, the way they got those points is fairly unsettling, and doesn’t leave this blogger with a whole lot of confidence in the team.
Sure, it was incredible to watch Didier Drogba score his third free-kick goal of the season, and 9th overall. He literally and figuratively is carrying this team to the playoffs, which is not such a bad thing I suppose, because that is exactly what he was brought in to do.
Still, there seems to be a divide in how the players have reacted on the pitch to Drogba’s arrival. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it appears that as much as players like Duka, Reo-Coker, and Lefèvre seem to have embraced the Ivorian as the soccer demi-god that he clearly seems to be, others, sadly, aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid.
Ciman and Piatti need to get on board
It’s pretty simple: Our 2nd and 3rd best players on the team need to join the Drogba revolution. For whatever reason, neither has been at their best since "Drog Beast" joined the club.
Maybe it has something to do with them no longer being the top dogs on the team. It wouldn’t be the first time a player lost his focus on the pitch due to a dramatic personnel change.
For Piatti, it’s probably more an issue of having not played much in the past 2 months. Since August 19th, the Argentinian has only featured in 4 matches. From a mental standpoint, dealing with niggling injuries as well as the poor health of his father (he went home for over a week to be with his family) is always hard to bounce back from.
As for Ciman, I have a hard time finding any logical excuses for his drop in form of late. Since August 5th, the Belgian has received 3 red cards in just 8 games played. Sure, maybe he got unlucky with a couple of yellow cards, but overall, getting sent off that many times is just unacceptable, especially for a player of his importance.
Beyond the bookings, I find the defender has just overall been indecisive in his decision-making, especially when making tackles. I think it’s safe to say that we all took his grandiose, sliding tackles for granted early on in the year, and we just assumed that his success rate would be the rule rather than an aberration.
Though I still believe he’s often more successful than not, he attempts far too many do-or-die tackles, many of which are hardly necessary.
It’s my belief that Ciman has a bit of star complex, that he attempts the grandiose because he’s trying to put his imprint on the game. Normally I wouldn’t have any problem with this, but he’s been too inconsistent in his tackling of late for me to ignore the issue.
Going forward, Both Ciman and Piatti need to focus on simplifying their respective games. For Piatti I think he can be greatly helped in this simplification by being placed in a wide area. For a player that likes to dribble in and out of trouble, the middle of the pitch is not really an ideal place to do that.
Ciman just needs to calm down and let the game come to him. I think his current form is a carryover from the losing ways the team went through in August, where he felt like he had to dribble the ball up the pitch and make plays on his own. That is hardly necessary now, and it really should be his main focus to defend the box and deliver clean, precise passes to the midfield.
On to the next one
If the Montréal Impact believe that the win in Colorado was an effective way of recording three points on the road, they’re about 10% right and 90% wrong.
The fact that the team kept a clean sheet in this game was more down to luck, and bad finishing on Colorado’s part than anything else. In my estimation, you’re going to win 1 out of every 10 games playing the way they did.
As much as certain players such as Drogba, Bush, and Toia had standout games, the team itself did not play very well as a unit. The biggest issue for teams that concede possession (IMFC had just 34% possession vs. Colorado) is that it’s hard to get into a rhythm when you finally get the ball back. Some teams are good at being able to turn that rhythm on at any time. IMFC are not one of those teams.
Going into the game against New England this Saturday, I think it’s a perfect opportunity to attempt a more aggressive, possession-style type game on the road. What that entails is a lot of pressuring by the midfield and forwards to reacquire possession, especially on the opponent’s side of the pitch.
A player like Piatti struggles on the road because he doesn’t see enough of the ball. Of all the players on the squad, no one needs the ball more than Piatti, as he thrives off of dribbling and one-touch passing. Playing ultra-defensively does the Argentinian no favours. Seeing as though he’s such an integral player to the team’s success, I think it is necessary to change the team’s road style to better integrate him into the flow of the game.