As the Montreal Impact is making a final push towards the MLS playoffs, the 2012 expansion club had to play without Ignacio Piatti since the 3-0 win against the New England Revolution. By his father's side in Argentina, Nacho will also be missing the bout against Orlando City SC where Montreal will start a 4-game road trip.
As any good employer, the Impact is giving the time that its star player needs to be his family.
On the field, Calum Mallace's injury against New England gave way to the eventual return of the captain to the pitch. His impact is instant as he intercepts a ball in the midfield and delicately drops the perfect pass to Andres Romero whose run and finishing touch is as beautiful as the pass he received.
Against D.C. United, Bernier had the #10 role in a triangle composed of himself, Nigel Reo-Coker and Marco Donadel. For the first time this season, the Impact has on its starting lineup the most experienced and accomplished central midfielders playing together. With pre-defined roles, the chemistry was not perfect but interesting as Donadel continued to play right in front of the back-line. Reo-Coker, the prototypical box-to-box midfielder, was bringing in more pace on both ends of the pitch.
Bernier had the role to quickly and swiftly make the link between the defense and the forwards that were eager to make runs, create chances and hopefully score goals. Having Didier Drogba as your striker helps and the whole team, including Bernier, is fully utilizing the Ivorian super star. The King Didier is also making sure to make the whole team by his presence, work ethic on the pitch and the pure talent he brings to the table.
Looking back at Bernier's pass distribution, courtesy of MLSSoccer.com, it does not contain as many forward passes as you might expect from a player that has stated many times that he enjoys playing a more offensive role. But after leading 1-0 at the 4th minute, a team does not have as much pressure to open it up right away.
But looking back at the game, Bernier brought more calm in the ball distribution and we observed a logical and efficient link between a back-line that wants to get the ball out as quickly as possible and an offensive squad that wants to accelerate the play to destabilize the opponent with different options in hand.
Within the newly-formed triangle in the middle of the park, that holds 1000+ professional games, Bernier's role is quite clear as Biello needs to compensate Piatti's absence while keeping a dense midfield. The relationships on the on the pitch make sense, the winning streak confirms the staff's choices and the Drogba effect adds more weight to the club's decision on how to be setup on the pitch.