After watching the Impact put together some pretty impressive defensive performances since the beginning of the year, I was hopeful that they had put behind last year's tendency (and their loss at Pachuca) of blowing leads due to lackluster play and costly errors.
Sadly, After Saturday's 2-2 draw with Orlando, it looks like they are back to their old tricks.
I'm sure the twitter sphere will put the defensive collapse on the likes of Wandrille Lefébvre, but I won't have any of that. The goals, scored in the span of about three minutes, were due to a team wide melt down.
On both goals there was a marked lack of urgency by the Impact players to close down the Orlando attack, but the real or specific problem was that Montreal lost their shape defensively. Up 2-0, there should have been an emphasis made on staying compact on the pitch, but they were far from it. Instead of playing closer together and clogging up the middle, there was far too much space given centrally. The pass by Soumare to Donadel that led to the 2nd goal was a perfect example of this—there was no reason for the two players to be so far apart.
The lack of urgency was also noticeable in how little Reo-Coker tried to tackle Ribeiro before the second goal. This was a spot that needed a tackle or at least a professional foul, something that you expect from a veteran player.
Part of the blame has to be on Klopas in my opinion. The instant IMFC scored their second goal, there has to be a shout from the bench to collapse the middle (where Orlando's only real threat will come from) and attempt to stall what will surely be an oncoming assault from the visitors. Instead they played too loose when it mattered the most to stay solid, and they paid for it.
Offensively it was a decent enough performance, but I was left a bit disappointed by the lack of finish and willingness to shoot by Montréal on counter movements. Besides Piatti, no one else showed the confidence to go for goal.
That said, I was impressed on many occasions by the Impact's ability to carve out space in the final third, even throwing in the odd one-two. They weren't able to score on any of these plays but they nonetheless showed good quality on the ball that is encouraging.
Coach: Frank Klopas -- 6/10
As I said earlier, I think it was up to the coaching staff to have the team better prepared if they took the lead. It might be a bit harsh, but it just seems like Klopas doesn't seem to have his tactics right when leading a contest. Maybe its down to the team still lacking the composure required that comes with winning, but for me the coach needs to give his players a better plan of attack, in all situations.
K: Evan Kronberg - 6.5/10
Kronberg was okay in his first start of the season, at times very good, other times a bit shaky. Made a fantastic save on Kaka in the first half but also dropped a couple of balls that could have resulted in scoring chances. Was aggressive on aerials and overall was fairly steady.
CB: Wandrille Lefévre - 6/10
Besides being a bit at fault on the first goal and making an errand pass a few minutes later, I wasn't altogether disappointed by the Frenchman on the day. Got the job done when called upon to make a decisive tackle or header, and was more positive than not in moving the ball up the pitch.
CB: Bakary Soumare - 6/10
I wasn't entirely impressed by Soumare, especially considering how he'd looked in recent fixtures. I can only assume that he had less confidence playing with Lefébvre, but it was up to him to be the rock in central defence, and that wasn't really the case. Made an ill-advised long, slow pass that led to Orlando's second goal, and though he wasn't completely to blame, it kind of encompassed his overall performance. Not a bad game, just not as lock-down as we've come to be accustomed to.
LB: Donny Toia - 6/10
Toia wasn't his usually brilliant self, but still exhibited the work rate and quality that we've come to expect from him. Wasn't really put under an enormous amount of pressure down the flanks, but was effective when called upon.
RB: Victor Cabrera 6.5/10
Was the more confident looking of the defensive players for the Impact, especially when moving the ball up the pitch. Thought he created good chemistry with Oduro on the right side. Was slow reacting to a side-to-side ball that led to Orlando's first goal, however, and could have been more stuck-in defensively. Still, I thought he was a bright spot for the Impact on the day.
DM: Nigel Reo-Coker 6/10
An up and down day for the Englishman. I had no issue with his willingness and ability to move the offence forward, but he afforded the likes of Kaka and Ribeiro too much breathing room in the middle, and lacked the urgency needed when his team was at its most fragile.
DM: Marco Donadel - 6/10
Donadel started the game brightly and was effective for most of his 69 minutes on the pitch, but like Reo-Coker, failed to buckle down defensively in the time frame where Orlando had its best moments (27' to 42' minute). At least one of the two holding midfielders needed to show more firmness and solidity in the middle, and you'd expect that Donadel could have done more in that area.
LM/CM: Eric Alexander 6.5/10
A fairly decent outing for Alexander, though wasn't as active as Oduro on the right. Would have liked to have seen him go for goal on at least one occasion, but it might be out of his comfort zone. Seemed to be more at ease when he swapped his wing spot with Romero for a more central role. Seems more effective when he's pinging the ball around in the middle rather than making runs and taking players on down the wing.
CAM: Ignacio Piatti - 8/10
Once again I thought that Piatti was the best player on the pitch for the Impact. His goal from the penalty spot was a just reward for all the chances he created throughout the contest. Was a danger whenever he got the ball on the break, and his passes to his attack partners were almost always inch perfect.
RM: Dominic Oduro 7/10
Another nice performance from Oduro. He seems to have good cohesion with Cabrera down the right side, and was surprisingly good with his one-touch passing and creativity outside of the box. Still, He left me wanting on a few occasions, specifically in his attempts on goal. He has shown that he has the ability to get into good goal scoring areas with ease, but is lacking that killer instinct that is really missing on this team, overall.
Striker: Jack MacInerney - 7.5/10
Besides the goal, which was really something special, I thought Jack-Mac showed the kind of work ethic that his coach wants to see from him on a regular basis. Got into scoring areas on a number of occasions, and just looked more focused on the task at hand.
LW: Andrés Romero - 6/10
Came on for Donadel in the 69th minute. Was more effective than Alexander in creating havoc down the wing, but wasn't at the top of his game. Was lacking his usual cutting edge, and wasn't able to put in any useful crosses.
CM: Patrice Bernier - 6/10
Was better in his second outing of the year. I thought he was more livelier on the ball, and more implicated in offensive movements. Got off what looked like a really nice shot outside of the box at one point, but it hit Piatti in the head. Defensively, he was a willing participant, closing down well in front of his own area.
Striker: Romario Williams - 5/10
It wasn't a great first run-out for the Jamaican youngster. Looked like a player who was trying to do too much, which I suppose was to be expected. Seems to be a very aggressive player, but was a bit too out of control for my liking. Showed some nice skill in a couple of instances, but didn't do enough to really impress.
FC Montréal falls to defeat in first match, 2-0
Caught the second half of the FC Montréal home opener and unfortunately my only highlight of the game was listening to Olivier Brett, who's got a fantastic, radio-friendly voice. There was some nice movement by the home team in the offensive half, but the passing and finishing in the final third was pretty dreadful. Saw some nice skill on the ball from Fabio Morelli, and N'Diaye seems to have decent ability taking defenders on 1 v 1, but overall, their offense seemed nervous and lacked poise when it mattered most.