It was just one of those games that drives you crazy. The Impact dominated possession throughout the contest, but their finish in the final third was abysmal. Work rate and effort wasn't the problem. There was a lot of that. But when push came to shove, the Impact played like a team that lacked confidence.
I thought Alexander and Bernier in their respective holding roles were quite effective in the center of the pitch. They set the table for the attacking midfield trio to really push the ball into scoring areas, but that's where things fell apart in a big way.
My biggest concern was that the attacking trio of Piatti, Romero and Duka showed little confidence in their striker up front. Despite the fact that the Impact got themselves time and again into very good attacking areas outside of the box, there was rarely any serious initiative to get the ball to MacInerny, despite his attempts to make runs and attempt to work one-twos.
What we ended up seeing a lot of was stalled movements, where the ball would predominately end up out wide and more often than not come to nothing. Everything was very predictable, and this worked right into the hands of the Dynamo's game plan, which was to give up possession in lieu of counter attacks.
A great example of wasted possession that resulted in a Dynamo effective counter attack occurred near the end of the second half. Dilly Duka ran down the left flank in tons of space, and instead of delivering a ball into a semi-open MacInerny in the box, he waited too long with the ball and eventually was dispossessed easily. This led to a ball over the top to a wide- open Giles Barnes who ended up with a semi breakaway, and a clear cut scoring chance. He didn't score, but it foreshadowed the goals to come.
In a nutshell, IMFC's bad offense was at the root of Saturday night's lopsided defeat. Their lack of cohesion in the final third led to many big scoring chances by the Dynamo, and they rarely missed their opportunities.
On top of that, once again, set-piece trouble reared its ugly head for the Impact. Despite dominating in corners 10-1, the Impact gave the Dynamo little to worry about besides a Soumare boot high over the bar, and though the Dynamo barely had a sniff of the ball most of the first half, they capitalized on a dead ball situation, scoring on a free kick. Bernier had an excellent attempt on goal via a free kick in the second half, but lets face it, we haven't seen much of that so far this season.
A big problem that the Impact face going forward is proving to the rest of the league that they can trouble defenses in a variety of ways. You could tell from how the game played out that Houston were more than willing to give up possession and set pieces (corners+free kicks), because Montréal have shown very little quality in those situations. Houston played fast and loose, usually a very risky way of playing, but IMFC didn't punish them for it. This led to a number of counter attacks, and in my mind, rather easy opportunities for the Dynamo.
Coach: Frank Klopas - 5.5/10
I thought the lineup was chosen well enough, especially putting Alexander in at left DM instead of out wide was a good move. Was not too happy about Reo-Coker coming in as early as he did, though. I will give the coaching staff the benefit of the doubt that Bernier isn't ready to go deeper into the game, but I personally didn't see any drop in play on his part at the time of the substitution. This ended up backfiring as well because Reo-Coker seemed to be at least partially at fault for the Dynamo's second goal. Also thought they misjudged Cabrera's form in the second half, as he seemed to already be cramping and out of gas at around the 70' minute mark.
K: Evan Bush - 5/10
Considering that he didn't have a lot to do in the match, Bush wasn't at his best on Saturday. His goal kicks got him into trouble like they did last year, with the third goal coming off of a short, missed connection with his teammate on the right. On the second goal he was a little slow to react to Clark's run into the box, as he was focused solely on Barnes who was in an offside position and out of the play.
CB: Laurent Ciman - 7/10
I had no problem with the Belgian's performance on the day, he along with Toia were very good I thought. Timed his tackles well, and along with his defensive midfield partners ahead of him, moved the ball up field efficiently.
RB: Victor Cabrera - 5/10
Something that has become evident is that Cabrera can't keep pace for 90 minutes against faster clubs, or those whose main focus is speedy counter attacks. Got caught out of position on a number of occasions, and noticeably began cramping up just moments before the Dynamo's second goal.
As much as Camara's brain farts can be more deadly to a team's fortunes (like his red card earlier in the season), this should have been a logical start for the Frenchman at right back. It should also be noted that Cabrera lost his man on the Dynamo's first goal. It's been a good season for the Argentinian, but this was a low point.
LB: Donny Toia - 7.5/10
Unlike Cabrera, pace is a huge part of Toia's game, and it nearly paid dividends on two occasions. The American's touch let him down twice, but he showed excellent initiative in making those runs into the box, and defensively he was once again solid.
CB: Bakary Soumare - 5/10
This was not a great outing for the Mali-native. Was caught flat-footed on the second goal, and probably could have been more proactive on the opening goal, where he left the shorter, less experienced Cabrera to cover Barnes in the box. Maybe it was because Houston rarely touched the ball all game, but it just seemed to me that Soumare wasn't ready when the attacks did come.
DM: Patrice Bernier 7/10
The score may have been 3-0 but some Impact players, such as Bernier, put in a good shift for the club. Starting for the first time this year, I thought he looked excellent throughout most of the match, and I think was removed far too early considering his form. Alongside Alexander in defensive midfield, The Montrealer kept possession well, and pushed the ball up the pitch quickly and smartly. Also took the first dangerous free kick of the year for the Impact, which was a sight for sore eyes. He did a lot right on Saturday, and I will be a bit disappointed if he doesn't start the first leg of the CCL final.
DM: Eric Alexander - 7/10
I really liked what I saw from Alexander in a holding role on the pitch. He appears to have excellent instincts and a knack for knowing when to push the ball quickly or slowing it down; qualities you want to see in a box-to-box midfielder. His defensive awareness is also solid, and is able to make up ground when necessary with his pace. We may be deep at defensive midfield, but hopefully Klopas plays him as much as possible in this position for the rest of the year.
LM: Dilly Duka 5.5/10
Along with Piatti, I didn't love Duka's decision-making with the ball on Saturday. Despite being given plenty of room to operate, the creativity simply wasn't there, nor any real initiative to get his striker involved in attacking movements.
CAM: Ignacio Nacho Piatti - 5/10
For his standards, it was a sub-par effort from the Argentinian talisman. In a game that was begging for quality, Piatti played everything too safe, and didn't use his skill and confidence on the ball to really put pressure on the Dynamo backline. Like Duka, he time and again viewed MacInerny as a last option in the box, relying too heavily on 1 v 1 matchups or putting the ball out wide.
RM: Andrès Romero 6.5/10
I preferred his energy and work ethic to that of his attacking midfield partners, and probably did more good than bad offensively. Still, as the game went along his movements became too predictable down the flank (though of course this was a product of falling behind by 2, then 3 goals). He has a tendency of trying to do too much on his own, but was a positive up front in the loss.
Striker: Jack McInerney - 6/10
His lower rating is really more of product of not seeing much of the ball than anything else. I was pretty disappointed that his teammates didn't look for him more, especially since he's scored goals in back-to-back matches. The effort was there I thought, but it's hard to rate someone who barely touches the ball.
CM: Nigel Reo-Coker - 4/10
Came on for Bernier and proceeded to look as bad as he did last game. Seemed completely unconcerned with the buildup to Houston's second goal, that when it came time to make a challenge on the eventual goal scorer, he was a mile behind him. I don't know whether it's a lack of focus or what, but he's currently my last choice DM on the squad.
LW: Dominic Oduro - 5.5/10
Came in at the 67th minute but I barely noticed him coming on, and that didn't change much for the next 33 or so minutes. Did fire off a pretty decent effort near the end of the contest, but the game was all but over at the point.
RB: Hassoun Camara - 6.5/10
Came on late for Cabrera, and to be perfectly honest, it was about 15 minutes too late. Say what you want about the Frenchman, but he brought speed and confidence on the ball down the right flank that was severely lacking all game long. Klopas will need to do better scouting in the future before games, because this was a match that Camara could have been of good use. Cabrera and Camara both have their flaws, and it's now up to the coaching staff to decide which games fit their respective strengths.