Coach: Frank Klopas/Mauro Biello – 8/10
Early on in the contest, the TSN touchline reporter mentioned that Biello and Ciman were hollering at Piatti to move the ball quicker and not hang on to it too long, and it clearly sunk in. it makes me wonder if maybe Biello is a better in-game tactician than Klopas, but it’s impossible to really know for sure. What’s important is that Piatti listened, as his more unselfish play started to really open up the game for the team. I need to give Klopas some credit though, because this is clearly the way he wants his team to play.
K: Evan Bush – 7.5/10
This is the way I want to see Bush command a game from the back. Again, it began in the first half when Ciman points to where he wants Bush to pass the ball and he does it, delivering a ball onto the boot of Miller on the left flank. It seems like a simple play, but it’s something that Bush has really struggled with all year long. For the rest of the game he was finding his teammates with throws and short passes, and even started a counter that led to the Impact’s 4th goal. He also made a really good save at the end of the 1st half that he had to parry aside through traffic.
CB: Laurent Ciman – 8.5/10
What an all-round fantastic game from Ciman. Besides scoring the game’s first goal off of a rare header on a set piece, he really put his stamp on the contest by being the leader in the back. Whether it was by giving instructions to his teammates or leading by example with a strong defensive play, he was easily one of the best players on the pitch.
CB: Bakary Soumare – 7/10
Soumare put in a solid performance in central defence, even if at times he tried to do a little too much with the ball. Made some key clearances in the box on RSL set pieces, and overall just made the plays he had to make.
LB: Eric Miller – 7.5/10
I’ve been really impressed by how Miller has grown in confidence since the beginning of the year. After starting the season a bit shaky on D and generally too hesitant to take any risks moving up the pitch offensively, he now is above average in both areas. He was dangerous as an option down the left flank, making himself available with good movement, and showed good endurance by tracking back and making good challenges and clearances in the defensive third.
RB: – Nigel Reo-Coker 7/10
I liked what I saw from Reo-Coker on Saturday, and it was mostly down to how he used his experience and guile to make plays. On a few occasions he was able to draw fouls in tricky spots in his own half by protecting the ball with good body position. He also did away with his old habit of holding on to the ball too long, maybe because, like Piatti, he now has more trust in his teammates to get the job done.
DM: Marco Donadel 8/10
I agree with most people that this was Donadel’s best game of the year. I don’t agree that this was by far his best game of the year, though, because to me he has been playing with this kind of skill and aggressiveness for most of the season. That said, things definitely worked a bit better for him today, with Ciman connecting with his well-placed corner, and his attacking teammates doing more with his well-timed interceptions that led to good counter attacks.
DM: Calum Mallace – 7.5/10
Besides being his usual steady self in around his team’s box, Mallace showed really good composure moving forward with the ball, and was finding his teammates in space quicker than usual. He, like the rest of the midfield, was just playing with that extra bit of confidence to push the play rather than stifle it.
LM: Dilly Duka 8/10
Another in long line of excellent performances on Saturday, he did really well on the left flank, using his soft feet and trickery to open up a ton of space for himself and his teammates. I loved how he sprinted down the pitch to be in a good spot for MacInernry’s low shot/cross on his goal. Overall, just a fantastic effort from the American midfielder.
CAM: Ignacio Nacho Piatti – 8.5/10
Piatti was the straw that stirred the drink against RSL. Created a ton of chances for his team by making the right reads in the offensive half, whether it be with a simple lay off and run, or a timely lob into the box. Hopefully this can be a game he will look at as proof that his teammates have what it takes to score goals, and he will continue to trust in their abilities.
RM: Andrés Romero – 8.5/10
All-star performance by Romero. Was all over the pitch making plays on both sides of the ball. Did a wonderful job of playing off of his teammates to create space for himself, and worked really hard to regain possession for his team. Both his goals were down to effort and perseverance, things we’ve come to expect now from the Argentinian.
Striker: Dominic Oduro 8/10
Kind of like Donadel, Oduro looked even better than usual because of how well the midfield was playing. Got on the end of some excellently weighted passes into the box, and nearly scored on a few occasions. Was able to draw a penalty on one such occasion, and his flick-on in the box led to the Impact’s 3rd goal.
Subs: Jack McInerney, Eric Alexander, Patrice Bernier
McInerney came on for the injured Dominic Oduro and really fit in nicely. To me, he is a big reason why Piatti is starting to be more of a playmaker, because he is looking to pick out Piatti all the time. As a result, Piatti now tends to want to return the favor, and there is a chemistry that is building between them. Alexander did well enough in Romero’s stead, and even created the team’s 4th goal by slipping the ball neatly through to McInerney before his low shot got nodded home by Duka. Bernier wasn’t as active as Donadel in midfield, but was a willing defender in and around the box for the last 15 minutes.