The Montréal Impact went into this game flying high, so it was fairly surprising to see them come out so flat. The performance reminded me a bit of the first MLS game of the season versus DC United, where the team found themselves on a difficult pitch in poor conditions.
On Saturday night it appeared that IMFC were competing against two opponents: the weather and the Chicago Fire.
The game seemed lost early on, when Reo-Coker, who was slotted in at RB, was beaten easily down the right channel by the Fire winger Accam. The fact that Oyongo easily could have started in this spot, but was instead played on the left wing, was confusing and I think misguided. Reo-Coker was beaten many more times by the speedy Chicago winger, to the point where Oyongo was forced to move across the pitch to help out.
Meanwhile, the Impact offense had nothing going for itself. After moving the ball so efficiently in previous games, suddenly they were relying on a long-ball style that was anything but efficient.
While the Fire moved the ball around confidently, Montréal gave it away time and again, never able to find any kind of cohesion between midfielders and forwards.
Why Marco, Why?
Then of course, there’s the curious case of Marco Donadel, the player who must believe that getting yellow cards is part of his contract bonuses. It finally caught up to him on Saturday, as he picked up a second yellow in the 36th minute, leaving his team in the lurch. IMFC already looked like the lesser team on the day, so his sending off pretty much killed off the game.
Donadel will be suspended for the Vancouver game, and it now it will be up to Klopas to figure out how to use him in the future. The big question for the Impact head coach will be whether or not he can trust him on the pitch, sort of in the same vein as with Hassoun Camara, who also has a propensity for making ill-timed decisions in the tackle.
I for one am a fan of Donadel’s movement and tackling ability, and I feel he has proven to be solid corner and free kick taker for the club. Still, the way he performed in this past game left a lot to be desired. He was slow to react to the Chicago Fire’s movement, and he didn’t do enough to prevent easy balls through to their forwards.
Also, the tackles that resulted in yellow cards were both completely avoidable, and utterly unnecessary. For that alone he should be penalized by the coach, because to me, if you’re not getting a yellow to stop a scoring chance or at least a dangerous counterattack, you’re just being selfish.
On a personal note: Shame on you Marco Donadel. I’ve been going to bat for you for weeks now, and this is how you thank me? C’mon!
Wandrille, where art thou?
Elsewhere, I was pretty disappointed by Bakary Soumare, once again. He was completely to blame for the Fire’s first goal, where all he had to do was calmly boot the ball out of bounds or up the pitch. On the penalty, it’s a foolhardy play to go to ground in the box, especially if you miss the ball, which he did.
Also, for a guy who’s not especially mobile, he sure tries to do a lot of dribbling. Someone maybe needs to tell him that he’s not the second coming of Laurent Ciman.
If you’ve read my posts since the beginning of the year, you’ll know that I favor Wandrille Lefèvre to take over the reins at CB next to Ciman, or at least to see some more meaningful time on the pitch. He’s looked excellent in both of his starts this year, and deserves a real shot to prove himself in bigger games.
For me, personnel decisions have always been Frank Klopas’ biggest problem since he joined the Impact. Whether it be his love affair with Felipe in defensive midfield last year, or now his need to play Reo-Coker anywhere on the pitch barring injury, Klopas has a propensity to favor certain players with almost a complete disregard for actual quality on the pitch.
If the Impact want any chance of making the playoffs this year (and I still believe they can), he will have to swallow his pride and start benching players that are hurting the team, especially when other players waiting in the wings have shown their worth.
The loss to Chicago I can live with; nobody played especially well for the Impact, and even Ciman wasn’t at his best. I was happy to see Klopas take off his star players early with a midweek game coming against Vancouver.
Its up to the team to put this game behind them, and get back to playing the way they’ve proven they can.