The Montreal Impact finally secured all three points. It has been a long while in the making but on Wednesday the Impact put together a strong enough performance to beat the San Jose Earthquakes. The Impact came out strong, pressured their opponent and took the early lead thanks to Dominic Oduro. After that goal, the Impact did not rest on their laurels but continued to pile on the pressure.
That pressure paid off when the Impact netted their 2nd goal of the match and Piatti's 15th of the season. I was thrilled to see the Impact play dominant football in the 1st half. However, the Impact sat back in the 2nd half and San Jose scored to come within a goal of equalizing the score. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's 3-1 win over the Quakes.
Evan Bush: The Montreal Impact's keeper may have let in a slightly soft goal in the 60th minute but I believe he also saved not just the game but the Impact's season when he stopped Chris Wondolowski's penalty in the 86th minute. That save kept the score at 2-1 and the fans at Saputo roared their approval. Bush made a few other key saves to keep the Impact ahead in this must win match versus San Jose. Performance Rating: 7/10
Ignacio Piatti: Piatti needed to step up his game on Wednesday if the Impact hoped to win and that is exactly what he did. Nacho was an offensive threat all night and he scored the Impact's 2nd goal in the 32nd minute. Piatti patrolled the midfield anticipating the opponent's play and putting pressure on the ball carrier in order to create turnovers. In fact, Piatti managed an impressive 9 recoveries. One of those recoveries led directly to the Impact's 2nd goal. On the down side, Piatti often attempted dribbles in his own half but was not always successful. He was often dispossessed and turned over possession in his own half. Performance Rating: 8/10
Matteo Mancosu: Mauro Biello made the bold decision to start Matteo Mancosu over Didier Drogba. Mancosu had another strong game marauding around the Quakes' back line and playing off the shoulder of their defenders. His effort was rewarded as he assisted Piatti on his goal and set up Oduro's goal. Our Italian striker was once again impressive. Performance Rating: 8.5/10
Didier Drogba: We have been disappointed by Drogba's performances of late. He has not seemed to be motivated or have enough energy. However, on Wednesday, we saw the Drogba of last year. Drogba was energetic and instrumental to the Impact's attack from the moment he entered the match in the 70th minute. Instead of selfishly keeping the ball and attempting the shot, Drogba kept his head up and tried to feed his teammates. In fact, Drogba was awarded an assist on Venegas' late goal. Performance Rating: 7.5/10
System of Play in 2nd Half: The Impact were obviously thrilled to retreat to the locker room with a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes. However, the Impact did not keep up their impressive play in the 2nd half. Instead, they relaxed and decided to sit on their lead. They let San Jose pick apart our back line and send in wave after wave of pressure into the Impact's half.
The Impact's decision to sit back permitted San Jose to score in the 60th minute but even that goal did not wake up the Impact. Luckily, Bush was there to preserve the Impact's lead with a few key saves. It was only after Bush's save on the penalty that the Impact finally seemed to snap out of their daze. They started to take the play to San Jose and were able to score in stoppage time to seal this critical win and keep their playoff hopes alive. 2nd Half Rating: 6/10
A win is a win even if we played poorly in the 2nd half but if the Impact want to string together a few more victories, they will need to play consistently like they did in the 1st half. We will have the opportunity to see how the Impact will follow up on this victory when our Montreal Impact face off versus Orlando City Fc in Florida on Sunday.
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