On Sunday, the Impact were looking to follow up on their 3-1 win over San Jose when they faced off versus Orlando City FC. This was not going to be an easy match as Orlando needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It was clear from the opening minutes that Orlando City was going to apply a lot of pressure in order to obtain the win they desperately needed.
The Impact were able to stay compact defensively and make the most of their opportunities on the counter. It was on one of those counter attacks that Dominic Oduro scored the only goal of the match to secure all three points for the Montreal Impact. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's 1-0 win over Orlando City FC.
Evan Bush: The Impact's keeper was once again rock solid. On a night when the Impact were facing the likes of Cyle Larin and Kaka, it was clear that Bush was going to have to step up big in order for the Impact to secure a win. That is exactly what he did. Bush made some incredible close range stops to deny Orlando. He was also confident in his handling of The Lion's numerous crosses.
In the 88th minute, Bush acrobatically deflected Larin's header over the bar to preserve the Impact's lead. Bush had another strong showing and gifted the Impact with a win for the 2nd game in a row. If the Impact make the playoffs, they can thank their keeper for two dominant performances that allowed them to make the post season. Performance Rating: 9.5/10
Kyle Fisher: Kyle Fisher was making his 2nd start of the MLS season to replace suspended Hassoun Camara. He did not face an easy task as the player lined up in front of him was non other than FIFA Balon d'Or winner Kaka. Even though Fisher did not entirely shut down the legendary Brazilian, I found that our American rookie exceeded expectations as he was able to slow down Kaka and break up a few of his dribbles. Performance Rating: 7.5/10
Laurent Ciman: Le Général has not been as perfect defensively of late as we have come to expect of the Belgian international. However, Ciman was once again dominant on Saturday. He was confident with his tackles as well as with his headers. He did not turn the ball over like we have seen him do all too frequently lately. Ciman has the stats to prove that he was impressive versus Orlando. He finished the match with 2 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 7 clearances. Performance Rating: 8/10
Final Minutes: Even though the Impact did not squander their lead in the dying minutes of Sunday's match, it came very close. Orlando was extremely menacing and our back line had to endure a constant onslaught of pressure from around the 75th minute on. The Impact had everyone behind the ball defending, but we were still not able to clear our lines. Our clearances either went straight to the feet of Orlando or we sent the ball out of bounds for an Orlando throw-in. Either way, Orlando retained possession and were able to keep on attacking.
The Impact were also extremely vulnerable along our flanks. We gave the Lions way too much time and space. They took advantage of that and fired in countless crosses that we scrambled to defend. All in all, we were lucky to escape Orlando's barrage of pressure without conceding. We will need to learn to defend more effectively as a unit if we are to have any hope of progressing in the playoffs. Performance Rating for Final 15 Minutes: 6/10
Despite the fact that the Impact were outplayed for the final 15 minutes of the match, this was still a huge victory for Montreal. These 3 points moved us from 6th place to 4th place in the eastern conference. The three points also gave us a five point cushion over 7th place New England Revolution in the playoff race. It is also important to highlight that this is our 2nd consecutive win. The last time we strung together two consecutive victories was all the way back in April. We will have the chance to see if the Impact can win three in a row when they face their bitter rivals Toronto FC in their final home game of the regular season. That will be held on October 16th at 3pm.
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