The Impact’s season is now over so we have a few months to reflect upon the season that was and the performance our players turned in.
This is the first article of a series in which I will focus on a specific player’s performance throughout the season. I will start with our most dominant player from the 2016 MLS season, Ignacio Piatti.
We can all agree that Nacho had a stellar year; he was named our MVP, he finished 4th in the golden boot race and, even though he was not nominated as one of the three finalists, we can all presume Nacho was on the short list for league MVP.
Piatti started out very strong straight out of the gate. In his first game of 2016, he set the pace for the rest of the season. In that game, he scored what would eventually become IMFC’s prettiest goal of the season when he single handedly dribbled around Vancouver’s back line. This year, we saw Piatti at his full potential. In past seasons, Piatti has been burdened with either personal loss or was still in the process of adapting to the Impact and the MLS. In 2016, Piatti proved to the rest of the league that he is one of the best dribblers in MLS as well as a clinical finisher. He has learnt to play better with his teammates and distribute the ball rather than hold onto it for a bit too long. Excitingly, Piatti seems to have developed exceptional chemistry with Italian striker Matteo Mancosu. If Piatti stays around for another season, Mancosu and Piatti could form a lethal partnership up top.
For those of you who follow me and my thumbs up, thumbs down regularly on MRS, you will know that I have been grading players performances match by match since the third week of the season. I don’t give every player a rating every week but when a player has an impressive or bad performance, I give them a grade in accordance to their performance. If I create a graph with all the grades I have given to Piatti, this is what it looks like.
A quick look at the graph illustrates what we already know; that Piatti had one or two weak games early in the season but quickly turned up his play and had consistently impressive performances for the remainder of the 2016 regular season. Likewise, Nacho was even more dominant in the postseason. He led a deadly IMFC counter attack and racked up 5 goals and 2 assists during our five-game playoff run.
Piatti’s 2016 season was his most dominant yet in IMFC blue. However, his impressive track record has attracted interest in our Argentinian star. As of right now, Piatti’s home team club, San Lorenzo has expressed interest in repatriating Nacho and rumors have been circling with Piatti and Boca Juniors. Some suggest that the Argentinian giants might even be eyeing Piatti as a replacement to famed Carlos Tevez who is headed off to China. I hope we keep Piatti around for at least another year but we will see what happens in the coming weeks.