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Montreal Impact: A roller coaster season comes to an end

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I think we have all had enough time to get the crying and mourning out of our system. The Montreal Impact came crashing out of the 2016 MLS playoffs with a heartbreaking loss to bitter rivals Toronto FC. After making an unexpected yet thrilling run to within a game of the MLS cup, the Impact’s old woes eventually caught up with them.

A week has gone by since the loss and given us some perspective so now we can have a sensible discussion about that infamous match, the playoffs and the 2016 MLS season, without complaining about factors out of our control such as say … the reffing?

On Wednesday, the Impact were once again defeated by a familiar enemy: not TFC, but set pieces. The Impact conceded a disappointing 3 goals directly from Toronto’s corner kicks. A combination of disorganized marking and lack of size allowed Toronto to rack up the goals. Also, the Impact’s old legs seemed to lose steam in overtime. We had trouble keeping up and that allowed Toronto to seal the series with 2 overtime goals.

Sadly, vulnerability on set pieces is not a new difficulty for the Impact. Since the very start of the season, the Montreal Impact have been extremely weak on set plays. Even though Mauro Biello emphasized the defence of set pieces during training sessions, we have only marginally improved. During the offseason, it is essential that the Impact sign a few physically imposing bodies to help with the defending of set plays.

After a season of numerous highs and lows, the Impact have left many of their loyal followers both puzzled and surprised. We did not take the easy road. We were either one of the hotter teams in the league or trying to snap a month long winless streak. However, the entire team rallied for one final memorable push into the post season. Mauro Biello finally found a consistent starting 11 and the Impact soared to unprecedented heights in terms of both popularity and success on the field.

I’m not sure about you, but I am very optimistic about next season. We have a solid core group of players who are expected to return and we seem to have found an impressive replacement for Didier Drogba in Matteo Mancosu. Excitingly, the Impact will have two designated player slots to fill for next season and hopefully this semi-final appearance has gained IMFC some international notoriety and we will be able to attract top level talents to further bolster what already looks to be a dominant roster for the 2017 season!

During the off-season, stay tuned to MRS for my analysis of the player’s overall performance during the 2016 season.

Thank-you for your views and comments during this long season and I look forward to hearing from all of you during the off-season.

I would also like to thank the Montreal Impact for an exciting 2016 season, and I hope that 2017 will be just as entertaining!