The Impact hit their first bump on the long road that is the MLS season this Sunday in Dallas. The Montreal Impact fell 2-0 and were outplayed by the Dallas squad. FC Dallas suffered a 5-0 drumming last week in Houston and they were out for blood on Saturday. The Impacts chances were few and far between. For the first time this season, our Montreal Impact were outplayed for 90 minutes. It was a struggle to find a positive element to focus on this week. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for this week's performance versus FC Dallas.
Lucas Ontivero: The nimble Argentinian seemed to be the only player on the pitch Sunday with a heartbeat. Ontivero had the first chance of the game for the Impact in the 37th minute off a cross from Piatti. Later on, he tried his luck from a distance but his shot was deflected wide. Out of the 4 starting attacking players (Shipp, Piatti, Ontivero, Oduro) Ontivero was the only one who was able to escape from his defensive marking and create a few rare scoring opportunities.
Performance rating: Lucas Ontivero 7/10
Substitutions: Like last week, the subs (Drogba, Venegas and Jackson-Hamel) produced some offensive sparks. A few minutes after stepping onto the pitch in Dallas, our great Ivorian, Didier Drogba, sent a header flying to the left of the Dallas net. Sadly, the star striker could not produce the desperately needed goal. In the 85th minute, Venegas threaded between a few Dallas defenders before he suffered what looked like a clear foul just outside the box.
Instead of Drogba having a chance with a perfectly placed free kick, Dallas rushed down the pitch and sealed the outcome of the game with a second goal. Venegas was sent onto the pitch by Biello seconds before his opportunity. Finally, the third sub, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, received a back heel flick pass from Drogba and had the chance for a clear shot but his attempt was thwarted by Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Hassoun Camara: The entire right side of the Impact flank was extremely vulnerable to the FC Dallas attacks. The physical Dallas wingers were just about running over the 5'5'' Ontivero. Dallas quickly realized that they could exploit the defensive shortcomings on our right flank. Ultimately, the responsibility to protect the Impact's right flank rests on Hassoun Camara and he was not able hold off the Dallas attacks.
Of note, in the 77th minute of the game, Camara surpassed Felipe for the most minutes in a Bleu-Blanc-Noir jersey. The French fullback might have set a club record but his performance was less than convincing.
Performance rating: Hassoun Camara: 4/10
Holding midfielders: In their previous matches this season, the Impact stunned their opponents with dazzlingly quick counter attacks. In this form of play, the central defending midfielders play a key role. In this week's play, the Impact failed to produce a decent scoring chance and the easiest place to lay the blame is on Mallace's and Alexander's young shoulders.
Alexander did not disappoint but Mallace's play was not up to par. The 26 year old Scotsman struggled with his defensive responsibilities and could not fulfill his offensive role. The Impact lacked precision in their transition passes. This lack of precision nullified the Impact's efficient counter-attack. Hopefully, Donadel will return to play soon and solidify the link between defensive and offensive play hat the Impact needs.
Performance rating: Eric Alexander: 6/10 -- Callum Mallace: 4.5/10
Offensive four: One statistic says it all: 0 goals. In the first two games of the regular season, the Impact offensive four produced 6 goals and countless more chances. Versus Dallas, they scored no goals and had a grand total of 0 good chances (according to MLS). Piatti was absolutely smothered by the FC Dallas defence and it took me a good 10 minutes before I actually realized Shipp was on the pitch. Also, for the first time this season, Oduro seemed out of sync. His runs were not well coordinated with the passes of his attacking teammates.
Performance rating: Lucas Ontivero: 7/10 -- Ignacio Piatti: 5.5/10 -- Harry Shipp: 5/10 -- Dominic Oduro: 5.5/10
All in all, this week's performance was quite disappointing compared to the first few games of the season. The Impact need to learn from their mistakes versus Dallas in order to have a stronger performance versus Seattle. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, we will see players return from their injuries to bolster the starting 11.
No need to start panicking, 2-1-0 is still a very acceptable start to the 2016 MLS season and I am happy to announce that the Impact still reign supreme on top of the eastern conference standings.