The Montreal Impact kicks-off its 2016 MLS with an impressive 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC place. Though conceding 2 goals is not necessarily a sign of a perfect performance, for a club that has struggled on the road since joining MLS, getting this important win was key for Mauro Biello's reign as the new boss behind the bench.
Three observations from the game.
The Toia-Ontivero train: Pas pire
Many had their doubts on the effectiveness of putting Donny Toia on the right to maximize Ambroise Oyongo's offensive role on the left side, his natural side. After a "shaky" start for the ex-Chivas USA left back, he quickly made the right back position his own and did quite well for a left-footed left-back playing on the right.
The benefits of putting Oyongo on the left seem to outweight the disadvantages of having Toia on the right.
Lucas Ontivero had a decent first half and showed some interesting things when trying to provoke on the right side. Had a good chemistry with Toia and if he stays off the injury list, he can only thrive in MLS. He should work on letting go of the ball more often. We already have Piatti as the Designated Ball Hogger.
Piatti: Silent Thunder
Drogba or no Drogba, the Montreal Impact need Ignacio Piatti to be one of the best offensive midfielders of the league. His name must always be on people's list when drafting a preliminary list for MVP of the year. That would mean that the Argentinean maestro is in his role as a provocateur on the left side, an anchor in the middle to add some tempo and a killer in the box (10+ goals is a minimum for him).
His performance against the Whitecaps showed his capacity to play the counter-attack and be part of a more composed style of play.
Aggressive (too?) back-line
Laurent Ciman and Victor Cabrera had another good performance as a strong and reliable CB duo. Yes, Vancouver scored 2 goals off set-pieces but the duo did a lot to defend against a very offensive-minded Whitecaps squad. But on a few times, they seemed to be caught by long balls that found Rivero a few times.
The tendency for the Impact back-line likes to push higher on the pitch is admirable and it might be too soon to point that out as a risky setup, on a permanent basis.
Overrall good showing by the backline.
- Evan Bush is excellent
- Eric Alexander: finally back at a familiar spot in the midfield. Did very well
- Dominic Oduro: For me, the 2015 CONCACAF MVP and one the most important pieces of the puzzle of the Impact since he joined the club. He will frustrating you by missing scoring chances but he brings much more than just being MLS' Usain Bolt. Just look at his soccer IQ on Piatti's third goal.
- Harry Shipp will thrive with the Montreal Impact if he keeps up his level of energy.
- What is your observation?