TFC was on the pitch and GSP was at the bell on Saturday. Sadly, the 3 letter acronyms were not very nice to the Impact since they lost 2-0 to their bitter rivals, Toronto FC. Our Montreal Impact were dominated from start to finish by Michael Bradley and company. Saturday's carnage was led by TFC's star player: Sebastien Giovinco. The Atomic Ant scored in the 40th and 80th minutes.
The Impact's big 3: Ciman, Piatti and Drogba were not as good as TFC's 3 stars: Bradley, Giovinco and Altidore. The Impact's inability to crack Toronto's improved defence ultimately resulted in their third loss of the 2016 MLS season. This loss was hard to swallow for our team because it was the home opener at Stade Saputo. Saputo was at full capacity (21 801) and it was the 1st leg of the Two Solitudes derby. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for this week.
Marco Donadel: Our Italian finally recovered from the injury he suffered in the first week of play in Vancouver. The former Fiorentina man made his much anticipated start and his presence bolstered our holding midfield duo. For Saturday's duel against Toronto, Marco Donadel was paired with Eric Alexander.
Donadel was one of the few Impact players on the pitch who had a respectable performance on Saturday. Our great Italian showed his worth on set pieces in the 21st minute when off a free kick, he sent the ball towards the 2nd post where Didier Drogba was lurking. Our star striker sent the ball sailing just past the far post. Donadel led the Impact with tackles won at 4 but he also lost 2. As usual, he also fouled 3 times as well as intercepting the ball 4 times and recovering possession 5 times. Donadel had a decent performance but he can definitely have more of an impact on a game.
Performance Rating: 7/10
Victor Cabrera: After impressing many Impact fans with his performance in the first few weeks of the season, the Argentine's play has definitely taken a turn for the worse. Last week, Cabrera was partially to blame for Chicago's only goal of the match. This week, Cabrera's sloppy play cost the Impact once again. It was his mistimed tackle in the 38th that gave TFC the penalty and let Giovinco net his 1st goal of the game. Cabrera,the former River Plate man, is known for his risky and audacious tackles but his tackle on Jozy Altidore was not necessary. Altidore was on the outskirts of the area and was not in a great position to shoot. Cabrera's missed tackle transformed a moderately dangerous situation into a nearly sure goal. Cabrera needs to learn when and where to attempt his risky sliding tackles.
The Argentinian's next mistake came in the 79th minute of play when a routine ball was cleared into the Impact's half. Cabrera headed the ball straight to the feet of an incoming TFC player. That turnover eventually led to Giovinco being sprung free in front of Evan Bush's net. The Atomic Ant did not miss his chance. He buried his 2nd goal of the game and put the match out of reach from our Montreal Impact.
Performance Rating: 4/10
Attacking Four: In every single one of the Impact's 3 losses this season, we were held off the scorecard. On Saturday, TFC was playing a 4-4-2 diamond which means that they staked Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley in the middle of the park. This formation leaves room on the wings but clogs up the middle of the pitch. The Impact tried to run the ball straight up the middle of the pitch time and time again.
At the start of the match, we had Ignacio Piatti playing in the #10 position with Shipp playing as left midfield. After a stagnant attack in the first half, I would expect to see Biello put Piatti on the wing to exploit the gaps left there by TFC. Sadly, the Impact coaching staff decided to keep Harry Shipp on the wing. I am not sure this was the best tactical decision because Piatti would have been much more potent on the left. Also, we could have put Shipp back into the #10 role which is his natural position.
Oduro was not able to create any room on his right wing. With the holes on the wings and Oduro's blistering pace, he should have received a lot more crosses into space. In the 7th minute, Oduro had a beautiful run and played the ball into Didier's path. His ground level shot just narrowly missed to the right of TFC's net. I would have also liked to see the Ivorian's header in the 22nd minute force Clint Irwin to make a save. Drogba did not have his most impressive performance in a Bleu-Blanc-Noir jersey. The African superstar had 2 blocked shots, 3 missed shots and 1 one target.
Performance Rating: Harry Shipp: 5/10
Performance Rating: Ignacio Piatti 5.5/10
Performance Rating: Dominic Oduro 6.5/10
Performance Rating: Didier Drogba 6/10
It was sad to see the Impact put on such a disappointing performance in front of a sellout crowd of 21 801 at Stade Saputo. This was arguably the most talented starting 11 the Impact have put out this season. The only 2 notable absences were Lucas Ontivero and Donny Toia. The Impact's shortcomings were due in large part to our inability to modify our tactics in accordance to Toronto's game plan.
The Impact's next game will be one of the Impact's rare midweek games. On Wednesday, the Impact are heading to the iconic Yankee Stadium to face David Villa and the rest of the NYCFC squad. The pitch at Yankee Stadium is one of the smallest in the MLS so the Impact will need to adjust tactically to the pitch.
Well, those are my thumbs up and thumbs down for this week's underwhelming performance against Toronto. As you can see, I could only find 1 thumbs up this week if you have any ideas for a 2nd, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.