Ok, another week without a win. It has started to become depressing to write these weekly articles. The Impact's most recent win came in Chicago. Remember that game, Piatti scored a beautiful late goal to clinch the 3 points. Since then, the Impact have lost 2 and tied 4 for a grand total of 6 games without a win.
This week, the Impact fell 2-1 to Orlando City. Piatti opened the scoring in the 3rd minute of the match, but much like last week versus the Union when Drogba scored in the 2nd minute, the Impact were unable to capitalize on their early lead. After a dominant first half, the Impact fell into disarray in the 2nd and forfeited any points they may have been able to bring back home. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's performance versus Orlando City Fc.
Lucas Ontivero and Johan Venegas: I was happily surprised to see Mauro Biello place Johan Venegas into the #10 role. The 27 year old has had trouble adjusting to his teammates and the MLS's style of play and all that was aggravated by the fact that he was always playing winger. Many have pointed out that Venegas has impressive technical abilities yet lacks the pace required to play out wide. However, he seemed quite comfortable playing right behind Oduro as playmaker.
On the first goal of the match, it is important to remember that is was Venegas' beautiful flick on pass that allowed the play to continue. After receiving the pass from the Costa Rican international, Ontivero cleverly played the ball onto Piatti who opened the scoring in the 3rd minute of play.
Over the course of 90 minutes, Venegas attempted 3 shots including 2 that hit the target. Ontivero tried his luck once but did not hit the target. From his wing, Ontivero only missed 3 of his passes compared to Venegas who missed 15 passes but it is worth noting that the Costa Rican attempted quite a few more passes than his Argentinian teammate.
Lucas Ontivero 7.5/10
Johan Venegas 8.0/10
Second Half: After a very solid first, the Impact suffered a Chernobyl level catastrophe. I believe our nuclear meltdown all started on the extremely questionable foul that Wandrille Lefèvre supposedly committed on Cyle Larin. I will not dwell on the questionable officiating. Larin's goal in the 42nd minute equalized the score line.
During the final 45 minutes of play, the Impact only managed 4 shots on target. Orlando also only had 4 shots but, all importantly, one of them nestled itself into the back of Bush's net. Considering the Impact's dismal 2nd half, they were lucky to be down by only one goal at the end of the match.
The meltdown was well under way in the 51st minute when Kaka whipped a corner towards the back post that Brek Shea should have buried. In the 54th minute, it seemed like most of the Impact players on the field simultaneously suffered a severe brain cramp. Humiliation was only avoided because Larin's shot bounced off the goal line and harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Orlando had many chances to take the lead in the 80th minute before Larin finally capitalized. On the play that led to that goal, Kaka played a 1-2 with Julio Baptista. Even though the play was well executed, the Impact should have covered Kaka much more closely. It's not like he is the highest paid player in the entire league, oh wait, he is. On the same play Maxim Tissot failed to properly cover Larin but it's not like Larin is the reigning MLS rookie of the year, oh wait, he is. The Impact were extremely lucky to only concede 1 goal in the 2nd half meltdown.
The only up side of the Impact's 2nd half play was Oduro's offensive performance. Freaky Fast managed 2 shots on target in that embarrassing 2nd half. In the 53rd minute he received a nicely placed ball from Bekker and he managed a decent shot from where he was placed. Later, in the 77th minute Oduro was sprung free by Venegas but the speedy Ghanaian did not have much of a chance to bury his opportunity since Orlando's keeper advanced towards Oduro and had all the angles covered.
Performance Rating: Team (2nd half): 4.5/10
That was a painful match to watch. On the bright side, the Impact have probably got all their draws out of their system and can now hopefully get back to their winning ways. However, the Impact are facing MLS juggernauts in the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy have only lost once this season (to Colorado).
The Impact will be missing both Laurent Ciman and Ambroise Oyongo to international duty as well as Donny Toia to injury for the match against the Galaxy. On their side, LA will be without Gyasi Zardes (USA) and Robbie Keane (Ireland) due to their respective international responsibilities. But the Galaxy will still have plenty of star power left with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos, Nigel de Jong and Ashley Cole in their lineup.