To be completely honest, I was not even planning to write this article when I saw the Impact down 4-0 versus a very weak Toronto FC squad. Hell, with the Impact down 4-0, I was not even planning on watching the 2nd leg of our semi-final. Scoring 4 goals against Toronto without conceding one would have been an extremely difficult feat. However, Didier Drogba once again spun a bit of magic and the Impact were able to salvage 2 goals in the dying minutes of the match with only 10 men. After 90 minutes of play, the final score was 4-2 in favor of TFC but at least this score line offers the Impact some hope in the 2nd leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-final. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's performance versus Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
Didier Drogba: With most of his teammates taking a 90 minute power nap around him, the Great Ivorian was still able to create magic. Late in the match, when the Impact were facing the daunting 4-0 score line, Drogba received a long ball from Eric Alexander. With a slightly heavy first touch, Didier pushed the ball into open space from where he let fly a perfectly placed cross into the path of Michael Salazar. The Belize native found his way behind TFC's back four and completed the play with a relatively easy header for his 1st goal in an Impact uniform.
But Drogba was not finished, in the 89th minute, the physical striker was dribbling in front of the red's back four when one of TFC's men touched the ball with his hand. That foul gave Drogba a free kick from around 24 yards out. Drogba buried it. The ball sailed up and over the wall before zipping pass the outstretched finger tips of Clint Irwin, inches to his right.
It is also worth mentioning that Drogba seemed to be trying to make up for the ground his teammates were not covering. The 38 year old was running, yes actually running, to put pressure on TFC and recover loose balls. Performance Rating: 8/10
Back Four: Whenever you let in 4 goals, a large part of the blame will have to fall onto your back four. I am very well aware that the Impact are lacking arguably their 3 best defenders in Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera and Donny Toia but even without those three, it is not acceptable to concede 4 times. Our back four on Wednesday night was composed of Kyle Fisher, Hassoun Camara, Wandrille Lefèvre and Jérémy Gagnon Laparé.
TFC's 1st goal started with a free kick near the half way line. |The ball was eventually played into the Impact's box towards Jonathan Osorio. Osorio should have been covered by Lefèvre on that play but the young Canadian failed to pick up his man and Osorio eventually slotted the ball into the back of Kronberg's net. TFC's 2nd goal was strangely similar.
Once again it started with a set play (throw in) after which Lefèvre failed to pick up Osorio and it ended the same way as the first goal when Osorio tapped the ball past the Impact's keeper. You guys get the picture: the Impact failed to pick men up in their box and TFC capitalized. The only difference with Toronto's final 2 goals, was that it was Hassoun Camara who failed to pick up his man. That unmarked man happened to be Jordan Hamilton on both occasions. Performance Rating:
Kyle Fisher: 6/10
Wandrille Lefèvre: 4/10
Hassoun Camara: 4/10
Jérémy Gagnon Laparé: 5.5/10
There is no other way to say it: that was a disappointing performance by the Montreal Impact. For a club who just beat stars like Giovanni dos Santos and Steven Gerrard, it is embarrassing to fall 4-2 to what was essentially TFC's B squad. Toronto was lacking some of their best players in league MVP Sebastian Giovinco, captain Michael Bradley, striker Jozy Altidore and Canadian international Will Johnson. On the other hand, the Impact dressed a very strong starting 11 given the players available. The Impact had the roster to win big in Toronto but instead, they lost big. Hopefully, the Impact will be able to mount a comeback next Wednesday June 8th at Saputo Stadium in order to make it to the Voyageurs Cup final.
Question of the Week:
When the summer transfer window opens on July 8th, would you like to see the Impact bring in a midfielder, a striker or stay with their current roster?