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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Impact play to draw vs RSL

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Impact traveled to Salt Lake City on Saturday and once again collected the single point for a draw. The Impact have pulled off quite a few of these draws lately and this might be considered another disappointing result by some. However, I am satisfied with this outcome even though the Impact conceded yet another late goal. Our Montreal Impact played a dominant and energetic first half and were rewarded by taking the early lead from the 3rd best team in the MLS’ Western conference. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact’s match versus Real Salt Lake.

Thumbs Up:

Victor Cabrera: The Impact’s Argentinian center back turned in an extremely impressive performance on Saturday. Cabrera was the more prominent of the Impact’s two center backs and that is a remarkable feat since his defensive partner is the general Laurent Ciman. Cabrera was in control defensively. He was always in the right place in order to break up RSL’s attacks. I must admit, since Cabrera was sitting on a yellow card from the 16th minute, I was worried about a few of his tackles. But, there was no need to worry, the 23 year old executed his defensive interventions perfectly.

Cabrera’s stats are proof of his overall performance. He recorded 6 tackles for only 1 lost, had 8 interceptions, just as many clearances and 4 recoveries. Cabrera also completed 14 out of 19 attempted passes. Performance Rating: 9/10

Evan Bush: The Impact’s keeper had a strong showing versus Real Salt Lake. The Ohio native has been critiqued lately for not being as solid as he can be but on Sunday, Bush was stellar. He was only forced to intervene three times but they were game savers. One of those three saves came late into stoppage time at the end of the 2nd half. RSL captain Kyle Beckerman fired a laser of a shot that was headed for the top left corner of Bush’s net. The Impact’s keeper acrobatically leaped after it and was just able to tip it out for a corner.

Also, we cannot lay blame on Evan Bush for not stopping the well taken penalty that equalized the score line. Performance Rating: 9/10

Thumbs Down:

Callum Mallace: I am putting Mallace’s name down here for one very simple reason: he committed a reckless foul that ultimately cost Montreal two elusive road points. The Scotsman needlessly challenged RSL’s Joao Plata from behind. He did not even come close to making contact with the ball. The 26 year old should know that just about all tackles from behind in the MLS are called as fouls and, as well, the intervention was not necessary since both Cabrera and Ciman were closing in on Plata. Mallace gave Salt Lake a penalty on a play that would have probably been blocked harmlessly by one of the center backs

Other than that ill-considered tackle, Mallace had a solid game defensively. Performance Rating: 5.5/10

Substitutions: Mauro Biello’s substitutions baffled me. Normally, Biello responds appropriately to the situation on the pitch (even though I find he sometimes waits a bit too long before using his subs). However I question some of the decisions he made on Saturday. First, Donny Toia the fullback was put on for Dominic Oduro the striker. This move forced Ambroise Oyongo to play as a winger, a position I have never seen him play and Michael Salazar to play as a striker. Then, Biello decided to pull Salazar for Lucas Ontivero. This move forced Ignacio Piatti to play as a striker even though he is much more comfortable and dominant as a left midfielder. Biello’s 3rd and final substitution was a straight swap: Harry Shipp for Patrice Bernier. Substitution Rating: 4.5/10

The Montreal Impact were able to manage a draw in the 1st game of their Western road trip. They now have a Wednesday game in Portland versus the Timbers. The Timbers play on artificial turf so do not expect to see Didier Drogba. However, this may be the occasion for us to see Impact newcomer Matteo Mancosu. I would also like to mention that Harry Shipp had an impressive outing playing as #10 and scored his 1st goal for the Impact. Could we see him secure this position moving forward?

Question of the Week:

Who would you like to see as the Impact’s #10 moving forward?