What. A. Comeback.
In what began to look as a blow out victory for the New England Revolution in the first 30 minutes, complete with many Impact supporters leaving their seats and heading home, the Impact came back to complete a 3-2 victory, putting on a show for those loyal fans still in their seats.
Michael Salazar, the rookie secret weapon with the big hair, played a large role in the come back, scoring not only his first MLS goal, but the first brace of his career.
In fact, his energy provided from the right side of the field moving towards net, seemed to spark an Impact team, that at that time seemed to be more then willing to concede defeat without the spine of their team, that being Ciman, Donadel, and Drogba being present.
Thanks to his inspired play, and to Ignacio Piatti's conversion of a penalty, the Impact were able to come away with the victory.
Man of the Match: Michael Salazar
Michael Salazar made his first MLS Start. Michael Salazar scored his first MLS Goal.
In what was a dream start to his MLS Career, Michael Salazar provided the spark the Impact needed to ensure a victory,
In an attack that has become very direct and central due to the presence of Didier Drogba, Salazar provided an outside attacking option that seemed to work in the Impact's favor.
Rather then going through the middle, the Impact moved forward on the outside of the pitch through their fullbacks and wingers, and then swinging in crosses to goal. Many of these opportunities either came from plays Salazar created, or better yet on both of his goals, where he was a dominant physical presence in front of goal.
I for one hope that the coaching staff took notice and allow Salazar the opportunity to continue featuring in the starting XI.
Honorable Mention: Ambroise Oyongo
A little time to heal goes a long way, doesn't it.
Ever since Oyongo returned from a leg injury stemming from earlier in the season, he has failed to look anything like the promising talent he seemed to be last season.
That is until the last few games, and especially the game against New England.
Oyongo seemed to be much improved, in all aspects of the game, from tackling, to moving the ball, to the ever important offensive positioning and awareness. Oyongo finally looked like the player we saw last year, if not a little better.
Hopefully he Is now fully healed, and ready to continue giving these fantastic performances.
Most Surprising: Continued Struggles from Evan Bush
Evan Bush has featured in the "Most Disappointing Performance" section of this series many times throughout this season. Most of those times, I have chalked his performances up to "down" weeks, and that he will bounce back the next week. In some cases, he has bounced back and looked like the rock solid goaltender that many fans have come to expect.
However, in a stretch stemming from prior to the Amway Canadian Championships, Bush has seemed to lost a step between the posts. Outside of his strength in the air against New England, every facet of his game seemed weak, especially his kicks off of dead balls.
Now, I am likely being incredibly way too critical of Bush, but his performances have failed to live up to the incredibly high expectations Impact fans have for Evan "Savior" Bush.
Most Disappointing Performance: Ignacio Piatti
Rough game from Piatti today. Yes, he converted the penalty and drew many fouls, but outside of this and a few wonderful dribbles, Piatti was dreadful.
In what has become a bit too much of a pattern for my liking, Piatti does not trust anyone on the field not named Didier Drogba.
When Didier is sharing the pitch with Nacho, Piatti moves the ball precisely and efficiently. But when Didier is missing, as was the case against New England, Piatti had a tendency to hold on to the ball and make plays himself. This goes one of two ways, he is able to convert opportunities into goals, much like he did in the season opener against Vancouver, or he is stopped in embarrassing fashion, with many teammates left wide open.
Unfortunately, the ladder was the case against New England.
Piatti needs to learn to trust his teammates before, if this team is going to be a success moving forward, with and without Didier Drogba.
But that's just one man's opinion, let me know yours by leaving a comment below!
Man of the Match Awards - Thus Far
Laurent Ciman - 3
Ignacio Piatti - 3
Didier Drogba - 2
Lucas Ontivero - 2
Kyle Bekker - 1
Michael Salazar -1
N/A - 1
Victor Cabrera also looked very shaky trying to defend against Kei Kamara last night. When Ciman returns, I support a Ciman-Wandrille pairing
Beautiful day for Soccer out at Saputo Stadium. Love when the weather holds up.