The Impact were back in action on Saturday. They faced off versus the New York Red Bulls on the road and were hoping to keep on their winning ways. However, if the Impact were looking for their 2nd win in a row, they did not provide the necessary effort. After Ignacio Piatti opened the scoring in the 21st minute, the Red Bulls charged back. Bradley Wright-Phillips led the charge and picked apart the Impact's defense on two occasions. Over the course of 90 minutes the Impact were outplayed by a better prepared New York squad.
Even though the Impact's offense appeared dangerous on a few occasions, it was once again the defense that fell short. Our back four conceded three times on the way to a disappointing 3-1 loss. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's loss to the Red Bulls.
Callum Mallace: The Impact's Scottish midfielder has not received much love from the media so far this year but I will go out on a limb here and say that I found Mallace turned in an impressive 90 minutes during a poor match by the Impact.
Even though Mallace was lined up in a defensive position, I was happily surprised to see him willing to contribute to the Impact's attack. Mallace made a few well timed incursions into the Red Bulls' half. However, his offensive contributions did not hamper his defensive responsibilities as he completed the game with 4 recoveries, 2 interceptions and a tackle. The Scotsman's passing was also on the mark. He finished the match with only 2 unsuccessful passes compared to 20 successful passes. Performance Rating: 7.5/10
Victor Cabrera: The Impact's young Argentinian center back has been having trouble lately with most aspects of his game. I was hoping that Cabrera would bounce back from his recent struggles and once again prove that even at his young age he can be a dominant defender. Sadly, the only thing that Cabrera proved to us on Saturday was his inconsistency.
Cabrera was not able to cover the physical Wright-Phillips and that led to the Red Bull's star striker scoring twice. On the 1st occasion, Cabrera was caught on the wrong side and a step behind Wright-Phillips. Cabrera's error led to Wright-Phillips finding himself out alone against Evan Bush. As expected, Wright-Phillips buried it.
Later, Cabrera was once again 1 on 1 vs Wright-Phillips when an inch perfect cross was sent in by Sean Davis. Cabrera was unable to get his head on the cross and that permitted Wright-Phillips to flick the ball past Evan Bush.
On the Red Bulls' 3rd goal, it was Mike Grella whom Cabrera was not able to pick up. Grella was dribbling in the Impact's box and even though Cabrera stayed with him, he was not able to strip Grella of possession. Grella passed to Davis who buried his 2nd goal in as many matches.
Cabrera also struggled with his passing. The 23 year old only managed 8 successful compared to 6 unsuccessful passes. That means Cabrera finished the match with a disappointing 57% passing accuracy. Performance Rating: 3/10
Concentration: Even though I could single out more disappointing solo performances, I would like to highlight the Montreal Impact's lack of concentration.
After scoring a beautiful goal in the 21st minute, the Impact were ecstatic: they had just taken the early lead on the road! The Impact were still busy celebrating that goal when the Red Bulls scored one of their own as soon as the play restarted. That goal was not the result of any breathtaking solo effort or ingenious play. The Red Bulls simply moved the ball up the pitch with a series of precise passes. The final pass sent Wright-Philips out alone against Evan Bush. The Impact cannot concede such direct goals if they want to make a run into the playoffs this year. It is great that we scored first but we need to immediately regroup and be ready for whatever the opponent throws at us next.
Mauro Biello rallied his troops in the locker room and was hoping they would make a comeback in the 2nd half. However, the Impact seemed to suffer another lapse in concentration at the start of the final 45 minutes. In the opening seconds after play resumed, Mike Grella found himself dribbling deep in the Impact's box. The Impact were obviously not ready for this quick burst of pressure. Not only was no one able to impede Grella's dribbling but Sean Davis was completely forgotten by all members of IMFC at the top of the Impact's 18-yard box.
On two occasions, the Impact lacked focus after the play restarted and that cost them a pair of goals. The margin between a loss and a draw on Saturday was two goals. Team Performance Rating: 5/10
It was disappointing that the Impact were not able to hold on to the early lead. It was just as disappointing that the Impact conceded two cheap goals so quickly after play restarted. With the Impact's 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls, they now sit in 5th place in the eastern conference. The Impact will have another chance to climb in the standings next week when they face off versus the bottom dwelling Chicago Fire at Saputo Stadium.