After being humiliated on the road by the New York City Red Bulls, the Impact were looking forward to an easy match at home versus the bottom dwelling Chicago Fire. Before Saturday's game, the Fire had only recorded 22 goals in 22 games and only 8 of those were away goals. The Fire had also not recorded a single victory on the road in over 2 years. Their last road win was in July of 2014. So, the Montreal Impact had many reasons to be optimistic about their match versus the Fire.
Despite everything seemingly in their favour, Montreal found a way to absolutely blow it! Our Montreal Impact, ranked 5th in the Eastern conference, gifted the Chicago fire with their 1st road win in over 2 years. After 90 disastrous and poorly organized minutes of football, the Montreal Impact retreated to the locker room with a humiliating 3-0 loss. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire.
Didier Drogba: It is always difficult to find a positive note when you lose 3-0 to the worst team in the league. However, I can say that the only member of IMFC who had an acceptable match was the great Didier Drogba. Drogba came close to opening the scoring early with a well taken knuckler of a free kick that forced the Fire's keeper to make a difficult diving save to his left.
Even though Drogba was well positioned for most of the game, the legendary Ivorian did not have many scoring opportunities for the simple reason that he did not receive enough quality service from his teammates. With a physical and aerial threat like Didier in the box, everyone must contribute to send in as many crosses as possible for the target man. Performance Rating: 6.5/10
Tactics: It would be very easy to just rattle off the 10 remaining Impact players in my thumbs down. However, I will limit myself to one all encompassing thumbs down: tactics.
The Impact entered the game with the Fire with a slightly experimental 4-3-3. We were playing with Matteo Mancosu on the right which is in itself puzzling as he is a natural striker and seems most comfortable playing up top. Even stranger was the fact that the Impact's three midfielders were ALL central defending midfielders. Had the Impact played their best, this formation might have worked. However, the Impact's performance on Saturday was less than stellar and having an experimental formation did not help the outcome. It is easy to blame the players for their performance, but we must also blame head coach Mauro Biello for the questionable tactical formation.
The result of the 4-3-3 with 3 defensive midfielders was an obvious lack of cohesion between the midfield and attacking 3. The Impact were not able move up the pitch with the ball as a unit since the 3 defending midfielders left a gaping hole in the middle of the park. Sadly, our direct play was also poor since the midfielders passing lacked precision. All in all, it seemed as if our front three were isolated on their own little deserted island in Chicago's half with very little aid being brought in. This isolation clearly left Drogba and his attacking teammates frustrated.
I believe Mauro Biello made another poor tactical decision when he assigned the aging Marco Donadel to cover the speedy and talented David Accam. Donadel is a good distributor of the ball on most nights and has the ability to break up attacks with his well timed interventions but he is by no means a fast player. On the other hand, the player he was supposed to be covering, David Accam is one of the fastest players in the MLS along with Dominic Oduro. Even if Donadel has the ability to thwart Accam's dribbles, Accam can run circles around our aging Italian midfielder.
It is clear that most if not all members of IMFC put on an astonishingly poor performance on Saturday. However, that poor performance was rendered even worse by quite a few highly questionable tactical decisions on the part of Mauro Biello and his staff.
Coaching Rating: 3.5/10
Team Performance Rating: 4/10
That was an absolutely depressing game on the part of our Montreal Impact. They did not play well as a unit and they played even worse as individuals. I truly hope that we can put this embarrassing loss behind us and return to our winning ways when the Impact face off versus D.C United during a rare midweek game this Wednesday at Stade Saputo.