After suffering their most humiliating loss of the season at the hands of the worst team in the entire league, the Montreal Impact were desperately looking for a home win to get them back on a winning track. Mauro Biello did his part by changing the starting formation to 4-2-3-1 and by replacing a few faces in the starting 11.
Although the Impact continued their disappointing play in the 1st half, Biello definitely succeeded in rallying his troops at half time as the Impact stepped up their game and dominated for the final 45 minutes. Their hard work paid off as Hassoun Camara equalized the score in the 77th minute. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact's 1-1 draw versus DC United.
Hassoun Camara: The Impact's veteran defender has played most of this season as a fullback. In recent games, Camara has been struggling at this position but instead of benching the experienced defender, coach Biello made the gutsy decision to start him at center back.
It is clear that this move paid off. Camara developed a nice chemistry with his partner Laurent Ciman and maintained a stingy back line for most of the match. The pair was confident in cutting off their opponent's passes, they were able to cover for each other and made the necessary tackles to break DC's attacks.
Aside for his strong defensive play, Camara also contributed to the attack. He made his aerial presence felt when he rose above his coverage to convert a cross from Marco Donadel. Camara finally found a way past the masterful Bill Hamid in the 77th minute to level the score at one. Performance Rating: 8/10
Subs: To be totally honest, the Montreal Impact had a mediocre, verging on bad opening 45 minutes. DC United, with a bunch of help from the ref, were up 1-0 when they entered the locker room at the half. Mauro Biello looked up and down his 18 eligible players at half time and picked Dominic Oduro and Matteo Mancosu to right the ship. Freaky Fast made his appearance in the 61st minute for Johan Venegas. A few minutes later, we saw Matteo Mancosu take to the pitch for the rookie Michael Salazar.
From the moment that Oduro took to the pitch, we witnessed the birth of a new dimension to the Impact's attack. The Impact now had an option down the right flank that Salazar did not offer. Oduro's speed kept DC' defenders on their toes and opened up holes for the Impact's other forwards.
The addition of Mancosu to the Impact's attack forced Montreal to adopt a 4-4-2. I am not sure if it was the change of formation or the addition of the Serie B star, but the Impact became much more dangerous with the ball. Mancosu enabled better movement of the ball in the final third of the pitch and assisted the attack with some much needed hold up play.
Even though neither one of our subs scored or contributed to the score sheet, they allowed the Impact to unblock offensively for the 1st time in games. Performance Rating:
Dominic Oduro: 8/10
Matteo Mancosu: 7.5/10
1st Half: It was difficult to find a thumbs down because the Impact's play changed so drastically after the half. The only solution I had was to label the entire 1st half as one big "thumbs down".
I was hopeful that Mauro Biello would have made it perfectly clear to his players that playing like they did on Saturday was unacceptable and they would have to dramatically step up their play from the moment they took to the pitch versus DC United. Sadly, the opposite happened. IMFC continued to play as they had versus the Fire. The Impact were either unable to move the ball up the pitch or they attempted the long direct ball which often lacked precision.
As on Saturday versus the Fire, the Impact conceded first. However, this time the goal was the result of a questionable penalty but DC was up 1-0 nonetheless.
The only highlight for the Impact in the 1st half came in the 10th minute. The Impact had possession and Drogba dissected DC's defense with a superb pass that sent Ignacio Piatti out alone versus Bill Hamid who made a terrific diving save to preserve the score line at 0-0.
Luckily for the Impact, DC United did not capitalize on Montreal's lack lustre performance. Had they pushed harder, DC could easily have been up by two at the break and put the game out of reach for the Impact. 1st Half rating: 4.5/10
The Impact were hoping to break their losing streak at home versus a mediocre opponent but thanks to a disappointing 1st half, they were only able to manage a draw. The Impact now face the much more difficult task of snapping their winless streak at BMO field versus the red hot Toronto FC. To make matters worse, the Impact have always had trouble playing at BMO field. Let's all hope that the Impact jump to a great start on the road, that they score early and then dominate the hated TFC for 90 minutes on their way to an astonishing win. However unlikely that scenario, I still believe that if the Impact put in 90 minutes of constant effort and good play, they will have a chance versus their bitter rivals when they face-off vs Toronto on Saturday the 27th at 7:30pm.