The Montreal Impact played their season opener on Saturday versus the Seattle Sounders at the Olympic Stadium in front of nearly 35,000 spectators. The Impact showed an important improvement from last week’s performance against the Quakes. The Bleu-Blanc-Noir seemed alert this week and the accuracy of their crosses drastically improved from last week. In fact, last week we connected on 17% of our crosses while this week we connected on over 70%.
Our improved play allowed us to grab a 2-0 lead but then we slowed down in the final minutes of the match and that allowed the Sounders to equalize the score at two. On the bright side, the Impact proved they can go toe to toe with the defending MLS champions. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Impact’s week 2 match versus the Seattle Sounders.
Ignacio Piatti: After an un-Nacho like performance last week, Piatti was back to his old self versus the Sounders. Piatti was not afraid to take on defenders. In fact, the Argentine had an outstanding 6 successful dribbles to only one unsuccessful one. Those dribbling skills were put on full display in the lead up to his goal. Nacho recovered possession in the middle of the pitch and weaved around Seattle’s defenders before scoring one of the week’s most beautiful goals. However, on a few occasions, I believe Piatti was too keen to take on the defenders, it would have been more profitable for the team had he decided to move the ball towards one of his teammates.
Our Argentinian maestro also showed off his passing capabilities with a perfectly weighted through ball towards Italian striker Matteo Mancosu. That pass permitted Mancosu to step around Stefan Frei and lodge the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal.
Performance Rating: 8.5/10
Left side of defence: When I say “Left side of defence”, I am talking about Ambroise Oyongo and Laurent Ciman. On Saturday, those two made up a formidable pairing and shut down numerous Seattle attacks. Ciman was physical and his interventions were neat, timely and necessary. On the down side, Ciman struggled to keep up with the freakishly fast and elusive Jordan Morris. Other than that, Ciman’s play was exemplary. Likewise, Oyongo had a solid match. He quickly closed down Seattle’s forwards and forced them to either send in a rushed cross or be dispossessed. He was also present in our box with timely interventions.
Laurent Ciman: 7.5/10
Ambroise Oyongo: 8/10
Final Minutes: Up until the 80th minute, the Impact were dominant. We were closing down the ball carrier and putting pressure on the Sounders. However, in the final fifteen minutes, the Impact’s intensity dropped significantly. We stopped pressuring Seattle and we let them waltz right into our eighteen yard box unchallenged. Instead of closing down the ball carrier, the Impact watched Seattle play. Instead of being aggressive, IMFC backed up. This allowed Seattle to score two goals in the final minutes of the match.
Timing: This is not a major issue, but I believe it needs to be addressed: timing. On occasion, the Impact players did not seem to be on the same wave length. Either the pass was not timed with the run, or the pass was made while the player was looking the other way. This was more apparent when the likes of Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla and Adrian Arregui were on the pitch. Hopefully the newcomers will quickly fit in.
The Impact will be disappointed with this result. They will feel that they had this game in the bag and they let it slip between their fingers in the dying minutes. The Impact will need to work on their closing before they face-off against the red hot NYCFC. Our defence will need to be on red alert if they are to have any chance of stopping David Villa. Likewise, our press will need to be up to par, if not, Andreas Pirlo will pick our lines apart. Let’s hope that the Impact will be ready and we will leave Yankee Stadium with our first win of the season.
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