Leaving it all on the field, the Impact proved to be a force to reckon with this weekend beating 10 man Timbers 4-1. Coming into the game this weekend the Montreal Impact players and coaching staff knew they needed to put up a strong performance and get a solid home win. Mauro Biello made changes to the lineup that may end up being a solid 11 for the remainder of the season. An early penalty in the 13th minute and red card to Portland midfielder Chara in the 18th minute may have helped the Impact outcome; but, their performance also left no questioning in the mind of the doubters.
The defense, for one of the first times this season, left Impact fans extremely happy; especially young defender Kyle Fisher. The 2016 first-round draft pick has been seizing his opportunity since Camara and Cabrera were sidelined due to injury. Fisher put up one of his more respectable performance with one goal and a few stitches. We are also seeing his relationship with partner Laurent Ciman develop which will likely help the defensive struggles the Impact have had since the beginning of the season. Oyongo also played an excellent game staying responsible defensively and seizing an opportunity offensively to seal the victory. Duvall has been doing his job since the beginning of the season doing what he asked no more, no less. This weekend he seems to have struggled, unable to finish the game and miscommunication between himself and Ciman led to the lone Timbers goal.
Moving onto the midfield, the Impact’s depth in this position was made very evident. Veteran players like Patrice Bernier and Marco Donadel had the highest pass accuracy (96.4% and 93.3% respectably). The trio of midfielders showed how experience in the midfield can make a team extremely strong. Moreover, Donadel and Bernier playing lower on the field allowed for Dzemaili to create with Piatti. Only into his second game, Dzemaili seems to have developed an undeniable relationship with Nacho. He showed his value and has been implicated in some way in most of the Impact goals over the past two gamesPiatti was an uncertain case for the match this weekend dealing with a minor injury, but that did not show on the field. With his brace, he became the leading goal-scorer of the Impact in regular-season games. He seemed to be the target that the Timbers could not contain and it cost a red card and two yellow cards to their team. Tabla was, like always, playing beyond his age. He created interesting opportunities and it is evident that he will only be more and more important to the starting 11. Lastly, Jackson-Hamel as a starter will likely be an ongoing debate for a while. He was not as impactful as prior games, but he still showed some good plays within the game. He will hopefully get other opportunities as a starter and I believe this is what will seal his fate as either a starter or super-sub.
This starting 11 showed a great balance between defense and offense. The controlling midfield and creativeness of players like Dzemaili, Piatti and Tabla was a great scene to watch. It is doubtful that this is the last that we see of this successful starting 11.