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Defensive woes keep plaguing Montreal

Montreal needs to be better defensively

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Impact versus Vancouver Whitecaps game was an emotional roller coaster from Montreal fans point of view.

In 90 minutes they witnessed the injury of Mancosu, Jackson-Hamel having another chance at stardom, the intensity displayed by the team in the first half, the Impact finally scoring first before blowing it all up by playing poor defense, Jackson-Hamel also leaving the field before the reporters informing that it was just for cramps but nothing major.

Then the update on Mancosu’s injury came in and things got real quickly. The attacker is sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks because of a thigh tear. That’s adding to a list of injured players consisting of the defender Cabrera, midfielder Andres Romero and midfielder Shamit Shome.

To replace them, Mauro Biello has had to mix up the lineup a couple of times and that can be one of the main reasons for such a lackluster defense: mixing up the lineup too often could mean less effective communication. We saw an example of that with the Whitecaps second goals against Impact. When Techera managed to slip through the defense, Montreal’s defenders didn’t know which one of them was supposed to guard the attacker. By the time Laurent Ciman decided that it was him, Techera had already entered too far into Impact’s area and goalkeeper Evan Bush had no chance of making a save.

Nonetheless, the injuries can’t excuse and can’t explain the poor performance of the team alone. There’s also the indiscipline factor characterizing the Montreal Impact. After all, they have the most fouls per game in the league. A bad foul can’t make you lose the momentum that you worked hard to have and one could even argue that it’s what led to the first goal of the Whitecaps. Fisher’s yellow card in Montreal’s area led to a free kick and a volley by Jacobson that left, once again, Bush helpless.

It will be interesting to see what the addition of Blerim Dzemaili brings to the team soon. We know he’s a good goalscorer but the way he’ll impact the defense remains to be seen. There’s also Salazar projected to join the roster, another help on offense.

Déjà vu

Montreal Impact fans are rightfully concerned about the ongoing season because of how similar things are now to a couple years ago. As a matter of fact, after 8 games played, the team’s record looks awfully close to the one of 2014.

Back then they were 1-4-3, this season they are 1-3-4, 10th place in the Eastern Conference for both years. They even have allowed the same amount of goals with 14. Even though the team has scored more goals in 8 games than three years ago (11 to 7), it’s still very hard to win a soccer match when your team has the bad habit of allowing this many goals. Besides, the fans still remember how the 2014 season ended: with the firing of the head coach.

Hopefully, Mauro Biello starts to figure out the team’s defensive problems. He’ll have to do it quickly; they are playing against D.C. United in just two days. A team Montreal can still hope catching as they are