Impact walk away with an important win to increase their chances towards a playoff position. Coming off the Gold Cup break the Montreal Impact hosted conference rivals Philadelphia Union in an important game in relation to the standings. The Impact was sitting two points behind the Union with one game in hand. Key players such Piatti and Bernier were missing due to injury and international duty respectively. Donadel returning from injury was not in the starting 11 which allowed Béland-Goyette to get his first start in the MLS.
The Impact had a very annoying tendency during the match of committing risky controls and passes in their defensive half. One error that could have been costly in the first few minutes was, a lazy control at the edge of the by Ciman. Picault dispossessed Ciman of the ball but his strike passed between Bush and the net and went wide. Duvall kept finding space and he made himself available to bring the ball up the pitch which was beneficial for the Impact. He set up a cross into the middle of the box where Salazar was alone and placed the ball perfectly into the net. A little over ten minutes later Salazar was robbed after he took a beautiful strike but the keeper came up with a big save. Right before the end of the half the Union pulled one back with a little help from Duvall. Duvall was playing an excellent game but unfortunately his back pass to Bush was too predictable and Picault intercepted it. This left Picault alone in front of Bush, who was out of position because he was expecting the pass. One important part that may go unnoticed and is hard to be sure of is that Ciman seem to signal to Duvall to make that back pass. Picault was also the man that Ciman was supposed to be covering.
From the very beginning of the second half, Dzemaili pulled on back for the Impact. Salazar made him a nice pass leaving Dzemaili one on one with a defender. Dzemaili made a pass to himself through the legs of the defender and set himself up alone in front of the net. He unleashed the ball full force into the back of the net. There were a few more chances back and forth for the remainder of the game. The best one for the Impact came when Choinière fought up the side of the pitch and passed the ball to Dzemaili who then changed sides and passed to Lovitz. Lovitz went for the shot instead of the pass to the top of the box where Choinière was alone. Lovitz shot when high and wide. For Philadelphia their best opportunity came from a lob over the defense and a volley into the net. Unfortunately for them, the player was offside by a very small margin.
Overall, the Impact may have come out with the win but many errors were made but Philadelphia was unable to seize the gifts being handed to them. With another game in only a few days, Biello will need to assess those who under-perform such as Mancosu, Ciman and Bernardello and those who seized their opportunities such as Choiniere, Salazar, and Ballou.
- Mancosu Who? Mancosu Where? Mancosu played a full 90’ but was completely invisible on the pitch tonight. Since he returned from his injury he has been unable to have an strong performance. He did not win his aerial battles and was not menacing enough with the ball.
- The General Missing in Action. Ciman had a lot of trouble with his distribution and possession. He lost the ball dangerously numerous times and missed tackles that left his team in unfavorable situations. More importantly, on the one goal by the opposition he seemed to be the one directing Duvall to pass the ball to Bush and the man who he was supposed to be marking is the one that gained possession and scored.
- Hustle by the Youngsters. Salazar, Ballou and Choiniere were hungry for possession and creating goal scoring opportunities. They all individually had an impact on the game at some point or another. Their fighting spirit in one on one situations was strong and extremely present. It is very promising to see the future of the Impact stepping up in the absence of Piatti and Bernier.
MTL –GK- Evan Bush; D-Daniel Lovitz, Kyle Fisher, Laurent Ciman, Chris Duvall; M- Louis Béland-Goyette (Marco Donadel 74’), Hernán Bernardello; Ballou Tabla (David Choinière 76’), Blerim Dzemaili, Michael Salazar (Dominic Oduro 64’); F-Matteo Mancosu
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Victor Cabrera, Calum Mallace, Nick DePuy
PHI – GK-John McCarthy; D-Giliano Wijnaldum, Jack Elliot, Oguchi Onyewu, Raymon Gaddis; M-Fabrice-Jean Picault (Jay Simpson 67’), Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho (Marcus Epps 57’), Roland Alberg, Warren Creavalle (Adam Najem 79’); F- C.J. Sapong
Subs not used: Jake McGuire, Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Carroll
MTL – Michael Salazar (Chris Duvall) 19’
PHI – Fabrice-Jean Picault 43’
MTL – Blerim Dzemaili (Michael Salazar) 51’
PHI – Roland Alberg 29’
MTL – Louis Béland-Goyette 32’
PHI – Raymon Gaddis 45’
PHI – Jack Elliot 77’
PHI – Oguchi Onyewu 90+3’
MTL - Hernan Bernardello 90+4’