After a long two weeks bereft of our Montreal Impact, the bleu-blanc-noir took to the field Wednesday night to face off versus fellow bottom dwellers Philadelphia Union. Despite sloppy passing and costly turnovers, the Impact managed to eke out a much needed 2-1 win and secure all three points at home.
The Impact kicked off the scoring via a beautiful header from Michael Salazar but shortly before retreating to the locker room, Chris Duvall set up the Union’s Jean Picault with a perfect pass to level the score at one. Once again, it was the instrumental Blerim Dzemaili who stepped up and saved the day for the Impact when he blasted a shot past Union keeper John McCarthy to give the Impact a 2-1 lead. The Impact hung on to that narrow one goal lead to claim all three points.
Here are my player ratings for the Impact’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union
Evan Bush: The keeper was called on twice. On one occasion, he made the easy save and on the other, he was beat by a well placed shot by Picault. Once again, Bush made the saves that you would expect him to make but nothing more. If Bush cannot start making those impressive saves, it might be time to give Maxime Crepeau a start. Performance Rating: 7/10
Daniel Lovitz: While it was nice to finally see a natural left back playing at that position for the Impact, Lovitz was not impressive. While he might have racked up four successful tackles, he also lost three. Likewise, the American only completed 67% of his passes. Performance Rating: 5.5/10
Kyle Fisher: On a day when the back line was plagued with the turnover bug, Fisher didn’t seem to catch the cold. The young American center back kept his nose clean and was the solid defensive presence we have come to expect from the 23 year old. Furthermore, Fisher was instrumental in the Impact’s distribution from the back. Performance Rating: 8.5/10
Laurent Ciman: By all accounts, that was a very poor outing by the Belgian international. He was prone to uncharacteristic turnovers deep in his own half and his defensive interventions were inaccurate at best and sloppy at worst. Performance Rating: 5.5/10
Chris Duvall: While many may choose to only remember the American’s gaffe that cost the Impact club a goal, I would rather choose to remember his pinpoint cross on Salazar’s goal, his 94% passing completion rate and his 9 recoveries. While his mistake could have cost the Impact the win, we can’t overlook the rest of the Duvall’s contributions to IMFC’s win. Performance Rating: 7.5/10
Hernan Bernardello: While I may not be the Argentine’s biggest fan, credit must be given when credit is due: Bernardello had a very solid game. He was precise and timely in his tackles and accurate in his passing. He racked up five successful tackles as well as 10 recoveries and lent a helping hand to rookie Louis Béland-Goyette. Performance Rating: 8/10
Louis Béland-Goyette: In his first career start with IMFC, the academy product fared relatively well. Despite a few missed tackles, Béland-Goyette avoided costly mistakes, which is key for any rookie. First team minutes like this will only bolster the young man’s confidence and make him a better player for the Impact. I would love to see him touch the pitch more either as a starter or as a substitute. Performance Rating: 7/10
Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla: Despite a few magnificent dripples in the final third, Ballou wasn’t up to the standard of play we have come to expect from the youngster. For large swaths of the game, the academy prospect was far too invisible. He was letting the play come to him rather than implicating himself in it. Hopefully, Ballou will be back on his game when the Impact face off versus Dallas on Saturday. Performance Rating: 6/10
Blerim Dzemaili: In the absence of his fellow designated player, Dzemaili stepped up big for the Impact. Everything was passing threw the Swiss international Wednesday. He dictated the Impact’s presence in the offensive half and he has the stats to prove it. Dzemaili attempted 4 shots, one of which found the back of the net. Performance Rating: 9/10
Michael Salazar: To the surprise of many, the Belize international started at right midfield over Dominic Oduro. Mauro Biello’s gutsy decision was well rewarded. Salazar was one of the hardest working players on the pitch. He tirelessly chased down loose balls and applied pressure to the ball carrier. His nice movement off the ball was rewarded in the 19th minute when he beautifully redirected Duvall’s cross into the back of the net. Performance Rating: 8.5/10
Matteo Mancosu: The Italian was as unidimensional as ever Wednesday night. Once the Union’s defenders clued into his runs behind them, he became practically useless. For much of the game, he was invisible. He barely touched the ball, and when he did, his touch was too heavy and he promptly turned over possession. The Italian is in a slump, no question about it. He needs to figure out how to put enough balls into the back of the net to justify his nearly $800 000 salary. Performance Rating: 4/10
While the Impact got the deed done and secured all three points, there is still a good deal of room for improvement. If the Impact continue to make the same clumsy mistakes they made versus Philly on Saturday versus Dallas, the result will surely be very different. Dallas are one of the MLS’s premier teams and the Impact will need to both avoid costly mistakes and capitalize on their opportunities if they are going to have any chance of beating Dallas