Well Impact fans, that was another brutal one. Our low-flying Montreal Impact crashed into the high-flying New York Red Bulls with disastrous results. After being utterly dominated for 90 minutes, the Bleu-Blanc-Noir retreated to their locker room with an embarrassing 4-0 loss to swallow.
While we have come to expect the NYRB to dominate possession in their signature way, IMFC has always found a way to lethally counter. However, on Saturday night the Impact struggled to fend off the waves of pressure from their opponents. Furthermore, the Impact were not able to benefit from the space opened up by the high pressing Red Bulls. When in possession, instead of trying to beat their opponents pressure with long passing, the Impact carelessly coughed up the ball and let New York continue with their attack. On the rare occasions the Impact were able to beat the Red Bulls and run at their defenders we were our own worst enemy. Our touches were either too hard or we stepped on the ball. Either way, the result was the same: a wasted scoring chance. Versus a team like New York, if you are to have any chance of winning, you must make the most of those chances. On Saturday, our defending was poor and our attacking was sloppy. We all saw what the result was: a humiliating 4-0 drumming at the hands of our conference rivals.
Kyle Fisher: On a night when most players in Impact blue were atrocious, Fisher stood out since he turned in a half decent performance. In the 25th minute, he kept the game within reach when he cleared the ball off the goal line. To add to his clearance, the young American added 4 tackles, 2 blocked shots and 4 interceptions. On the down side, I found that Fisher and Ciman left too much room between them which allowed darting runs from the Red Bulls forwards. Performance Rating: 7.5/10
Daniel Lovitz: The American fullback failed to make an offensive impact on the game and struggled on the defensive end of things. Lovitz was contoured by New York’s wingers as they exploited his left flank time and time again to cut towards the Impact’s 18 yard box. Lovitz was powerless to stop them. The Pennsylvania native was also not effective with his distribution. He finished the match with a 59% completion rate for his passes. If the Impact hope to win versus a team like the Reb Bulls, we need our fullbacks to defend admirably and then quickly move the ball along. Performance Rating: 4.5/10
Hernan Bernardello: The Argentinian was completely dominated in the midfield. Bernardello’s job Saturday was to break up the opponent’s attacks and then quickly get things going the other way so that the Impact could take advantage of the bodies that the NYRB had committed forward. Sadly, Bernardello was constantly playing catch-up. He was one step behind the Red Bull’s passing and found it extremely difficult to cut out or even slow down their attacks. On the rare occasions he did manage to recover possession, he wasn’t efficient in his redistribution and was not able to catch New York on the counter. Performance Rating: 5/10
Blerim Dzemaili: We have come to expect nothing but the best from our swiss maestro, but Saturday forced us to realize that Dzemaili is human after all: he is not perfect all the time. In fact, the 31 year old was practically invisible. I know that our offensive players saw little of the ball, but I was disappointed to see that Dzemaili was not looking for possession. He did not drop back into the midfield to lend a hand to his struggling teammates. When the ball did find a way to his feet, his passing completion rate of 50% meant that he was giving the ball to the Red Bulls as much as to his teammates. If the Impact are to have a chance of making the playoffs, Dzemaili needs to be firing on all cylinders. Performance Rating: 4.5/10
A performance like Saturday’s reinforces my belief that if the Impact are to make the playoffs, we need to invest in this transfer window. We need to see Saputo finally open his chequebook and bring in another difference maker to the Impact. During the off-season, we sat by as the rest of the league brought in exciting young talents like Miguel Almiron in Atlanta. It is now the Impact’s turn to catch back up to the rest of the league. Talking about catching up, IMFC will have another shot to get closer to a playoff berth next Saturday when they face off versus Orlando City.