Impact goes into the break with work to do after being unable to break Houston’s streak at home. With a two week break Impact players and staff will need to reevaluate what they have done well up to now and what is missing to their lineup. Losing players like Ambroise Oyongo and Adrian Arregui is starting the show in the lack of depth that Biello has to work with. Going into the game against Houston a few returnees, Lovitz and Romero, were on the bench but Houston was not an easy opponent. Houston was unbeaten at home with 7 wins and 2 draws.
It did not take long for the Impact to witness the power of Houston at home. Within the first minute the Impact’s 2012 draft pick Andrew Wenger took pleasure out of scoring against his old team. Houston scored off of a quick corner; Montreal’s defense was clearly not ready since Wenger was left alone between both center backs. While the Impact did make some nice build up plays and kept some possession they were unable to get near the net. The first half took a turn for the worse in the 23rd minute when the defense of the Impact were caught watching Houston build up play and left too much space up the middle to their opponent which lead to the second goal, widening the lead. What was disappointing on the sequence was that leading up to the goal Oduro lost the ball after mishandling it, which could have led to a very menacing counterattack.
Coming into the second half, the Impact kept possession going and built up some opportunities but nothing was coming to fruition. In the 67th minute, Houston put the game out of reach after an unfortunate bounce off of Duvall landed at the feet of the opposition. With only a few minutes to spare Salazar stole the clean sheet from Houston with a nice strike from a Ciman cross.
One important thing to note is that Evan Bush did come up with some very good saves that could have widened the gap much earlier. Furthermore, the Impact has to start questioning their consistency because this game was far from what they showed only a few days ago.
· Important two week stretch: This game was a perfect example of the underlining issues they have had this season. They are missing key pieces to their puzzle that would make them more of a threat. The Eastern Conference is extremely strong this year and the Impact will need to make improvements during the break if they want any chance at making the playoffs.
· Playing as a unit: One main difference from the success against D.C. and lack of success against Houston was them playing as a block. The Impact was dominant against D.C. because they moved on the pitch as one. Against Houston a lot of space was left between the forwards, the midfield and the defence. Blaming it on fatigue or the heat is unacceptable; both teams were in the same situation and the Impact had more of the possession consequently they could have had more control over the game.
· Defensive struggles: It was one of the first games in a while that we saw center backs, Ciman and Fisher, struggling as much as they did. They have established a great chemistry and are working together very well but they were easily at fault for two of the three goals against Houston. They lacked communication on the first goal and Fisher made a poor decision prior to the second, leaving Ciman out of position.
MTL –GK- Evan Bush; D-Hassoun Camara (Daniel Lovitz 58), Kyle Fisher, Laurent Ciman, Chris Duvall; M- Hernán Bernardello, Marco Donadel (Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla 46); Dominic Oduro (Nicholas DePuy 72), Blerim Dzemaili, Michael Salazar; F-Matteo Mancosu
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Wandrille Lefevre, Calum Mallace, Andrés Romero
HOU – GK-Tyler Deric; D-A.J. DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley; M-Ricardo Clark , Juan David Cabezas, Alex (Joe Holland 87); F-Andrew Wenger (José Escalante 79), Erick Torres (Memo Rodriguez 62), Mauro Manotas
Subs not used: Joe Willis, Charlie Ward, Dylan Remick, Jalil Anibaba
HOU - Andrew Wenger (Mauro Manotas) 1’
HOU - Alex (Mauro Manotas ) 23’
HOU - Memo Rodriguez 1 67’
MTL - Michael Salazar 1 (Laurent Ciman) 89’
MTL - Michael Salazar 4’
HOU – Leonardo 12’
HOU - Ricardo Clark 25’
MTL - Blerim Dzemaili 31’
MTL - Hernan Bernardello 79’