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Impact have playoffs in their sights

A look at who did and did not perform well in the Impact’s 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire.

For the first time since the start of the season, when you look at the MLS table, a small hope flickers in the back of your mind saying that our beloved Impact might have a chance of making the playoffs. With IMFC’s recent winning form, they are within 3 points of a coveted playoff berth.

The latest game in this winning streak came versus one of the best teams in the league: the Chicago Fire. Despite the fact that the Fire controlled nearly 70% of the possession, the Impact were able to counter with deadly precision. On the defensive end of things, the Impact were able to keep Chicago away from our net and nip their attacks in the bud.

Here are my top and bottom performers from the Impact’s 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire.

Bottom performers:

Dominic Oduro: On a day when three of our main offensive weapons in Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti and Blerim Dzemaili were firing on all cylinders, Oduro melted into the background. While Mancosu was making repeated (and effective) runs behind the Fire’s backline, Oduro contented himself with lazing around his right flank. Mancosu was in top form and when he is the one making the runs, Oduro is not very useful. Instead of offering himself as a second target, Oduro decided to be more of a bystander. Performance Rating: 5/10

Top Performers:

Matteo Mancosu: I just said that Mancosu was on his game. What I didn’t mention was that it was the first time in a very long while that we have seen Mancosu play like the dominant striker he was last year in the playoffs. The Italian was finally in harmony with his midfielders: his runs were timed to perfection. It was also nice to see our veteran striker drop back into a deeper position to help create offense. All those improvements led to Mancosu getting multiple scoring chances including one occasion that led to the Impact’s penalty. Through his effort, Mancosu earned the right to take the penalty and score his 4th goal of the season. Performance Rating: 8.5/10

Samuel Piette: While the Quebecer may not have played the flashiest of roles in the Impact’s convincing win, he executed his job perfectly it and was instrumental to the Bleu-Blanc-Noir securing all three points. Piette was able to just about singlehandedly shut down the center of the park. Any Chicago attack that was headed Piette’s way was expertly pushed out wide and eventually smothered. The fact that Piette has been so reliable defensively gives our other midfielders a lot more freedom to press offensively and create more going forward for the Impact. Performance Rating: 9/10

Ignacio Piatti: Not much more can be said about the Argentinian that has not already been said. Wednesday night, Piatti was on his game. He had the confidence to take on any defender and even more confidence to try his luck from way downtown. While you may cringe when most players plow into four opposing defenders with their head down, when it is Piatti, you eagerly await to see if he will make his way out. Piatti was able to create something out of nothing once again Wednesday night. He took Chicago’s defenders out of the play and that opened up space for either or himself or his teammates. The only thing I would have liked to see more from Piatti was a bit more distribution. On many occasions, he attracted three or four or the opposition’s defenders and freed up some of his teammates. Ideally, I would like to see Nacho move the ball towards those unmarked players. Performance Rating: 8/10

For the first time this season, the Impact have managed three consecutive wins. On Saturday night, the Impact will have the chance to add to that winning streak when they face off versus Real Salt Lake. However, since the Bleu-Blanc-Noir are coming off a short week, we can expect Mauro Biello to rest a few of his usual starters. Hopefully, even without our very best 11, we will be able to scrap out a victory.