The Impact turned the page on July and started August off on the right foot. The Impact has been struggling to play as a unit and playing to their caliber for the better part of July. Their last face off against Orlando was a controversial one, with a goal that looked out of bounds and a goal passed the added minutes. Montreal was in a dire need of a win or to the least, a convincing performance.
To the misfortune of the Impact, Orlando took an early lead. A long ball towards a dueling Larin and Donadel left the Italian midfielder in an awkward position. Donadel attempted to clear the ball but instead sent it towards the box and Bush reacted late the unexpected ball. Larin had a fairly easy sequence to complete giving his men the lead. The Impact almost managed to reply immediately when Oduro set up Mancosu with a cross to the near post but Bendik was well placed and made the save. With about ten minutes to go in the first half, Dzemaili and Piatti combined nicely leaving Piatti alone in front of the keeper. Piatti took a decent strike but Bendik was well positioned and with the small angle Piatti had Bendik came out with a big save.
From the very beginning of the second half the Impact tied it up. Their leading goal scorer, Piatti, recovered a ball at the top of the box and manoeuvered his way into the box, Aja was unable to tame Piatti and trip him up leading to a penalty. Piatti converted the penalty with a deflection off of the left hand of the keeper. Ten minutes later, another opportunity arose when, Piatti made a small pass to Dzemaili at the top of the box. Dzemaili took a first touch strike but Bendik stunned the Swiss international and made an incredible save. On the other side of the pitch, Larin found himself almost alone in front of Bush but shot way over the bar. Piatti tried for his second of the game with a gorgeous curling shot but it hit the cross bar. With less than ten minutes to spare Donadel made a nice pass up the pitch to Dzemaili who made a pass between the defenders to Jackson-Hamel. Jackson-Hamel, super-sub, surprised Bendik with his soft shot to the opposite post and sealed the victory for the Impact.
The Impact controlled the game for the most part and was a lot more convincing than a vast majority of their last few games. Veterans like Ciman, Bernier and Piatti were all very important aspects to this win. Biello wanted his veterans to step up and make a difference, they surely delivered.
· Nacho a Difference Maker: Piatti who played very little in July coincided with the poor results the Impact had in July. His presence was felt during the match and he will be an important factor for the remainder of the season if the Impact wants to succeed.
· Mancosu the Ghost: Mancosu is not fulfilling his duties as the striker of the team and this is going to be costly if he cannot fix this soon or if Biello cannot find a player to fill his spot. His presence was unapparent during the match and his performance this season has been far from acceptable.
· One win down many to go: This victory seemed to give the players, coaching staff, and fan base a sigh of relief. Winning against a conference rival is extremely important considering the position the Impact are in right now. More importantly, they have many positives to take from this game, which hasn’t been something the team could say for a while. While this win was an important one, the playoffs are still far away and the Impact will need to take it one game at a time.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Daniel Lovitz, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Chris Duvall; M-Blerim Dzemaili, Marco Donadel, Patrice Bernier, F-Ignacio Piatti (Shaun Francis 89’), Matteo Mancosu (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 79’), Dominic Oduro (Michael Salazar 73’)
Subs not used: Maxime Crépeau, Wandrille Lefevre, Calum Mallace, Louis Béland-Goyette,
ORL – GK-Joe Bendik; D-Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, José Aja, Scott Sutter; M-Kaká, Cristian Higuita (Luis Gil 66’), Antonio Nocerino (Giles Barnes 84’), Will Johnson; F-Dom Dwyer (Carlos Rivas 73’), Cyle Larin
Subs not used: Josh Saunders, Tommy Redding, Servando Carrasco, Richie Laryea,
ORL – Cyle Larin 12’
MTL – Ignacio Piatti (PK) 48’
MTL – Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Blerim Dzemaili) 84’