What seems like just a few short weeks ago, the Impact were on the rise. We were one of the hottest teams in the league and we were banging at the door of the playoffs. Now, after a very disappointing three weeks, the Impact have seen their playoff hopes fade away. It is very easy to blame the refs or international call-ups for these recent woes but ultimately, if you want to have a chance of making the playoffs, one goal in three games will get you absolutely nowhere.
The Impact’s most recent loss came against divisional opponents New England Revolution. The Impact failed to capitalize on their scoring chances. On the other hand, New England’s Lee Nguyen was able to put away the one chance that ultimately made the difference in the game and secured all three points for his team.
Here are my top and bottom performers in the Impact’s 1-0 loss to the Revs.
Victor Cabrera: Interestingly, despite the lack of center backs because of injuries to Kyle Fisher and Hassoun Camara as well as the controversial suspension of Deion Boldor, the Impact decided to play with three at the back. In this patched together back-line, it was Victor Cabrera who stood out. The Argentinian adopted a Ciman style of play: he would step out of his line to cut off New England’s attacks with well timed tackles. Cabrera often seemed to be one step ahead of the play and that allowed him to recover possession and get the Impact’s attack going the other way. The 24 year old’s smart play let him accumulate 3 interceptions, 3 successful tackles and a staggering 14 recoveries. Performance Rating: 8/10
Daniel Lovitz: As I already mentioned, the Impact opted to go with a back three with two wingbacks. In that formation, Daniel Lovitz saw himself assigned the left wingback position. Now, for those of you who are familiar with the Premier League, the designation wingback is synonymous with high octane players who cover vast swaths of ground. Players who when their team is in possession are an instrumental part of the attack and when their team is defending, are solid defensive pillars who quickly close down opponents. Sadly, Lovitz did not quite live up to that designation. On the defensive end of things, Lovitz racked up 13 less recoveries than his Argentinian teammate and 2 less interceptions. However, you can attribute those lackluster stats to the fact that New England focused their attacking fire power down the Impact’s right flank. On the other hand, there is no excuse to justify the American’s poor offensive performance. Lovitz did not contribute anything to our attack. He very rarely carried the ball up the pitch and when he did, he was uncreative and his crosses were poor. Likewise, his service off corners was quite disappointing. Performance Rating: 4/10
Anthony Jackson-Hamel: Many of you can probably guess what I am going to criticize about Jackson’play: he could not convert. While strikers may have a whole number of other jobs on the pitch, the most important one is to fill the back of the net. The bread and butter of strikers is exactly the kind of chance that Jackson missed in the 48th minute. Oh, and that miss was the only shot that the Canadian international attempted all game long. If the Impact are to have any chance of making the playoffs, whoever our striker is needs to be able to pop in those chances on a constant basis and he needs to try his luck more than once per 90 minutes. Other than his miss, Jackson’s hold up play was also disappointing: he was not able to retain possession long enough for his attacking teammates to make it into the offensive third of the pitch. Jackson Hamel essentially faded into the background for most of the game. Sadly, he got the chance to start because Mancosu had also developed the bad habit of disappearing. Performance Rating: 5/10
While the Impact did not play a horrible match at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, they definitely need to start scoring goals. We cannot afford to go another game without filling the back of the net. Luckily, the Impact have the perfect chance to turn things around next Saturday when Minnesota come to town. Sadly, the Impact are already faced with a must win situation. If IMFC cannot manage all three points at home, we must admit that our post season dreams are over.