With the regular season winding down, the Impact find themselves right below the red line and three points away from Atlanta who have two games in hand. While making the playoffs is not impossible, the last three performances of the Impact have hurt their chances tremendously. The Impact had far from a perfect season and many factors come into play when they look at where they are today with seven games left to play to this season.
What they could have done?
When we look at the Impact’s record they dropped one too many games in the final minutes. First off, we look at the second game of the season against Seattle where the Impact let in a bad goal in the added minutes. Then again, two games later against Chicago same situation, games lost in added time. One unforgettable game where the win was turned into a tie in the added minutes is against Orlando. Yes, the calls may have been questionable in this one but again unacceptable to lose in this type of situation.
These were extremely costly ties as the Impact could have gained 6 points if they could have kept their leads for a minute more. What is astonishing is how many of these final minute goals came from crosses and the Montreal Impact’s defenders looked porous and frazzled.
Moreover, the Impact struggled to find their identity this season; either it be from the 11 players on the pitch to their formation being used. This is less the fault of the players and more on the coaching staff. The Impact used twenty-five different starting line ups (most presented multiple changes from the previous games) and used seven different formations at some point or another. These seven different formations caused a change in formation from one match to another eleven times. Searching for what works to this extent is destabilizing for the Impact players as every game they need to readjust to the players around them. We saw at times the issues this caused defensively (the Impact either conceded a goal or gave up a foul as a consequence) or offensively (a scoring opportunity was lost or a turnover was caused) because the player that was supposed to be there was not.
Finally, the Impact does not necessarily lack in creating chances but more importantly in clinical finishing. Either it be Mancosu, Oduro, AJH or Piatti, at times these players found themselves in great goal scoring opportunities and did not put the ball in the net. Mancosu has struggled this season since returning from his injury and he has missed many of these key goal scoring chances. Goals can change the momentum of games and not scoring these goals becomes a burden on your team especially when your only job is to score.
What can be done from now on?
Now, with only seven games remaining, the Impact finds themselves in a difficult position with only a 13.4% chance (via sportsclubstats) of making the playoffs. Their remaining calendar is not easy, given that they face off against league leaders Toronto but the match ups against Atlanta and New England will likely be extremely important games given that they find themselves between these two teams. If the Impact can manage to win 5 of their remaining 7 games they find themselves with a 90% (via sportsclubstats) chance and above of making the playoffs. This will require being somewhat perfect in the remaining schedule.
Now with less than 5 wins the Impact will find themselves looking at others results which is never a fun feeling because you no longer have control of your own faith. Their next match up is against Minnesota United FC which sits in second to last in the Western Conference. This match is one the Impact can win and that can help them build some confidence before heading to Toronto for a midweek match.
On Decision Day, October 22nd, the Impact will take on the Revolution and it will likely be or hopefully be a stressful one for Montreal Impact fans with match ups that can affect the standings like Atlanta United and Toronto FC facing off or Columbus Crew and New York City FC. The players have expressed that they are not done fighting for their playoff spot and that they have not given up hope; fans are hoping that these words will be put into action on the pitch.