The first pre-season game against an MLS team took place last night against the Chicago Fire. The Impact, with every game they are playing, is starting to build a solid foundation to start the season on the right foot.
The Impact were opportunistic this game. Most of the game was somewhat controlled by the Fire who had more possession. The Impact although did not waste their opportunities and stayed defensively sound.
In the 34th minute, Edwards applied nice pressure on Chicago’s backline that led them to give away the ball cheaply at Taider’s feet. Taider made an easy pass to Piatti. Piatti with one little move got rid of the defender in front of him and tucked the ball away in the bottom right corner. Getting caught on their heels Chicago struggle to get placed properly to defend the attack of the Impact.
In the 42nd minute, a nice play got formed from the back. Bush rolled the ball to Diallo who ran up almost half of the pitch before distributing a nice through ball to Piatti. Piatti ran to the baseline and chipped the ball over the Chicago keeper but it hit the post. The rebound landed at Edward’s feet who made a nice pass to Mancosu in the middle who had an easy shot in.
The second half brought only one really nice scoring chance for the Impact. Duvall crossed the ball in perfectly but Salazar seemed stunned the ball got to him and could not get the touch on the ball for the easy tap in.
In the 55th minute, Chicago got a free kick on the left side of the net right outside the box. The set piece, an constant struggle for the Impact, proved to be succesful for Chicago. Campos did a short lob that McCarty was able to head into the net. When looking at the replays Jackson seemed to give up his coverage and Diop did not move off his line quickly enough.
Overall, the Impact has many positive to draw from the game but did not leave the pitch satisfied. It’ll be interesting to see the way the next few games shape up for the Impact and see how much they can build off of each of them.
- Battle Royale: Two players that are making a case for themselves are Lovitz and Raitala. Both players are currently fighting for a spot on the starting 11 and it is getting interesting. In the first half, we saw Raitala with dominant speed down the wing and joining the offence to create more prominent opportunitites. In the second half, Lovitz brought a very similar style to Raitala. The main difference between the two is Lovitz uses his strength and body while Raitala tends to use his speed and well timed tackles. This duel will likely keep going during the pre-season and if they keep playing like such likely into the beginning of the regular season.
- Giveaways: While the Impact may have come out with the win last night it is important to point out that Chicago had more possession and more control of the play. Now a lot of these statistics fall back on the shoulders of the Impact as they, a multiple occasions, were giving the ball away cheaply. The only Chicago goal came on a set piece that was one mishandled by Jackson who was covering McCarty and left him alone in front of the net but Diop also stayed glued to his line a little too much. The Impact also stayed in their side of the pitch for way too long but at the same time there is a positive to be drawn from the fact that they defended for most of the game, they are a much more defensively sound team than last year.
- Making a case: Offensively the players showed some nice stints. They applied pressure on the Chicago back line when necessary and connected well on many occasions; a chemistry is forming. Given that the 11 seen in the first half is the most likely 11 to see for the season it is not surprising that there was a disconnect in the second half. At the same time we saw some nice play by Salazar who is hustling for that spot on the wing.
MTL - Evan Bush (Clément Diop 46’); Jukka Raitala (Daniel Lovitz 46’), Zakaria Diallo, Víctor Cabrera (Thomas Meilleur-Giguère 46’), Michael Petrasso (Chris Duvall 46’); Ignacio Piatti (David Choinière 46’), Saphir Taïder (Ken Krolicki 46’), Samuel Piette (Marco Donadel 46’), Shamit Shome (Clément Bahiya 46’), Raheem Edwards (Michael Salazar 46’); Matteo Mancosu (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 46’)
CHI - Richard Sanchez (Stefan Cleveland 61’); Rafael Ramos (Christian Dean 61’), Johan Kappelhof (Jorge Corrales 61’), Grant Lillard, Brandon Vincent (Jonathan Campbell 61’); Dax McCarty (Elliot Collier 61’), Mo Adams, Brandt Bronico (Omar Castro 61’), Diego Campos, Jon Bakero (Maximiliano Moreira 61’); Nemanja Nikolic (Albert Ruiz 61’)
MTL – Ignacio Piatti 34’ (Saphir Taïder)
MTL – Matteo Mancosu 42’ (Raheem Edwards)
CHI – Dax McCarty 55’ (Diego Campos)
CHI – Brandon Vincent 36’
MTL – Matteo Mancosu 37’
CHI – Grant Lillard 40’
MTL – Ken Krolicki 53’
MTL – Daniel Lovitz 70’
CHI – Christian Dean 87’
CHI – Omar Castro 89’