The build up to the March 17th match up against Toronto FC is only starting but the Impact have a lot of positives and learning situations to take from their two away losses. In Vancouver, the Impact line up was shook. They lost a starter in Zakaria Diallo, and were facing a tough opponent. Going into the game against Columbus they knew what they were in for given the season opening win against defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC.
The Impact played a strong game overall. In comparison to the Vancouver game the Impact came out strong in the first ten minutes Jeisson Vargas even got a nice chance on net that slammed off the crossbar. Unfortunately, a defensive error by Jukka Raitala, left back deployed in the center back due to lack of depth, led to a penalty shot. Frederico Higuain, the Columbus Crew MVP, who does not need any help scoring, opened the tally against the Impact in the 12th minute.
Shortly after, the Impact showed their ever so present lack of abilities on set pieces in the 15th minute off a cross that Piette attempted to clear but it hit the post and landed at the feet of Gyasi Zardes who had an easy tap in goal.
The Impact were down 2-0 early in the first half and could have thrown in the towel but Garde’s men had a different plan in mind. The second half belong to them. In the 58th minute Samuel Piette intercepted a pass in the final third and he distributed the ball to Piatti who gave himself the necessary room to take a shot with his left perfectly placed to the side right of the net.
The Impact continued to create continuous opportunities from that point on; Matteo Mancosu hit the crossbar off a perfect cross from Daniel Lovitz, Victor Cabrera was robbed by keeper Zack Steffen. Overall, the Impact were attempting the comeback. The only change made by coach Remi Garde in the 66th minute showed to be a good one. In the 85th minute Raheem Edwards accepted a cross from Lovitz which he volleyed perfectly into the net.
A tied game with only a few minutes to go the Impact could have sat back and settled for the tie but they seemed to want more than just that. Their eagerness to create offensive opportunities may have come back to get them because in the added minutes (94th minute) Edwards tripped over himself and pushed Luis Argudo who also seemed to have gotten tripped by Krolicki in the box. The blatant mistake by both Impact youngsters led to the second penalty of the game for Columbus. Zardes converted the penalty and ultimately won the game for the Crew in the dying seconds.
- Fighters: The one thing that is disappointing as a fan when watching a game is seeing your team give up. Impact fans experience this at the end of the season last year, where at some moments it seemed the fans wanted it more than the players. This season, in both away game losses the fans saw a resilient team that is not willing to give up. If the game would have ended at the 90th minute in a tie Impact fans would be relishing at the fact that the team had made a convincing comeback. Although the gut wrenching lost is not only a hard pill to swallow for the fans but for the players as well who gave it their all for the comeback. Hopefully, this fuel drives them to success on Saturday.
- Sealing Their Own Fate: Ultimately the goals the Impact conceded were two major errors and one error/unlucky moment. They weren’t controlled by the Crew to the point that they were unable to create any offensive opportunities, they just made costly mistakes. The foul created by Raitala was totally unnecessary. The clearance by Piette was clumsy and the lack of reaction by the Impact players did not help. It is hard to understand what Edwards was doing on the final error of the game, how he fell in such a manner but just as well what Krolicki was thinking in sticking his leg out in that manner in the box. They both simultaneously offered the player of the Crew a chance to fall easily and know a call would come for sure. If the Impact can tighten their game and eliminate the costly errors they are a strong team but the question remains if they can do this.
- Loving the Lovitz: When Lovitz won Defender of the Year last season a lot of fans found the decision somewhat confusing but in all honesty no one was deserving of the title last year. Lovitz although is proving himself to be a threat down the flank this season. He has two passes in two games which is what you want out of a wing back. If he can continue down this path, not only will he make it difficult for Raitala to make a place in the lineup but he can help Piatti in making the left side of the pitch a deadly weapon for the Impact.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Michael Petrasso, Víctor Cabrera, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Ken Krolicki, Jeisson Vargas (Raheem Edwards 66’), Ignacio Piatti; F-Matteo Mancosu
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Rod Fanni, Chris Duvall, Louis Béland-Goyette, Dominic Oduro, Marco Donadel
CLB – GK-Zack Steffen; D-Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Lalas Abubakar, Milton Valenzuela; M-Artur, Cristian Martínez (Luis Argudo 58’), Federico Higuaín, Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp; F-Gyasi Zardes
Subs not used – Logan Ketterer, Alex Crograle, Eduardo Sosa, Héctor Jiménez, Ricardo Clark, Adam Jahn
CLB – Higuaín (PEN) 12’
CLB – Zardes 15’
MTL – Piatti (Piette) 59’
MTL - Edwards (Lovitz, Taïder) 85’
CLB - Zardes (PEN) 90’ + 4’
MTL – Krolicki 32’
CLB – Steffen 51’