It was expected that the 2018 season was going to be a transition one for the Impact but the transition seems to be happening quicker than expected. With newly acquired players and the system Garde has put into place the Impact, while still not a full squad, got stronger very quickly. When looking at the performances and results put up last season it isn’t hard to beat but the Impact have the tools to make something of their season. One major issues is still bothering some, and with reason, who will be the striker for the team?
The 33-year-old striker from Cagliari, Italy is in his third season with the club. Since his arrival, while he had a decent first season (in 15 games, 7 started which equals 772 minutes, he managed to score 3 goals and recorded 4 assists) Mancosu has been one of those players that leaves the Impact fans underwhelmed. He gets many great scoring opportunities but can’t seem to net the ball when it counts. He did although start this season off well getting a goal in his first game but he did miss many costly opportunities in both games he played.
The Italian striker did not play against Toronto due to an apparent injury, which the club still has not given any further information on. This injury, if it were to last, will raise some more questions as to who Garde considers to be the next man up.
The Quebec City native has been fighting for his spot as lead striker for a few seasons now. Last season, Jackson became a super sub scoring big goals when it was needed. When he was given the opportunity to start a game, he seemed to get lost on the pitch and not be as physically imposing as usual. He still managed to pull off an impressive first season with real minutes netting 9 goals and 4 assists. Jackson started this season off with an injury, he got a few minutes in the 1-0 win against Toronto FC but not enough to make any impact.
With the extra recuperation time the international break has allowed and the apparent injury to Mancosu, it will be interesting to see if Jackson is given the opportunity to start a game. While Mancosu waits at the defensive line, meaning he needs accurate distribution (which Lovitz has been succeeding at), Jackson uses his strength to create space for himself and will drop down to try and help the team create an opportunity. Each player offers a different skill set and Garde will need to analyze which fits best into his system.
The surprise start from last game but just as well the difference maker. Vargas offered a different style to the offensive force of the Impact alongside Nacho Piatti. While he only netted one goal he linked up with Piatti and Saphir Taider a few times during the game which was a very positive thing to see.
It will be interesting to see if this was just a back up plan for Garde or if he sticks to what seem to be working quite well against the 2017 MLS Cup Champions. Vargas again offers a very different type of play, due to his size he won’t be able to net crosses as well as Mancosu or Jackson could but his ability with the ball at his feet is superior.
Although, it would be nice for Jackson to be given his opportunity to show how he can fit into the system. I do expect Garde to continue with what was working, in using Vargas as a striker. Given the arrival of Silva, who will mostly likely play on the right, Vargas will either drop back in a more central role or stay as striker to get more minutes on the pitch. He has shown some nice stints in just one game and has a strong shot. Side note, Oduro was not forgotten but as much as the player is respected his chances to get a start are slim to none. He was told he did not fit into Garde’s plan and will likely be a bench player or depth player this season.
Your striker for the majority of the 2018 season?
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