And so it came to pass . . .
You have to say the outcome from Montreal’s MLS-Opener was a tad predictable. A spirited, and for the most part, well-organized Montreal team jockeying with a higher quality opponent, but being unlocked in the end by previously identified danger-men, Kei Kamara and Cristian Techera. That pair becomes a trio. You can add in Alphonso Davies, that most exciting and precocious of Canadian talents.
The Impact looked shaky and non-composed in central defence, so the news, Monday about Rod Dodji Fanni is welcome regardless of the player’s current conditioning, which remains a mystery.
He’s not played a competitive match since last May, but Remi Garde and his management team clearly feel the former Marseille player is up to the task, bearing in mind Montreal really needs someone to go straight in at Columbus on Saturday.
It was a fairly typical Impact road performance, riding their luck just a little to reach the interval scoreless. An encouraging opening 15 minutes of the second-half ironically reached its abrupt conclusion when Kamara got across Cabrera, sending a bullet header in off Davies’ perfect cross.
You could almost see the confidence and organization drain from the visiting ranks. Their high defensive line was again breached 7 mins later. This time Lovitz was caught out by a ball over the top. Techera ran on to set up wonder-kid Davies to score what turned out to be the winner, despite Bush’s best efforts to thwart.
Late on, and mainly through the excellent promptings of Lovitz, came that Mancosu goal, and a few other chances that fell Montreal’s way, that could’ve, maybe should’ve, secured an undeserved share of the points.
Player ratings and comment, as I saw it . . . .
Evan Bush - 6/10 - did nothing wrong, looked assured on crosses, unlucky not to prevent the second goal.
Mike Petrasso - 5/10 – Difficult afternnon up against Davies, whom he must know about from Canadian national team duty. Wasn’t sure whether to stay tight or retreat at times, but neither strategy worked anyway.
Daniel Lovitz - 6.5/10 – Deserving of a higher score had this game been played only over the last 10-15 mins, when he excelled going forward. Out of position in build-up to second Whitecaps goal.
Jukka Raitala – 5.5/10 – Playing out of position. Didn’t look completely assured, but battled gamely.
Victor Cabrera – 4.5/10 – Probably most pressure on him than anyone else in the side given the task of marking Kamara. Typically gritty, but came up short on quality.
Samuel Piette – 5.5/10 – Made a few errors more than normal, one which could have been critical early on, giving the ball away to Kamara, whose finish, luckily, was weak. Range of short passing generally very good, but must add at least some creativity.
Raheem Edwards – 4/10 - Looked totally lost. No surprise when withdrawn. Has ability. Remi must discover how and where Edwards best serves this team.
Saphir Taider – 7/10 – Probably Montreal’s best player on the day. Energetic performance, perhaps saw less of him as the game wore on, but showed the value he can bring. One nice step-over and cross in the second-half could have produced a goal.
Ken Krolicki – 5.5/10 – Unspectacular debut, but did alright. Hard-working performance.
Ignacio Piatti – 6.5/10 – Quiet game by his own high standards. Best moments coincided with the purple patch after the restart. Still looked Montreal’s best hope for a goal.
Matteo Mancosu – 6/10 – Got the goal, then missed another chance, which if converted would have restored a lot of faith in the striker. Looked livelier than in games last season. Much unselfish running. Needs to keep to these standards and work on first touch. Fortunate not to be red-carded for tackle on de Jong late in the game.
Jeisson Vargas (70 mins) – didn’t really get into the game. Remains an interesting prospect. Looking forward to seeing more of this player, whom I thought would’ve begun the game ahead of Krolicki.
David Choiniere (78 mins) – again didn’t really get the opportunity to contribute much. Always looks like he’s trying to operate at 100 mph. Obviously keen to impress, but needs to settle and be more composed.