The Montreal Impact played their sixth match of the season on Saturday afternoon, facing off against the New York Red Bulls. On paper, this game was always going to be difficult for Montreal, but the Red Bulls were coming to this match having played a tiring CCL fixture in midweek. However, it is the Bleu Blanc Noir who crumbled in the second half, with many players citing “fatigue” as the main culprit. Hopefully this issue will be addressed in training, as it is not acceptable for a team playing a single game per week to be unable to manage a full 90 minutes.
The match started off with Montreal shaky under New York’s pressure. They turned over the ball a few times in the opening minutes, and a costly turnover by Cabrera in the 5th minute gave the Red Bulls their opener. The men in blue were lucky not to concede a few others, with Duvall even saving one off the goal line. However, they seemed to wake up after a quarter hour and started playing a bit better. Vargas squandered a golden opportunity at the half hour mark, but then scored an gem of a free-kick just a couple of minutes later. At half time, the score was tied and Montreal looked set for the upset.
Then came the second half… but more on that later. Here are this week’s Virtuosos!
Virtuoso #1: Jeisson Vargas
Vargas is Montreal’s only goalscorer in the past 4 matches. Against New York, he had a few missed opportunities, but scored a wonderful free kick. His shot went a couple of feet above the wall, hit the inside of the post and went in. The keeper never had a chance. However, Vargas and the rest of the Impact players will need to create more and be clinical going forward, as they’ve only scored 6 in 6 matches, while conceding double that amount.
Virtuoso #2: Evan Bush
Evan Bush did what Evan Bush does. Clutch saves and terrible distribution. Now I will forgive the terrible distribution as it seems like the whole team generally agreed on forgetting how to give a proper pass. However, Bush pulled off 8 saves on the day, with at least two of those coming at key moments to keep the Montreal Impact in the game. But, similarly to the game against New England, the team let him down. If I, of all people, have ranked Bush as one of my top 3 players in two consecutive matches, the only conclusion can be: we’ve got a big problem.
Virtuoso #3: Any fan who watched the second half to the end
Honestly, what was that? I don’t even think the passing in my beer league has ever been as bad as the Impact’s on Saturday. 65% pass accuracy? 0 shots in the entire half? Never seen these numbers before except for bottom league dwellers in la Liga playing against the likes of FC Barcelona. And as good as they may be, the New York Red Bulls are not FC Barcelona.
Some Impact players seemed lackadaisical when giving a pass, which is unacceptable. Some players seemed to forget how to give a proper pass altogether, which is even worse. What’s the solution? I can’t say, I am no professional coach. But the team needs to refocus and get back to basics. Increase their fitness levels, play a full 90 minutes, and learn how to play the ball. I will keep watching their games all the way until the last whistle, but if they truly care about their fans, they wouldn’t put us through such a miserable spectacle ever again.
Who do you think were the top performers? What did you think of the game? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, Allez Montréal!