The long awaited return of Laurent Ciman and new expansion team LAFC has happened. It is without a doubt that looking at the statistics of Piatti scoring three goals and Bush’s 14 saves, one would assume that the Impact came out with a win but it was just the opposite.
Minutes into the first half, the Impact was refused a goal after it was deemed that Lovitz, who had scored a header off a cross, was offside. LAFC came out with their own opportunity but Bush managed a toe save to keep the game leveled.
In the 10th minute Silva sent in a cross that keeper, Miller punched out but just as far as Piatti who made no mistake and put the ball in the back of the net. Only five minutes later Piatti, who did very Piatti things, dribble through the LAFC backline before getting tripped in the box by keeper, Miller. Referee Allen Chapman awarded the Impact with a penalty which Piatti converted successfully.
LAFC got their first of the game on the board in the 24th minute. They were awarded a free kick at the top of the 18 yard box and none other than ex-Impact player Laurent Ciman curled a perfect shot in the top left corner.
The Impact was faced with adversity yet again when Cabrera took down an LAFC player in the box in the 31st minute. Not only was LAFC awarded the penalty but Cabrera was also ejected from the game. Ureña stepped up for the shot but Bush, again, came up big with a save on a nicely placed shot in the bottom corner.
Even down to ten men, the Impact managed to seize their opportunities in the first half. Raitala sent a perfect lob over the defensive line to Piatti. Piatti with an incredible volley got the ball in the back of the net to complete his first half hat trick.
At the half, the Impact seemed in a decent spot even being down a man. They were up 3-1 and Bush was on his A-game. A minor adjustment by Bob Bradley at the half prove to be too much for the Impact to handle.
From the corner in the 52nd minute, LAFC started their comeback with a goal to reduce the lead set by the Impact in the first half. Five minutes later they tied the game up off an own goal by Raitala.
While the Impact seem to be holding on to the tie because of Bush who was stellar and making key saves at key moments the pressure being place by LAFC ended up being too much. They were awarded their second penalty of the game in the 83rd minute of the game. While Bush got a hand on the Vela penalty kick he was unable to keep this one out.
The Impact attempted to fight to get back into the game but LAFC was dealing with the last minute push well. In the final minutes of the game Blessing of LAFC got lucky when Bush mishandled a ball and gifted a goal to the opposing player.
Again, the Impact was faced with adversity and was unable to provide the fighting effort to hold on to a considerable lead. Giving up two quick goals coming back from the half was unexpected for fans, players and coaching staff. Overall, again the Impact showed two different performances from the first half to the second and let the red card, while certainly game changing, be the deciding factor of the game. What it comes down to is the Impact need to look in the mirror because the red card was disappointing their response was worse.
- Tactical Switch: Coming into the second half LAFC made a tactical change as a consequence of the red card that went to the Impact, they took out a defensive player for an offensive one. The Impact although did not reply to this change and their tactics were definitely put into question and many players looked lost on the pitch. Piatti was left to fend for himself up front while Vargas was not as useful on the wing. Overall, while Garde has manage to outclass Toronto tactics in the first home game he seem to have no answer to the move made by Bob Bradley.
- Stop the Heroics: A lot have spoken about the Piatti heroics, scoring the hat trick, and the Bush heroics, with the quantity of saves made. At the end of the day, the heroics are getting old. Heroics will happen it’s normal but when it seems to be the only part of the Impact’s game play lately a bigger issue needs to be observed. The Impact is rebuilding and these are some issues that will need to be looked at because at some point Piatti and Bush can’t always be playing to be the heroes it should be that occasional thing that gives a team their edge if anything!
- When Tired is Better than Fresh Legs: It was surprising how long it took Garde to make a change, something that has become a repeated issue in the eyes of many. Garde is not afraid to only use two changes in a game and seems to take his time to make any changes, a very unconventional way of coaching especially in the MLS. The physicality of the league and the amount of running players do results in fatigue being present in many on the pitch, would fresh legs earlier in the game have helped the Impact not let two goals in within the first fifteen minutes of the second half? Maybe Garde feels he has no better options on the bench but even at that are fresh legs that are maybe not as good worse than tired legs that are a little better? These are questions many will ponder about but unfortunately never get the answer too.
MTL – G-Evan Bush; D-Chris Duvall (Michael Petrasso 85’), Víctor Cabrera, Rudy Camacho, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Alejandro Silva (Matteo Mancosu 85’), Saphir Taider; A-Jeisson Vargas (Ken Krolicki 80’), Ignacio Piatti
Unused substitutes – Clément Diop, Louis Béland-Goyette, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Raheem Edwards
LAFC – G-Tyler Miller; D-Jordan Harvey (Omar Gaber 68’), Dejan Jakovic (Latif Blessing 46’), Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour; M-Benny Feilhaber, Mark-Anthony Kaye (Eduard Atuesta 75’); A-Diego Rossi, Marco Ureña, Carlos Vela
Unused substitutes– Charlie Lyon, Tristan Blackmon, Aaron Kovar, Rodrigo Pacheco
MTL – Piatti 9’
MTL – Piatti (PEN) 16’
LAFC – Ciman 24’
MTL – Piatti (Raitala) 43’
LAFC – Feilhaber (Ureña, Vela) 52’
LAFC – Own Goal (Raitala) 57’
LAFC – Vela (PEN) 83’
LAFC – Blessing 89’
LAFC – Miller 15’
MTL – Piatti 25’
MTL – Silva 84’
MTL – Cabrera 31’