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OVER THE HUMP - Piatti Brilliance Not Enough for 10-man Impact ...

Goals galore, but another defeat ...

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Oh Dear! Pick the bare bones out of that one. Boring it was not!

Talking points aplenty last Saturday in Stade Saputo’s first hosting of 2018. Was it a penalty, was it not? Should he have seen red, or was it merely yellow? Do we applaud Ciman, or do we sulk in disgust, for he never, ever, hit one like that for Montreal?

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Montreal Impact
An ultimately successful return for Laurent Ciman (seen here with Carlos Vela), who capped his day with a very fine goal.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

All in all an amazing 90 minutes, no matter how you slice or dice events unfolding before expectant, then demoralized eyes.

I’d seen something similar once before. Way back in 1988/89 season. My Irish club, Glentoran, 1-4 down at home to Coleraine in a League Championship fixture with only 18 mins left, came back against 9-men to win 5-4. Equally dramatic it was. Like Montreal, the losing visitors even had a hat-trick hero, and now I know just how Coleraine fans felt on that far-off, Belfast day. At least it was sunny here.

I never ever saw Remi Garde as animated as when Piatti planted his sumptuous third into the net. The Frenchman was pumped! You could tell, he felt that after losing a man and surviving a saved penalty, that this was the breathing space his team needed to get something from the game.

It should’ve been. It wasn’t. Actually, it turned out to be not even close.

People can argue all day long about penalty decisions (there were three, there might have been four), the red card, the non-red card, why VAR wasn’t called (I hate VAR by the way), the lateness of Montreal’s substitutions, but at the end of the day the Blue/Blanc/Noir came up short once again.

Blaming other factors will only serve Montreal Impact by keeping it in the league’s basement level.

Remi Garde will know that only too well. Let’s face it, he needs to start getting the best from players, who are under-performing, trying to settle in, or simply not up to the job any more. The hand dealt to him was scrap, he’s changed the maximum number of cards possible, and now tries to make something worth betting on, juggling the replacements. If only it were just a game of poker …..

If two players deserve absolution from the crime of leading 3-1 and losing 3-5, one is the wonderful Piatti, who almost left the pitch a loser having scored 4 times, and but for the width of the goal-frame that would’ve happened. Without doubt the best performer on display, I wonder if sometimes Piatti thinks about what might have been had he joined a more consistently performing outfit.

The other is Evan Bush, a revelation this season, even if a theory still abounds, crediting him for goal-line positioning and agility, but not quite for command of the box, coming off his line. Bush, a more confident ‘keeper than before, was phenomenal against LA, saving his second penalty-kick of the season, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep his team in the contest, and almost saving a second penalty in the game; a full hand met Vela’s kick, but the ball still found its way into the net.

Bush earned his pardon for culpability on the final goal of the afternoon.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Montreal Impact
Evan Bush - unlucky not to save a second penalty-kick, scored by Carlos Vela.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

A big job then this week for Remi Garde, in trying to lift players’ dented confidence, in preparation for a visit to Atlanta at the weekend. The prospect is laced with trepidation, although sometimes adversity can produce some strange effects. Only a fool though would predict any points heading north to Canada. Most Impact fans will settle for respectability in the scoreline.


Player ratings and comment, as I saw it . . . .

Evan Bush – 8/10 –Best game of the season and he conceded five. Says it all, really. Penalty save, another amazing stop from Vela, unlucky with the same player’s spot-kick, made a multitude of saves. Could have been more commanding with third goal conceded (Raitala OG) but remained rooted on the line.

Chris Duvall – 5/10 –Not yet comfortable with wing-back role. Struggled to maintain control on the flank and didn’t see much of him pressing forward, which became difficult after the Cabrera expulsion.

Victor Cabrera – 5/10 –Possibly unfortunate with the red card, having to come across to cover for the out of position Camacho, but challenge was a clumsy one, much like some of his earlier passes.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Montreal Impact
Victor Cabrera receives the third red card of his Impact career from referee Allen Chapman.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Camacho – 4.5/10 –Struggled again, looked slow and was caught out of position for the penalty award in the first half, leading to Cabrera’s red card. Had a difficult day against Urena, who was on top for most of the 90.

Jukka Raitala – 5/10 –Best moment the assist for Piatti’s third goal. Worst moment, scoring the OG for LA’s third goal. Not enough of a presence and fell short of requirements.

Daniel Lovitz – 5/10 –Usual tenacious performance, and a challenging afternoon against 20-year-old Rossi who looks a decent prospect. Managed Rossi reasonably well until the moment he rashly gave away the penalty which put LA in front for the first time.

Samuel Piette – 5.5/10 –Sweated blood for the team as always, however again his game suffered against a fluid opponent enjoying numerical superiority.

Alejandro Silva – 6/10 –A better offensive contribution, which may have been extended had the Impact remained at 11 players. After the expulsion however, had to concentrate more on defense with less opportunity to go forward. Nice cross which lead to opening goal.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Montreal Impact
We saw glimpses of promise from Alejandro Silva, Saturday, against LA.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Saphir Taider – 5/10 –A frustrating day, and one where we didn’t see the Algerian at his best. Clearly comfortable on the ball, his team needed more from him in a torrid second-half.

Jeisson Vargas – 4.5/10 – Plenty of effort, but a quiet day from the diminutive Chilean. Moved into a wide MF position after the red card, but struggled to make an impact.

Ignacio Piatti – 9.5/10– Brilliant performance. Must have left the field with back pain after carrying his team-mates for so long. Superb hat-trick, and incredibly unlucky when only the width of the goal-frame denied him a late fourth goal.

Subs

Ken Krolicki– 5/10 - Difficult game to come into late on. Plenty of industry in his short time on the field. No real effect.

Matteo Mancosu – Not on the field long enough to be rated, although might’ve scored in connecting with the late Piatti effort that rebounded from the cross-bar.

Michael Petrasso– Not on the filed long enough to be rated. The positive is having him back healthy again.