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Over the Hump - Impact Grind Out Rare Road Win & Player Ratings

Early midweek reflections on a fine result in Seattle

MLS: Montreal Impact at Seattle Sounders FC
The challenge preceding the incident which brought a red card for Kelvin Leerdam.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s great to discover weaknesses, and still win.

Montreal Impact will feel immensely happy and satisfied with Saturday night’s result in Seattle, however the second-half display against an under-strength opponent will have raised a few question marks.

An even first-half with Montreal looking comfortable, suggested a rare road win was on the cards, especially after the harsh 40th minute dismissal of Kelvin Leerdam, for a light slap on Daniel Lovitz. Leerdam’s reaction was silly. He should have known better. I’m not sure what referees are being told these days, but a quiet word from Mr Elfath to both players would’ve been sufficient. It was that innocuous. Instead we had VAR replays, all the rigmarole that goes with that and yellow and red cards brandished, Seattle’s third red in three games.

International Champions Cup 2017 - Manchester United v Manchester City
Ismail Elfath - showed red card after Video Review, to Kelvin Leerdam
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

But although the Impact did conjure a winning goal on 60 mins, it was often they, and not Seattle, who looked the short-handed team for much of the second-half.

The goal was all about Nacho Piatti, slaloming between Seattle’s two central defenders, Chad Marshall, who was sent the wrong way, and World Cup-bound Roman Torres, before laying off a perfect pass for partner, Jeisson Vargas. Vargas didn’t even have to think, so good was the delivery, as he dispatched the ball into the corner of Frei’s goal.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Seattle Sounders FC
As usual Piatti’s contribution was key.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Remi Garde will be concerned at how little possession his side had during the second half, and how they dealt with the ball when they did have it. He will be pleased though at how his team got the job done. The character of this side is growing.

Rod Fanni is undoubtedly a calming influence at the back, but too many times in the second-half Seattle were able to shake off a marker and get on the end of a cross or set-piece. Anything that went goal-wards was dealt with by Evan Bush, who now has two shut-outs in a row. No Impact goalkeeper has ever had three in succession, in MLS-play!

MLS: Montreal Impact at Seattle Sounders FC
A busier second-half than first for Evan Bush, and delight at the final whistle.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

An earlier introduction to the action for Alejandro Silva may have reclaimed the initiative, but in entering the fray on 81 mins, the pattern was already set.

A great result, and a nice list of things to work on before taking on New England Revolution on Friday evening.


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

Evan Bush – 7.5/10 – Perfect positional sense all night. Looking overall a more confident goalkeeper. Best save came when he stopped Lodeiro’s low effort with his right boot.

Victor Cabrera – 6.5/10 – Been very steady over the last three games, not just this one. Provided good support to Duvall.

Daniel Lovitz - 6/10 – Adequate performance by the left-sided defender. Involved in the incident with Leerdam when the red card was produced. Have seen less of his dangerous crossing in the last two games, where he’s had to concentrate more on defending.

Jukka Raitala – 6/10 – We’ve yet to see Jukka play his position. Performed adequately alongside Fanni.

Rod Fanni – 7/10 – Influential and calming in defence. Showed presence, something that rubs off on those around him. Best defender on the night.

Chris Duvall – 5.5/10 – First outing of the season, so probably needs games. Had some uncomfortable moments facing Bwana.

Samuel Piette – 6.5/10 – Had a better first-half, than second. Struggled to contain Lodeiro second-half, once the Seattle man got into his groove.

Saphir Taider – 7/10 – Another quality contribution, although seemed to fade somewhat in the latter stages. Possibly a result of all the travel undertaken last week. Played a key role in the goal, shutting down Waylon Francis, before back-heeling to Piatti.

Ken Krolicki – 6/10 – Great energy, worked hard defensively, forced errors, and made some too. Still waiting to see if Ken can offer anything offensively.

Jeisson Vargas – 7/10 – One goal, simple execution, but you have to be there, and one very fine free-kick in the first-half which brought an excellent save from Stefan Frei. Would like to see him involved more.

Ignacio Piatti – 7/10 – The goal was all about Piatti’s art on the ball. Had one other chance in the first-half blocked by Chad Marshall. Got the better of the defender second time around.

Subs

Anthony Jackson Hamel – 6/10 – Introduced in the 72nd minute. Never really had a chance to show attacking intent. Was forced to invoke the defensive element of his game.

Alejandro Silva (81), showed a couple of decent touches, but not on long enough to affect events.