From the announcement of the lineup Impact fans were skeptical of the outcome of this game, but honestly I think no one expected the outcome to go this bad. Piatti, the most valuable player of the team for the last few seasons, was left out of the 18 as a precautionary measure for a minor abductor injury.
In the 13th minute, Saphir Taider tried to roll over the ball to keep possession but his foot slipped over the ball and he caught a New England player on the shin with his cleats. The unfortunate sequence, while completely accidental, was still dangerous and was deemed to be worthy of a red card by referee José Carlos Rivero. Situations like such are judgement calls by the referee and while harsh the action was extremely dangerous, it could have ended very differently for Caicedo (see below).
RED CARD: @impactmontreal's Saphir Taider shown a straight red for this reckless tackle on the #NERevs' Luis Caicedo. Luis looks to be okay. pic.twitter.com/v9IrzpZOH1— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 7, 2018
The Impact had two choices from this point on: roll up your sleeves and fight or crumble at the expense of your opponent. The Impact, unfortunately, did the latter. The Montrealers, while not dominant in the first few minutes, were in the game but from the red card on, they looked completely lost on the pitch.
At the 20th minute, Cabrera was beat in an aerial duel and Bunbury made no mistake of capitalizing on the chance. Only 10 minutes later the Impact almost made their lives even harder. Cabrera and Raitala both committed fouls in the box which resulted in a penalty for the Revolution. The play, while very evident that there was a penalty (given the two fouls), was reviewed and after a lengthy review, confirmed.
The length of the delay may have played in the favor of the Impact because the shot by Fagundez was at the perfect height for a goalkeeper to make a stop. Evan Bush did just that, by diving the right way and stopping the shot of his adversary. A stop like such could have been a momentum shift for the Impact but it wasn't.
Evan Bush garde son équipe dans le match!— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) April 7, 2018
Bush with a huge save on Fagundez!#IMFC | #NEvMTL pic.twitter.com/pNZ859TktO
Given the delays, because of the red card and the penalty review, there was 8 minutes added to the half. The Revolution managed to double their lead when a ball passed through everybody in the box and made its way towards Farrell, who made no mistake when it got to him.
In the final seconds of the half, Jackson got the only decent chance of almost the entire game, when he fought his way through two defenders to get a good look at the net but a shot with his weak foot was just that, weak.
The second half was very similar to the prior, with complete New England domination. In the 71st minute, Fagundez was completely forgotten in the box and took an easy shot from very close range.
In the 80th minute, a cross came in from the corner and Bush made an attempt to punch the ball but came up just short. This allowed Zahibo to have enough time and space to tap the ball into an empty net.
Overall this was a hard one to watch and most likely a hard one to play. The Impact fell apart after the red card and could not come together to produce much of anything. For a team that showed a lot of resiliency and fight in their first games of the season this was not an easy sight to see. It will be interesting to see how they bounce back from this one because it was many steps back from who they had become this season. The world isn't over as the Impact have done a lot of good this season but walking away from Foxborough the Impact need to individually and collectively reflect on what went wrong.
- Connecting is Key: The Impact biggest struggle was connecting on any passes. Most of their passes would go to the opponent which would leave the Impact players out of positions. Poor passing was the direct cause of the penalty and the third goal. It is one thing to be dominated and get scored on but it is another to be giving your opponent perfect opportunities to score.
- Keeper Not to Blame: It would be simple to look at the scoreline and say it was for sure the fault of the keeper. Bush made four big saves during the game, including one penalty stop. He gave his team a chance to stay in the game. He also came up with another big stop when the game was at 2-0 which isn't an insurmountable deficit. All in all a keepers job is to keep his team in the game which Bush did (to a certain extent) but unfortunately he was almost alone in this process.
- Other Side of the Coin: The Impact found themselves on the other side of the situation just last week. They had a man up advantage quite early in the match against Seattle, but oddly enough it is Seattle that dominated the majority of the match. The difference? Resiliency! The Impact did not use the red card as fuel to win the game to make a statement, instead they allowed themselves to be walked on by their adversaries.
MTL – G-Evan Bush; D-Alejandro Silva, Víctor Cabrera, Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz (Raheem Edwards 72'); M-Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Ken Krolicki; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Louis Béland-Goyette 55'), Jeisson Vargas (Dominic Oduro 86’)
Unused substitutes – Clément Diop, Rudy Camacho, Chris Duvall, Shamit Shome
NER– G-Matt Turner; D-Andrew Farrell, Jalil Anibaba, Claude Dielna, Gabriel Somi; M-Wilfried Zahibo, Luis Caicedo, Scott Caldwell (Kelyn Rowe 65'), Diego Fagundez (Krisztian Nemeth 78”), Cristian Penilla; F-Teal Bunbury (Juan Agudelo 70')
Unused substitutes – Brad Knighton, Chris Tierney, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Brandon Bye
NER - Bunbury 20' (Zahibo)
NER - Farrell 45'+6' (Fagundez and Somi)
NER - Fagundez 71' (Rowe and Agudelo)
NER - Zahibo 80' (Rowe)
NER - Caicedo 85'
MTL – Raitala 89’
MTL– Taider 14’