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Punchless Impact Pierced at the Death!

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Reflections and Player Ratings from Toyota Park.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire
The key duel of the evening was Adams v Piatti. The Englishman won!
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If there was a good time to play Chicago, it was probably Wednesday evening past: The Fire, not enjoying some decidedly indifferent home form, a low to non-existent decibel level from the stands negating the influence of home advantage, and the return to defence of Rod Fanni. What could go wrong?

It all looked encouraging throughout most of a first-half only really remarkable for an uncharacteristic mis-control by Piatti, when presented with an opportunity he’d normally gobble up effortlessly. But surely there would be others …. Right?

Wrong!

An insipid second-half by the Impact from an attacking perspective ensued, and despite an admirable display in the art of defending, the Montrealers were undone at the death, allowing Fire’s Kevin Ellis to carry the ball farther and longer than he could’ve expected, before placing a deflected shot past Bush.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire
Kevin Ellis, Fire’s match-winner looks for some fans to celebrate with ...
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

With one minute plus added time left, there was little opportunity for any response, let alone one from a team stuck in a defensive rut from minute 46.

It was the sort of game that compels dismissive Europeans, all too prepared to conveniently forget that dross football actually does exist on that side of the Atlantic too, to say, “Bahh, MLS? I can’t watch that stuff!”

It WAS … hard to watch.

It’s evidently clear that when Piatti is nullified, the Impact are toothless. This season’s stats alone will underline that. It was mildly shocking however to see how a young Englishman unable to get a game in any of his home country’s top four divisions and with only 4 MLS appearances behind him, was able to shackle MLS’ Player of the Week.

Wednesday evening’s defeat in Chicago brought much disappointment and frustration to the Impact ranks. But despite an underwhelming performance those watching with interest would probably have contented themselves with a point gained from a potentially difficult road-fixture. That contentedness would still have contained a nagging element of, “Under-par Chicago team, we should be gathering three points here,” so to eventually lose the game was deflating to say the least.

As well as quite a few other weaknesses to overcome, the Impact needs to learn game management and to close-out football matches.

Their inability to possess the ball doesn’t help.


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

Evan Bush – 7/10 –Consistent. Beaten at the death by a deflected shot but couldn’t be faulted. Not one of his busier games, handling both clean and good.

Michael Petrasso – 5.5/10 –Not a great return to the side, nor a disastrous one either. Needs to find that balance between defense and the attack he’s always willing to support.

Jukka Raitala – 7/10 –Contributed well in the heart of a defense which kept the main threats, Nikolic and Gordon muted. More evidence of improving form.

Rod Fanni – 7/10 –Great to see the club’s best defender back in action. A confident display, except for one anxious, perhaps lucky moment, when misjudging a ball, he almost let Katai in on goal. Everyone looks more comfortable when Fanni’s on the field.

Daniel Lovitz – 5.5/10 –The usual tenacious display. Should’ve handled Ellis better in the lead up to the goal, but not the only one. Provided a dangerous ball into the area, first-half, for Jackson-Hamel, who was just too late to connect.

Samuel Piette – 7.5/10 –Another good performance following on from Saturday. Unlucky to be the player whose deflection led to the only goal. Recovered a lot of ball and was consistent throughout.

Alejandro Silva – 5.5/10 –Not as effective as in his previous appearance against NERevs. Doesn’t seem to relish the defensive responsibilities inherited, probably effecting the positive side of his game. There was a spark on Saturday, but still waiting for this player to ignite.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire
Silva dispossesses Schweinsteiger. The Uruguayan failed to impose himself on the match.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Saphir Taider – 5.5/10 –Another energetic performance which didn’t extend to the closing phase of the game. Seems to put so much into the first 70 mins, then fades over last 20. Probably fair to say this was an inefficient display from Taider, who lacked cohesion with team-mates.

Raheem Edwards – 5/10 –Poor performance from one of Saturday’s success stories. Too much dribbling up blind alleys resulting in ball turn-over. Still willing to hustle and press, which was behind any positive contribution he made on the night.

Ignacio Piatti – 5/10– After the Lord Mayor’s Show ….. If Saturday was one of his best in a Montreal shirt, then this was one of his quietest. Too easily marshalled by an inexperienced rookie. Untypical of The Maestro and not a performance that will live in the memory long, for the right reasons at least.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel – 5/10 – Hoping his two goals on Saturday would prove to be the catalyst to a more imposing future in blue and black stripes. It still might be, but not on this night’s evidence. Too lack-luster. Did provide a nice set-up for Piatti, who uncharacteristically fluffed a decent opportunity.

Subs

Louis Beland-Goyette – 6/10– Performed adequately and was key in a major moment, clearing a loose ball with Katai about to pounce.

Dominic Oduro– 5.5/10 – Initial contribution was to get caught off-side breaking down what looked a promising offensive. Fired a shot across goal late on but lacked accuracy.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire
Oduro’s one opportunity saw him pull the ball wide from a decent position
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Matteo MancosuDidn’t feature long enough to be rated.