The Montreal Impact celebrated its 25th birthday on Monday, May 21st, with a special game at home against the LA Galaxy, which would feature none other than legendary Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović. And, as we expect to see in Montreal when a big name like Zlatan is in town, the stadium was packed and it was buzzing. It was another great opportunity for Montreal, in front of 20,801 attendees, to win over some new fans.
But the task at hand was not an easy one. Although the Galaxy were going through a rough patch, with four straight losses, they still boast one of the most star-studded line-up in the league. Three DPs not named Zlatan on an MLS team which includes Zlatan… And to think the Galaxy only pay him as much as Joey Saputo pays Mancosu plus Camacho, neither of which is a regular on the team, nor can fill even a section of the stadium. Thinking about it just makes my heart ache.
However, the Swede didn’t impress those who may not know of his exploits, as a very petty reaction to a foot stomp from tiny Petrasso had him ejected before the half-time whistle. The Impact were a man up, the Galaxy had lost their superstar striker and the fans who paid to see Zlatan were left Zlatanless.
But Montreal, once again, couldn’t take advantage of their numerical superiority. Only 4 of their 18 second half shots were on target, and none challenging the keeper all that much. They could barely muster any potent opportunity, even with a staggering 70% possession in that half. The Impact have only themselves to blame for this loss. It almost feels like I am repeating myself week after week.
Anyhow, here are this week’s Three Virtuosos.
Virtuoso #1: Saphir Taïder
Taïder didn’t necessarily have an amazing game, but he did work like crazy in midfield and tried to create something for the team. His shots were unfortunately not very accurate, but his 6 key passes were the highest of any player on the field. He needs to become a bit more decisive in these games to truly live up to his expectations, but the criticism he is getting is unfair. Against the Galaxy, he played a very decent game.
Virtuoso #2: Samuel Piette
Samuel Piette is great because you can always expect him to give his all during a game, and you will never be disappointed. He is one of those players who makes up for a lack of talent with sheer energy, commitment and hustle. As I’ve noticed before, the Quebecer is really improving his distribution, and is becoming a defensive giant. He needs to learn to push up and help Saphir on offense, but in all honesty, I believe getting a proper 10 and relieving Piette of these creative duties will benefit him and the team as a whole.
Virtuoso #3: The referee (out of lack of a better option)
Probably the best game a referee has had in the MLS this season. It is worth noting that none of the calls over the 90 minutes were controversial, and he was able to handle the game without too much fuss. Those who believe Petrasso’s yellow card should have resulted in a penalty kick, because the “foul” was committed in the penalty box are wrong, and the referee made the right call. Petrasso was cautioned for misconduct, which does not warrant a direct free-kick if it was not done in the run of play. (Run of play does not mean “while the ball is in play”, it means being actively participating in the play. It is similar to a referee not calling a player offside as long as he does not actively participate in the play, thus gaining an unfair advantage due to his offside position. Hope this explanation makes sense to everyone.)
Well, that’s all for today.
All stats courtesy of SofaScore.
Who do you think were the top performers? What did you think of the game? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, Allez Montréal!