On Saturday, the Impact brought their losing streak to four in a row, falling to Minnesota United by the score of 2-0. This was their tenth defeat in only 13 matches, officially their worst ever start to an MLS season.
This loss also provoked an unbelievable cacophony in the Twittersphere. Fans and media members alike started debating on who’s head needed to be chopped (figuratively speaking, of course). And as we’ve gotten somewhat accustomed to in our beautiful province of Quebec, the conversation took a turn for the worse when it became a question of language, with some Twitter members accusing the “English” media of pushing their personal agendas by requesting Garde to resign because he is “French”.
It was truly unfortunate, as it prevented any constructive and interesting conversation between members of a fanbase that is going through a very difficult moment. Let’s hope this was a one-off, and that the IMFC fanbase never drops so low again.
The biggest problem with Montrealers is their ridiculous need for instantaneous gratification, which clouds their thoughts and makes them overreact after any poor stretch. If you remove that dark cloud, you will quickly realize that Saturday’s game wasn’t all that bad. For instance, it was the first game where the Impact had more possession and more shots than their opponent while playing 11 versus 11. We saw the players cycle the ball properly, move the ball calmly, quickly, and most importantly on the floor, until the final third. The team even defended well, only getting punished after critical mistakes.
But the game also highlighted the Bleu Blanc Noir’s biggest problems, none of which are called Remi Garde. They couldn’t score, and often didn’t know what to do with the ball when they reached the opponent’s box. Three components are missing in this team for them to become a competitive force. First, they need a true #9, a danger man in the box who can and will score when opportunity presents itself. Second, they need a player who can shoot, who can score from far and isn’t afraid to take chances. Finally, they need a creative midfielder, a real #10, someone who can dribble a player and thread a quality ball upfront. Saphir Taïder has been doing that relatively well, but he has too many defensive responsibilities to be the answer.
Let’s stop thinking about the substitutions for a moment. They aren’t the real issue here. The lack of quality and proper player profiles are the issues.
Anyhow, here are this weekend’s Three Virtuosos:
Virtuoso #1: Samuel Piette
The Quebecer continues to improve and is still one of the most consistent players on the Impact team. He was solid all game long and did a great job breaking his opponent’s plays and recovering the ball in midfield. He is also the player who plays with the most heart and intensity, which is truly refreshing to see.
Virtuoso #2: Rod Fanni
Fanni may be 36, may be fragile and may be way past his prime, but he remains our best defender on the field. And his experience was clear to see, most notably in the second half, when he perfectly handled a 1v1 situation which could have ended with another Minnesota goal. Like Piette, Fanni is one of the few players who deserve to wear the crest, and who seem to give their all for it once on the field.
Virtuoso #3: Saphir Taïder
Taïder definitely hasn’t lived up to expectations, especially not with the DP tag lingering on everyone’s mind. However, he cannot be blamed for the Impacts poor performances (except for when he missed the ball). Over the last two games, the Algerian has recorded 11 key passes, yet has gotten exactly 0 assists. If his teammates can’t score when he gives them the opportunity, the fault cannot be his. He also isn’t Dzemaili, so it’s unfair to ask of him to shoot and score like the Swiss International did. That’s unfortunately not part of his game.
Now, let’s have our team’s back, and hope the summer transfer window brings us the players we need to become truly competitive once again.
All statistics courtesy of SofaScore.
Who do you think were the top performers? Leave your comments below, and as always, Allez Montréal!