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ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEFEAT …

Reflections on the latest reverse in Minnesota ...

MLS: Montreal Impact at Minnesota United FC
Saphir Taider moves in to tackle Darwin Quintero
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another defeat ….

Not since my formative years following football, have I looked forward to a new season, as much as I am looking forward to 2019. 2018 will finally be consigned to the trash-can of history, though disappointingly not erased from the memory. Still, you have to experience the lows, to fully appreciate the highs. Or so they say …

2018, if it ever kick-starts for Montreal Impact, amounts to hoping that;

a) the revolving door in the summer mercato transpires much more successfully than its predecessors,

b) an encouraging run of MLS form can materialize, restoring some pride and optimism for the next campaign and,

c) the Canadian Championship is secured, bringing back Champions League football next season.

If someone draws a line under what has already happened this year, and starts over from this point on, accomplishing a), b) and c), will be considered success, against an adjusted target.

But for sure, Impact needs to hit the ground running come next March. Attendances look certain to diminish throughout the rest of this campaign. A bad start next year will only compound that scenario.

The latest defeat, from a very winnable match in Minnesota, was defined by six second-half minutes. Montreal, who didn’t defend badly throughout were undone by individual errors. United, not consistently great throughout, had a couple of capable match-winners.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Minnesota United FC
Loons fans happy with success over Montreal.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t that much between the sides, but the best team did win, and Minnesota has been much better than Montreal this season at eking out results despite limited, shall we say, “talent”, since that seems to be the topical word these days.

The Impact are now left scoreless in 4 matches, a dubious club record that delights no-one. Where is the next goal coming from? Houston Dynamo will be hoping they’re not the victim on Saturday evening. But the signs for the Texans are ominous. Historically, Montreal is 5-0-0 with 15 goals scored and 2 against, over Las Naranjas at Stade Saputo.

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

Evan Bush – 5.5/10 –Faultless for the most part. Managed to get a good touch on the shot producing the first goal, but not enough to prevent the ball squirming into the net. Positioning looked suspect on the second.

Chris Duvall – 6/10 –Clearly more comfortable on his accustomed side, that when playing on the left the previous weekend. Steady game, no errors to highlight, and coherent in joining the attack.

Jukka Raitala – 6/10 –Performed well in the central role, and dealt with the threat from Quintero well, despite a few anxious moments leading up to the interval.

Rod Fanni – 7/10 –Continues to underline the class difference, even at 36, that comes in comparing a career played out close to the very top against those that surround him. Success in most of his face to face duels. Where would Impact have been this season without this addition? Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Daniel Lovitz – 5/10 –Started poorly, played his way back into the game, but can’t be forgiven for his sluggish reaction to Ibarra’s presence leading to the second goal.

Samuel Piette – 7/10 – A good performance from Sam, who did more work in the opponent’s half than what we’re accustomed. It’s not difficult to shine in this current Montreal side, but stand out he did.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Minnesota United FC
Samuel Piette. Rivalled only by Rod Fanni, as Montreal’s top performer, on a disappointing evening.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Alejandro Silva – 4.5/10 –Far, far too casual with his distribution leading to concession of the first, key, goal. Still think there’s a player in there trying to break out. Montreal certainly not getting the best from him. Looks like someone who can add dimension to a good team, but not one who can help a struggling side develop.

Saphir Taider – 6.5/10 –Deserves credit for good energy and effort. Looked like anything positive Montreal might create would come either from him or Piatti, yet the accomplishment column was blank at the final whistle. Wouldn’t say his head went down but was less effective after the goals.

Raheem Edwards – 6.5/10 –Still flatters a little, only to deceive, although not unusual from a young player with only fleeting MLS opportunities so far. Would like to see Edwards persevered with. Possesses undoubted ability. A microcosm of his performance came in the second-half, cleverly drawing Calvo into a foul, before floating the resultant free-kick high over the goal. The only Montreal player to really trouble Bobby Shuttleworth all evening.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Minnesota United FC
Edwards, fouled by Francisco Calvo. Impact felt there was handling offence also which could’ve produced a second yellow card for the home captain.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Ignacio Piatti – 5/10– The Maestro is going through a difficult period. Not his influential self, things are not coming off, and opponents are consistently finding ways to nullify his effect. The one occasion he did manage to produce something worthy of note, the cross-bar came to Shuttleworth’s rescue. Still looks immensely capable, but things not going his way currently.

Matteo Mancosu – 5/10 – Worked hard, but ultimately ineffective. Cannot possibly be match-fit, and it showed.

Subs

Ken Krolicki– 5.5/10 – A more positive performance from Ken, but then it had to be – Minnesota scored their second straight after his introduction – as Montreal chased the game. Brought his usual energy but wasn’t able to influence the outcome.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel – 5/10 – Unable to trouble the opposition defense after his introduction on 71 mins. To be fair his service was neither quality nor plentiful resulting in a low impact display.