The Montreal Impact hosted the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, a team which historically has a hard time playing at Stade Saputo. The home side, however, had lost their last four games, unable to score a single goal in that stretch. It was a battle between historical bad form and present bad form, and luckily for Montreal, Houston continued their winless, and scoreless, streak in Stade Saputo.
Another 1-0 win for the Impact, the third out of their four wins to come with such a score line. And again, the goal was scored in the first hour by none other than rookie Jeisson Vargas. These tendencies show that the Impact start games strong, pushing for goals, but can’t sustain that effort through the 90. Hence, when they are able to play smart defence and close the door for the last half hour, they’ve shown they can win games. And we know they can defend well, even against Houston’s very potent attack. Let’s hope they can build on this result!
Anyhow, here are Montreal’s Three Virtuosos!
Virtuoso #1: Samuel “The Bulldog” Piette
At the beginning of the season, some fans could not comprehend how Samuel Piette could be on a starting lineup in the MLS. 14 games later, fans are clamoring for our little Bulldog to get the C. Oh, how fun it is to be right. Piette had an absolute wonder of a game, and it’s quite a shame he was not selected for the MLS TOTW. He added another assist to his tally, and showed exactly what he brings to the team. He is without a doubt one of the top play-readers of the team, consistently positioning himself in the best place at the most opportune time. And he’s continuing to improve his game, week in, week out.
Virtuoso #2: Papi Fanni
At 36 years of age, Rod Fanni is proving to everyone that veterans still have their place in an MLS that is getting younger. They bring experience and football IQ to the team, can be excellent short-term solutions and can serve as mentors to the younger players on the team. Montreal’s backline is better off with Fanni in it, but fans need to realize that he is not the long-term solution. Montreal needs to get a young CB who will have the opportunity to grow and learn with Fanni, not replace him when he leaves.
Virtuoso #3: Saphir Taider
Taïder started the game next to Piette in a 4-2-3-1 formation rarely used by Remi Garde until then. Interestingly enough, this seemed to liberate the Algerian, who had one of his best matches to date in the Bleu Blanc Noir outfit. His partnership with Piette in the double-pivot role relieved him from his offensive responsibilities. He seemed much more comfortable with the ball and less anxious to just “do something”. This allowed a nicer flow to the game, and the Impact seemed more in control, while their defense benefitted from this setup.
All stats courtesy of SofaScore.
Who do you think were the top performers? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, Allez Montréal!