It’s a lazy old line we often hear trotted out, when it comes to Montreal Impact and Nacho Piatti. “Stop Piatti and you stop the Impact.”
But how much accuracy surrounds the statement?
Quite a bit as it turns out, especially when you talk about road games, where to be fair Montreal has not been stellar, with or without the Argentine.
Since Piatti joined the club towards the latter end of 2014, he’s missed 18 MLS away matches. Impact has lost 12 of those games and drawn 6. Not a single road victory in sight! Only 9 goals have been scored, 0.5 per game, and the only Impact player to register more than once has been Dominic Oduro. Montreal has failed to breach their opponents’ rearguard on 10 of those occasions, including the last four-in-a-row. That would be six in-a-row, but for a 89th minute Michael Salazar strike at Houston, with his side already dead and buried, and 0-3 in arrears.
Strikingly, Montreal in its last 9 MLS away games without Piatti has scored 3 times and lost 7 times!
Contrast that to the record away from home when Piatti plays. Won 15, Drawn 14, Lost 30. Still not great, but significantly improved.
Piatti looks certain to miss tomorrow’s encounter with Sporting Kansas, and that probably pleases Graham Zusi and Botond Barath, the SKC protagonists most likely to face him the closest, no end.
Montreal needs to find other ways to cause problems. They must be bold, despite lacking their leader, the one they look to, to make things happen. They have to be brave, and possess the football, not merely knocking it around in space at the back, but weaving patterns higher up the field. The others must standup and be counted.
From the noises coming out of training, Harry Novillo is most likely to slot into the Piatti role on the left side, suggesting Orji Okwonkwo may retain his place on the right. May, because he’s been the last of the internationalists to return to the club after last week’s excursions. If Remi Garde considers fatigue a factor, then it opens up opportunities for Mathieu Choiniere or possibly Clement Bayiha to provide width on the right.
Garde of course is astute enough to change the formation to adapt to the ingredients at his disposal, so we may see a less predictable gameplan from the French coach.
Brilliant as he has been for Montreal, and I’m not about to be writing his epitaph just yet, the Impact will not always have Piatti to rely on.
Tomorrow afternoon in Kansas City certainly presents an opportunity for brave hearts and courage to prevail. It’s time for others, both collectively and individually, to step up and show that this developing Montreal Impact is no longer merely a one-man band.
Is this team, that Remi Garde continues to mould, now ready for its next big step?
It’s like walking to school on your own for the first time, without a mother’s hand to hold.
What do you fans think?
What is your opinion in respect of Montreal Impact’s dependence on Ignacio Piatti?
This poll is closed
The team is now ready to adapt effectively when he is unavailable.
The team is closer than ever to adapt effectively when Piatti is missing, but not quite there yet
The team will still badly miss his presence.