Montreal Impact were able to get back to winning ways last night with a relatively comfortable 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. It was a necessary performance from a team that has struggled with their form as of late.
Right from the opening whistle the Impact looked to be the aggressors. They nearly capitalized on it as well when Urruti struck the crossbar in the second minute of the match. However, their aggressiveness did not lead to disorganization as it sometimes does. Remi Garde had his tactics spot on tonight as his team’s pressing kept Salt Lake off their game all night.
The pressing would come when Salt Lake attempted to play out from the back. At those points any of the three Montreal attacking players would press the ball while the other two would try to cut off passing angles in support of the press. Meanwhile Taïder would stay in a pocket right behind the three attacking players looking to pick off passes when he could. This allowed Montreal to create numerous turnovers and counter-attacking opportunities.
When the Impact went on the attack, they were consistently looking for an overlapping action down the right side of the field that would feature any combination of Browne, Schome and Sagna. This action would lead to a first half goal for the first time in twelve matches. It was a cutback from the right hand side that found Browne in the box. The Panamanian proceeded to calmly slot it home right before the end of the half.
The Impact would implement these tactics, with great success, all match long. A penalty in the middle of the second half converted by Taïder essentially ended the fixture. Even with Real Salt Lake`s late consolation goal, the Impact were never in real danger of dropping points.
Piette and Sagna were the two best players on the field for Montreal, in my opinion. In his return, Piette was a sensation as he allowed Montreal to control the midfield. While Sagna caused problems all night long by bombing down the right side looking for the aforementioned overlap.
If there was one area of concern, it would be the final third. The Impact could have easily won this game by three or more had they had more composure. The attacking unit as a whole needs to have better collective decision making and calmness. I would guarantee this would lead to more goals.
The Impact will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday at home against Orlando F.C.
IMFC: Bush - Sagna, Camacho, Raitala, Lovitz - Shome, Piette, Taider - Browne (Braille-Guillard, 72), Urruti (Diallo, 94), Choiniere (Krolicki 72).
RSL: Rimando - Lennon, Glad, Holt, Toia (Hererra, 84), Portillo, Kreilach - Savarino, Rusnak (Baird, 57) Plata (Saucedo, 59), Johnson
Officials - Fotis Bazakos
Asst Refs - Charles Mogante, Claudiu Badea
VAR - Jose Carlos Roberto.