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Insipid Impact A Distant Second

Abstract and tired display sends Henry’s men home..... Impact .... 0 .... Orlando City .... 1

Orlando City SC v Montreal Impact: Knockout Round - MLS Is Back Tournament
The critical moment as Rod Fanni’s back-pass eludes the stranded Diop, gifting the only goal to Orlando’s Tesho Akindele.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The only thing Montreal Impact could feel pleased about last night was the margin of defeat.

There weren’t any other positives to take from defeat, the performance of young Luis Binks apart.

When an 18-year-old with only a handful of MLS appearances behind him, is comfortably your team’s best player on a difficult evening, one must wonder about the contributions of experienced colleagues around him.

If there is any such thing as a 0-1 slaughter, we saw it last evening.

Montreal again begun a game on the back foot, rode their luck to preserve equality when they should have been a couple down after 20 minutes and were far too slow and predictable in build-up play. Too easily and often they were sliced open, enjoyed little or no possession and chased shadows throughout most of the match.

A truly insipid display.

Considering his team had been outgunned in three of four tournament games, when asked post-game, if the problem was more one of tactics or player personnel, Thierry Henry side-stepped the question, preferring only to say how his team needed to improve and find the right balance, adding, “I have only arrived here.”

To the coach’s credit no player was thrown under the bus. But it was easy to detect a response designed more to protect his squad rather than deliver any raw thoughts circulating in his mind.

Frankly there were too many poor performances last night in Montreal Impact shirts; not the only Orlando evening during which too many did not reach the mark.

Thierry Henry knows an injection of quality is required. It’s as simple as that!

Orlando City SC v Montreal Impact: Knockout Round - MLS Is Back Tournament
Clement Diop prevents a potential second goal by diving successfully at the feet of Daryl Dike.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Amazingly in a game in which Orlando should have been out of sight, it was an unfortunate mis-understanding between a tiring, over-worked Rod Fanni (38) and Clement Diop, his goalkeeper, that gifted the winner to Canadian international, Tesho Akindele on 60 mins.

Only poor finishing and a couple of stops by Diop prevented a much heavier defeat, and even then Romell Quioto had a gilt-edged chance to level matters with ten minutes left to play. Meeting Corrales’ left-wing centre the Honduran headed wide, but really should have converted.

An equalizer was immensely more than the Impact deserved and had they taken this game to penalties it would’ve been a travesty of considerable proportions.

In the first-half, Peyrera missed badly from 8 yards in only the sixth minute as Orlando swarmed all over Montreal from the first whistle. Mueller should have converted Nani’s early cross on 21 mins when Diop’s finger-nail touch may have made the difference and twice with half-time approaching, the game’s outstanding performer, Mendez, saw a couple of attempts flounder, one when Diop saved, the other after he lifted the ball over the cross-bar from 16 yards.

Ecuadoran international Mendez, who was running amok, finally did have the ball in the net on 45, but Akindele with whom he exchanged short passes, was deemed offside during the slick build-up.

SOCCER: JUL 25 MLS - Orlando City SC v Montreal Impact
Sam Piette in a race for the ball with the game’s outstanding performer Jhegson Mendez (right)

Somewhere amongst all of that, Samuel Piette managed to meet across with his head from 7 yards which Gallese, in the Orlando goal, threatened to make a meal of. The goalkeeper gathered at the second fumbling attempt.

Orlando’s Peruvian international custodian could’ve left after that. He really wasn’t much required later in the evening.

IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Fanni (Lappalainen, 72), Binks, Corrales - Piette (Urruti, 87), Wanyama, Taider - Okwonkwo (Raitala, 46), Bojan (Jackson-Hamel, 64), Quioto.

Orlando (probable) - Gallese - Ruan (Smith, 87), Antonio Carlos, Jansson, Joao Moutinho - Rosell, Mendez (Dezert, 83) - Pereyra (Perea, 75) - Mueller (Schlegal, 83), Akindele (Dike, 75), Nani.

Match Officials -

Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Asst Refs: Nick Uranga, Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
VAR: Allen Chapman