Montreal Impact had its third player dismissed in the last three games last evening, casting minds back to less disciplined days under Klopas and Biello.
And, as at Vancouver last Sunday, it’s been a major factor behind losing an important game.
They simply cannot keep giving themselves a mountain to climb like this. Despite performance improvement, on-field discipline has gone to pot, undermining some admirable progress achieved.
It’s an acute source of irritation to coach Thierry Henry who didn’t disguise his annoyance at the post-match video-conference. No-one knows more than the Impact coach himself that he must address and resolve the issue now. Each of the three red cards in question were as easily avoidable as they were unnecessary.
Is it linked to travel frustrations in this most unusual of seasons? Referring to each of the incidents Thierry Henry had this to say:
“I don’t know. You can find a lot of excuses. At the end of the day we were 4-1 up against Vancouver. You don’t have to make a tackle. [Maciel did - a bad one]
“We already know what Rudy did. he didn’t have to do it [v Vancouver].
“You are 1-0 up against Philly. I didn’t see them [Philadelphia]. They were struggling even against ten men in the first-half to get the ball.
“We struggled after, in the second-half, fourth game in ten days. But you are 1-0 up - you score! [the first goal]. I just don’t understand the reaction.
“But, it is what it is. Once again we’ve got to learn and move forward, but it starts to be heavy. Four games in ten days, and it’s going to be another one and another one. And we’re going to have to go back to quarantine, won’t be able to train and we’re going to have to deal with that.
“But if we’re going to have to play with ten men we will straight away be behind the eight-ball, and that’s what happened AGAIN, tonight.”
The game had started so promisingly for Montreal in their temporary new home, but Romell Quioto whose free-kick opened the scoring on 5 mins, had become the villain by the time 15 had elapsed.
The Honduran’s elbow to Mark McKenzie’s head was a nonsensical reaction, especially as Mr de Oliveira the referee had already awarded a free-kick in Quioto’s favour. The surprise was he issued only a yellow card and it needed VAR intervention before the correct decision was confirmed, Quioto leaving his ten team-mates to toil against Philly’s eleven for the next 75 minutes.
Union’s Alejandro Bedoya levelled the scores on 22 mins, Wooten knocking back Real’s cross to set up his captain who finished emphatically.
Despite the Impact looking comfortable a man short, added time (5 mins of it) caught them out just prior to the interval. Like for Bedoya’s goal there was a lack of cover at the back post. Matt Real was again the provider from the left flank. Przybylko in acres of space, finished with a simple header as Bedoya queued up behind, in case he too were needed.
A goalkeeper more commanding of his six-yard area than Diop might well have averted the danger on one or both Union first-half goals. Agile and a good shot-stopper the Frenchman is, but advancing to intercept crosses appears not to be a particular strength.
The game was effectively over 2 mins into the second-half. Brenden Aaronson latched onto a through ball, easily outpaced Waterman, coolly slipping a measured pass across for Przybylko with the rest of the Impact defence back-pedalling. The German composed himself allowing for Raitala’s despairing, desperate slide, before slotting home his second. 3-1 Philly.
It looked like a rout was in process of unfolding, but fortunately for the Impact only one further goal was added. Fontana a half-time substitute for Creavalle rifling home from 20 yards on 65 mins.
Another disappointing night for Impact fans, left with little hope of achieving a result by the time the game reached halfway. Again their team was undone by individual player indiscipline, a mad rush of blood to the head, or simply blunt stupidity. Take your pick!
We are left to wonder how in recent games tempers have not become frayed within the locker-room, with thoughtlessness and crass judgement of a few under-mining the hard work and significant contributions of a squad that appears to be buying into the coach’s philosophy.
It’s on to New England on Wednesday, when Maciel will again be available. Camacho, one game short of a half-century of appearances and Quioto, the season’s top scorer, are each suspended.
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Waterman (Yao, 53), Binks, Raitala - Wanyama, Piette - Okwonkwo (Corrales, 75), Taider, Bojan (Lappalainen, 60) - Quioto
Bench (not used) - Bush, Fanni, Sejdic, Bayiha, Shome
Union - Blake - Mbaizo, Glesnes, McKenzie, Real - Creavalle (Fontana, 46), Bedoya (Turner, 87), Jamiro Monteiro - Aaronson (de Vries, 87) - Przybylko (Santos, 72), Wooten (Ilsinho, 64)
Bench (not used) - Bendik, Ngalina, Gaddis, Collin
Match Officials -
Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Thomas Snyder
VAR: Alan Kelly