Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Montreal keeping the playoff dreams alive.

Don't underestimate your enemy. I hope is something Merrit Paulsen learned last Saturday.

He decided to rest important players like De Rosario, Pontius and Boskovic that night because, I guess, substitutes are enough to beat an expansion team.

Well, obviously things didn't turn up as expected.

Bernier and Warner. Courtesy of impactmontreal.com 

Impact played another strong game at home. Montreal controlled the midfield while defenders were sharp all 90 min.

Again the Warner-Bernier duo was close to perfect, this allowed to have more presence in the midfield and create more chances overall.

We didn't start the game well.  Sometimes we seemed to be more concerned about not losing the game keeping a harmless, low paced possession. This reminded me when we played against TFC in the Canadian Championship -bad memories-. Later on, around minute 22, Bernier made a great accurate pass in the box to Di Vaio and goal!!

Great classy finishing by the Italian and yes, first shot of the game first goal. Deserved? Hard to tell because DC United didn't do much before that either. 

Montreal, again in the situation of do or die, didn't risk much in the attack focusing a lot on having a flawless defense and tying to preserve the lead at all cost. This style has benefited Montreal lately because our all-around midfielders can pretty much attack and defend at any time -thanks Jesse- and all of the sudden in the second half Collen Warner had a clear run for the ball in the box, after another top class pass from Bernier, but received a clear contact from the central defender getting the penalty shot called from the referee. This was probably a non-existent call in Serie A, but MLS has been consistent on this particular type of play and Hassun Camara or Matteo Ferrari know something about it. 

The rest of the game was an open 2-0 typical scenario where Montreal counter attacked a low paced DC United in several occasions and after three or four attempts the third goal arrived. Patrice Bernier, who outclassed the opponents all game, made a 70 meters run to kill Hamid with a shot to the near post. Thanks Patrice!, thanks.

These are some enjoyable times in Montreal, specially while the playoffs hopes are alive.

Now, the next opponent is the red hot Columbus Crew and Federico Higuain. I've been saying this before the game with San Jose and here I go again. If we win this match we have a great chance to make the playoffs.

Here are the highlights from the game.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Di Vaio scores and Montreal beat the leaders.

Quick magic passes, that made our night. That's why Felipe won the man of the match tonight because he was part of the magic touch on every goal. 

Felipe, big roll tonight. 

That is the difference between the games we dominated at the beginning of the season and the ones we dominate now, a nice chemistry based on quick passing. This has been gaining momentum and we all like what we see on the field.

What a relief for Di Vaio and for all of us, he finally scored! and in a good way. Left foot, keeping the ball low, hard shot to the second post. It's gonna be hard to forget, because all the team celebrated it like a championship and right after he scored he even pointed to my seat and the stadium chanted his name, unbelievable.  

Marco Di Vaio scored his first goal. Courtesy of impactmontreal.com

Now with Andrew Wenger back in the roster, Marsch can forget about the awful idea of Nyassi playing center forward, specially because he is a very decent winger in MLS and he showed it tonight. He is also a very good finisher when you have very few space to score, at least we've seen that in his last two goals. 

Nesta was good tonight, he fought every ball and showed his class all 90 minutes. Great partnership with Rivas who is quicker and anticipate better, leaving all the positioning on Sandro's side.

On the Red Bulls, I really think they did a bad decision trading Dane Richards. Tonight, Sebastian Letoux disappeared all game along with Solly and Lindpierre although Impact defense deserves a lot of credit this time for that.   

I still cant believe we have all this classy players in our team. Unfortunately our road to the playoffs, at this stage, is not easy and we need to win several matches in a row specially, this is the toughest part, we can't loose points on the road.

It's gonna be very interesting, but we also depend that teams like Columbus, Chicago and New England don't win their upcoming matches.
Alessandro Nesta and Thierry Henry. Courtesy of impactmontreal.com

This is what it feels being a Montreal Impact and MLS fan, lots of excitement until November. Is this what we all wanted?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Another 3-0 loss for Montreal.

Can we go any worse? 

Before the game we knew we'd miss all the injured/suspended players and performance would be affected but we also wanted to experiment how deep our squad is and how dependent is the team on certain players. 

I don't want to take away any credit to DC United, the did the right things and availed our errors wisely. I don't know why I enjoy watching playing Boskovic, maybe because he reminds me in some way to what Fernando Redondo, Argentinian and Real Madrid legend, treated the ball and set the pace to the game. 

The truth is we thought our squad was deep and is here where we face the reality of an expansion team and the dilution of the league talent, but we will develop this subject in another post.

Can we save a player from last night? wow, not even Davy Arnaud, who always makes solid performances, was victim of the fatigue of the last few games where traveling and little rest has been the rule, especially if he plays all 90 minutes in every single match. Here I blame Marsch a little, especially when he made no substitutions in the win against Houston after winning 4-2 with 30 minutes left, he could have freshen the midfield and avoid extra tax key players like Felipe, Mapp or Arnaud. 

We also have Sinisa Ubiparipovic, very erratic last night; he couldn't make a decent play in the entire match. I've always been a fan of him, he came last year and gave us sparks of magic but never forget it Montreal was still playing on 2nd division (NASL). I was very happy Jesse Marsch kept him on the team and coming off the bench he has done some good things when the team is on full potential. But there is a big difference when you want Sinisa to start the game and carry your MLS team on the shoulders. He simply hasn't been able to fill that role. He is like our own MLS Guti, referencing to the role Jose Maria Gutierrez played last decade with Real Madrid who was unable to pull out a good performance when starting the game but did great things off the bench. Although Sinisa hasn't been particularly spectacular coming off the bench either. 

I also blame Jesse Marsh for persisting on using Nyassi as a forward, what are we? Spain using a false 9? He has never performed well in this position and you can see he tends to go to the flanks and make the plays from there because he is a natural winger. I would rather have Arnaud as a center forward than Sanna Nyassi and having forwards on the bench like Sebrango or Montanio makes me really think about how we are using our tools. 

Marco Di Vaio, we better wait two or three more games before start evaluating his performance. 

At the end, we need Bernier, Ferrari, Rivas, Felipe and Warner the 90min and Marco Di Vaio adapted to MLS to compete in this league.


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Marco Di Vaio. The missing piece?

Is there any doubt the city of Montreal was hungry for a designated player? Just take a look of the warm welcome at his arrival.


The missing piece in Jesse Marsch puzzle? At least is a great effort by Joey Saputo to complement, regardless the results, the good work the head coach has been doing to make a competitive team.

courtesy of montrealimpact.com

After a fine career in Italia Marco decided to leave Bologna, the team that gave him the stability he needed to finish 2nd leading scorer in 2008-09 season.

Personally, I have very good memories regarding Di Vaio in Malesani's Parma. This era of the gialoblu was a very interesting one, featuring Argentinian stars Ariel Ortega, Hernan Crespo, Azzurri stars Gianluigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro. Parma was the best era of Di Vaio's career, averaging 0.49 goals per game and therefore eventually leading him to the transfer to Juventus and call to the Nazionale.

We all hope Montreal Impact's attacking options will improve with the arrival of the striker. This added to the new stadium and the majority of the games at home are the advantages we have to fight for the playoffs this year.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Many things can go wrong besides tactics. Colorado 3 Montreal 2.

Just when we thought we figured out the ideal attacking formation on the field the defensive back-line, which we are very proud of, decided to have a reckless night.

Besides the score, I am pleased of our overall performance last night. I am pleased to see how effective can this midfield be when Felipe does not have to be a box-to-box midfielder and Bernier is on the field complementing. It reminded us the first 5 games of the season when the only good thing was midfield transition.

The best combination is having Warner as a staying-home midfielder, Felipe as a trequartista and Bernier free on the field filling the holes of these two. It just gave the best results showcasing the Montrealer at his best. I'm very happy of Patrice performance last night.

The magic 4-2-3-1 makes ball possession and creative attacking easier and it is even more effective when you have the players to make it happen, it has been more than a month since I have been proposing this formation. It took us 13 games to find the right players for the right positions, I honestly loved the starter eleven last night, but since they are humans many things can go wrong besides the tactics.

Matteo Ferrari decided to play a very poor game in Denver. He was caught out of position many times, being the second goal a good example. The Italian wasn't bight with the ball on his feet either turning the ball over several occasions. I realized I was right when he was the first substitution.

Matteo Ferrari. Courtesy of  montrealimpact.com

Greg Sutton on the 3rd goal. Simple, he looked like he was at Claude Robillard warming up before the start of the training. Shameful.

On the other hand, Sanna Nyassi decided to shine all night on the right flank, with his limitations specially finishing but even then his shots did not go very wide. He was quick and created spaces making what Justin Mapp has been doing so far and moreover what Lamar Neagle has been incapable of doing previous matches.

Last but not least, I am not a big fan of blame the referees for our losses but these guys in grey didn't do a good job last night. Their bad decisions week in and week out are the real downside of the MLS and need to be addressed ASAP.

Another frustrating night for Impact fans, but the future still looks bright having more games left at home than away, with Marco Di Vaio arriving tonight and a Saputo Stadium ready to fit the right crowd to rock the road to the playoffs.

See you guys later.