Montreal Impact vs. FC Dallas @ Saputo Stadium – July 22, 2017

b078c4bb-8e73-4fb0-99d4-0061c882a01fThis is the time of the season in which if the Montreal Impact are going to make serious noise about making the MLS playoffs they have to start picking up points on a regular basis. As of the start of the game on a beautiful Saturday evening in Montreal, the Impact lay outside the cutoff line in the East for the playoffs. They have plenty of home games coming up as they have played at home the least in all of the league. Saputo Stadium has to once again become known as Fortress Saputo – a place in which visiting squads do not have a good time. Plus they have some games in hand. In other words, their destiny is in their own hands…as long as they win.

Montreal before the game was in 8th place in the East with 24 points and five points behind 7th place Orlando having played two fewer games. After 18 games so far they are 6-6-6. Time to string together some victories. Home has been a friendly place for them so far winning six games out of 10 at Saputo. They have won four in a row at home.

The problem so far this season for Montreal has been the defense and that they are conceding way too many goals. They have given up 30 goals in 18 games. This would not be aided by the fact that the central defender called The General, Laurent Ciman, would not be starting the game due to a niggling injury. Hopefully it is not a big injury, though I don’t think so as he was on the bench as a possible substitute. Some reinforcement is on the horizon as it was announced this week that physical central defender Deian Boldor had been signed on loan from Bologna.

FC Dallas is having a very good season (though they got off to a slow start) and were in 2nd place overall in the West.  They are unbeaten in four and have won two in a row. Montreal is also coming off a 2-1 win mid-week over Philadelphia.

Things looked good for the bleu-blanc-noir in the beginning of the game. They came out well competing against a strong side. Some luck came into play to keep the score levelled, however. In the 22nd minute there was a break down the left side followed by a scramble in from of Impact keeper, Evan Bush. It looked like forward Cristian Colman scored his first of the season, but referee Robert Sibiga allowed play to continue after wingback Daniel Lovitz cleared the ball. Replays showed that the ball had indeed crossed the line. Bad luck for Colman and Dallas.

MLS_FC_Dallas_Impact_Soccer_43514That bad luck was amplified when in the 23rd minute Montreal scored. Once again it was 24-year-old Michael Salazar who got his head on the ball. That is his third goal in three games. The play looked rather innocent as striker Matteo Macosu had the ball in right hand corner. Plenty of Dallas players were in the box defending and there were two on Salazar. Somehow he managed to beat the two of them to Mancosu’s cross and redirect it with his head off the far post into the net.

They took that 1-0 lead into the break despite the fact that FC Dallas created some good scoring chances. They just did not cash in. Not long after the start of the 2nd half and 10 minute period happened that has been typical of the Impact this season. They conceded a couple of goals in a short span.

Both of his goals were examples of Montreal seemingly not able to protect a lead and giving away the ball cheaply. In the 52nd minute a give away led to a Dallas break along the left hand side. A low cross to the far post somehow got past three Montreal defenders and Dallas striker, who had eluded the attention of Daniel Lovitz, Cristian Colman had an easy tap in to the empty side. A mere 10 minutes later the 23-year-old got his brace with a nice individual effort. A long ball by Carlos Gruezo somehow fooled the Montreal defense and Colman calmly took it down with his chest, went around Bush and slotted the ball into the empty net. Just like that a 1-0 lead disintegrated.

After the two goals by Colman, Biello had seen enough and made a double substitution bringing in midfielders Patrice Bernier, fresh from the Gold Cup, and Ignacio Piatti, his first action in three games due to a hip injury. They came on for Salazar and Calum Mallace. Then Dominic Oduro came on for fullback Chris Duvall. All this offensive injection led to maybe one or two chances created by Montreal, but nothing clear cut. The holes in the team are very obvious. Especially when they play a quality side like Dallas.

imageDallas defends as a team with very few gaps or missed assignments. Everyone is on the same page. This allows them to win back balls and then patiently construct on offense. On the other hand, Montreal always seems to defend with their hair on fire and lunging, desperate tackles. Too much panic. Not enough organization. Then when they do win the ball back it is not free flowing most of the time. The first pass is easy enough, but then it is getting it up to the forwards that is the problem. Meaning the problem is in the middle of the pitch. Mallace was horrible during his time in the game. He often needlessly gave the ball away. As did central defender Victor Cabrera. Possession was snuffed out by giveaways. Maybe the trade for left defender Shaun Francis (who scored for Jamaica against Canada in the Gold Cup) and the signing of Boldor will strengthen things up at the back. That is not enough though. They need someone in the defensive midfield and even a right winger. Hopefully there is another signing in the near future to shore up the middle of the park for Montreal or I don’t have too much hope for them going forward this season.

It is the fifth time this season that Montreal has taken the lead in a game and not come away with the victory. Some is rotten in Denmark. They cannot hold onto leads!

The win puts FC Dallas in first place in the West while Montreal remains in 8th in the East. Next up for Montreal will be the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, July 29th in New York.

Game Stats:

-Officials:

  • Referee: Robert Sibiga
  • Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik, Kevin Klinger
  • Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez

-Goals:  1st Half

23rd minute:  Montreal – Michael Salazar assisted by Matteo Mancosu

2nd Half:

52nd minute:  Dallas – Cristian Colman assisted by Maximiliano Urruti and Roland Lamah

62nd minute:  Dallas – Cristian Colman assisted by Carlos Gruezo

-Shots on Goal:  Montreal – 3

Dallas – 5

-Corners:  Montreal – 6

Dallas – 10

-Attendance:  20,481

-Final Score:  Montreal – 1

Dallas – 2

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