Montreal Impact’s attack has hit a stagnant patch


Montreal has just one loss in its last nine matches. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Whatever computer software Major League Soccer uses to produce the season schedule, it sure set things up quite nicely for the Montreal Impact this week.

After a frustrating 2-0 defeat to a staunchly organized Toronto FC on the weekend, what better team for the Impact to face next in midweek than one that can’t defend?

Well, to be fair to French national team legend Patrick Vieira and his very spirited and attack minded New York City FC, they can defend—to some degree. They proved it in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the Impact, but for the way in which the home dominated proceedings—especially in the second half—it was a game they really should have won and won handily.

Instead, the Impact were gifted a point. In stoppage time, when City was supposed to be desperately defending their lead, doing everything they could to avoid conceding—bear in mind that this would have been a first home win of the season—no one was marking Domenic Oduro at the first post as he easily headed Didier Drogba’s delicate free kick cross into the bottom right corner of the goal. To Vieira and his troops, the Impact will be saying merci beaucoup and au revoir on their way home.

“In the end, it was a lack of organization and concentration for the 95 minutes and of course, a goal like that is frustrating,” Vieira said in the post-game press conference.

“We deserved to win that game. I feel sorry for the players because they worked so hard and so well and they deserve more than what they are getting at the moment.”

Though the Impact were content with having managed to gain a point, given the balance of play, there will be a little bit of concern with their lack of offensive production in their last two outings.

As was the case against Toronto on the weekend, they didn’t create very many chances, even though this game was much more open. With their high defensive line and lack of pressing in the first half, the home side should have been put under more pressure, but other than the missed penalty call on Ignacio Piatti the Impact never really came close; and it was much the same story in the second half, as New York upped the tempo.

Drogba was lively but not especially menacing; Johan Venegas, who made his second start of the campaign, struggled once again on the right wing; late runs one would expect from a three-man central midfield never happened.

On a positive note, the defence, led by Laurent Ciman, did quite well, keeping the team in the game until the end. Though with a bit more incisiveness, New York could have won by a margin of two goals or three.

“We’ve still got things to work on and improve, but we’ll take the point,” Impact coach Mauro Biello said following the game.

With a home date against the Colorado Rapids coming up on Saturday, the Impact will need to find their scoring boots quickly. In their current form, having only conceded six goals in eight games so far, the Rapids probably won’t be giving away freebies.

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