Montreal Impact Get Their First MLS Win Against Toronto FC
The Impact scored first in the 17th minute. Off a turnover in midfield, Lamar Neagle set up Sinisa Ubiparipovic near the top of the box. Ubiparipovic made no mistake as he slid the ball between both central defenders and into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Despite dominating play in the midfield throughout the first half, the Impact had a lot of trouble handling Toronto's crosses coming into the box. If not for a spectacular reaction save from Donovan Ricketts on a Danny Koevermans header, TFC would have tied the game just before half time.
The Impact later got some help from the referee when Logan Emory was sent off for taking down Sanna Nyassi in the 65th minute. The straight red was a bit harsh as Emory and Nyassi were virtually side by side at the time of the foul—but considering some of the calls the Impact have gotten this season, I'm sure they'll take it without any complaints.
The Impact almost blew the lead shortly after, however, but were saved by a Shavar Thomas goal-line clearance.
Andrew Wenger gave the Impact the insurance marker when he scored in the 81st minute with the help of a brilliant pass from Justin Mapp. The Impact were then able to hold on for the final 10 minutes, conceding only one goal.
Jesse Marsch's personnel decisions were outstanding today. With the Impact starting to struggle midway through the second half, Marsch was able to sub in just the right players needed to give his team a boost.
Realizing that Zarek Valentin was simply incapable of generating any offence from the fullback position, and noticing that Ubiparipovic was losing some pace in the midfield, Marsch inserted Justin Mapp. Mapp changed the game for the Impact, giving them a credible threat from the wing and eventually assisting on the winning goal.
Marsch also made the right choice taking out Bernardo Corradi. Corradi wasn't making anything happen for the Impact. His replacement, Wenger, gave the Impact some much needed speed up front.
Donovan Ricketts also deserves some praise for his outstanding close range save on Koevermans. A Toronto goal at that point likely would have ruined the Impact, as the Reds were building serious momentum.
Zarek Valentin was ineffective in every aspect of the game. His runs up the right side never produced any offence as his crosses into the box were consistently off target. Also, because he was consistently running up the field and essentially turning the ball over, he left gaping holes in the Impact defense.
Bernardo Corradi, in what's becoming a disturbing trend, also failed to help his team today. Corradi just didn't seem capable of of keeping up with the play. He didn't have a shot on goal and was utterly invisible.
What Needs to Change
The Impact need to find a permanent solution up front. Sanna Nyassi has been solid all year, using his speed to constantly put pressure on opposing defenses. He just doesn't have another striker to work off of.
Wenger looked good today, but seems more suited for an attacking midfield role. With their depth in the middle, the Impact could do well switching to a lone striker formation and allowing guys like Felipe, Arnaud, Mapp and Wenger to attack with more regularity.
For more on the Montreal sports scene, go to The Montreal Sports Report.
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