The Montreal Impact probably deserved a better result at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, but they had to settle for a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas. There was plenty of good, some bad and some head-scratching decisions made throughout the afternoon. In the end, the Impact are still unbeaten in 2020.
Soccer analyst Grant Needham and I called the game on TSN 690 radio Montreal and there’s a few things that jumped out at me over the course of the 90-plus minutes.
Here’s three things I thought about during the game:
— Clement Diop’s goal kicks need some work
The Impact gave possession of the ball away too cheaply throughout the first half and their keeper was no exception. Early on, it seemed like every time he delivered a goal kick, the ball ended up being off the mark. As the game progressed, the Impact decided to use the new goal kick rule to their advantage.
Starting this year in MLS, keepers are allowed to play the ball short and in their own box on a goal kick. In the second half, Diop decided against playing the ball long, instead opting to dish it over to his short options, which included Luis Binks, Rod Fanni and Joel Waterman.
Through four games, Diop has had his share of ups and downs. That’s not totally unexpected considering he hasn’t played consistently over the last few seasons. He was shaky in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 matchup at Saprissa, but settled down nicely in the second leg at Olympic Stadium and in last week’s MLS home opener against New England.
— Maxi Urruti starts 2020 with a bang
I don’t mean to get ahead of myself here (I do though), but Urruti is currently on pace to score 54 goals in MLS this season. How can you not be happy for him? He was a total flop in his first season with the Impact and if the club could’ve gotten rid of him this off-season, they probably would have done so.
Let’s not forget, the two players Urruti appeared to be closest to on the team last year were Ignacio Piatti and Victor Cabrera (fellow Argentinians). Both players are no longer with the club. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have friends, but it can’t be easy to see your best mates walk out the door.
Urruti’s 2020 season couldn’t have started any better. After scoring the game-winning goal in the second half against New England last week, he followed that up with a two-goal performance against his former team, FC Dallas.
Urruti with the classy gesture not to celebrate on either goal against his former team.
Yes, I realize that his production is bound to drop off sooner or later. Yes, I realize he’s not going to score 20 this year. But you can’t help but feel happy for this guy. Unless the Impact acquire a striker in the summer, this is the group of forwards that they’ll have to roll with for most of the year.
There’s no 15 or 20-goal scorer on this roster. They’ll have to score by committee. But if they keep getting these kinds of contributions from different players, they’ll be just fine.
— Seven minutes of added time:
When the fourth official flashed the sign showing that seven minutes of added time would be played, Grant and I looked at each other in our booth and we were totally shocked. I realize that Urruti went down a couple of times and he did an eye test out on the pitch, but seven minutes is a ridiculous amount of added time.
There should have been for or five minutes added, but not more than that. And of course, FC Dallas’ Ricardo Pepi scored the equalizer in the sixth minute of added time. That’s gotta be a frustrating ending for an Impact side that able to build up a two-goal lead in the second half.
Anyway, the Impact have played four games in 2020 and they’ve finished with relatively positive results in each game.
(Feature Image Credit: Montreal Impact on Twitter)