- Gavin Rushnell
Montreal Impact (n) Match Recap
Orlando City dominates the Montreal Impact, but only come out 1-0 winners.
Phew. We did it! It was nerve-wracking but Orlando City *just* squeaked by the Montreal Impact with a 1-0 win that puts us into the quarterfinals! Who am I kidding? We totally dominated the Canadians. It easily could've easily been 2 or 3 nil if we had some better execution/decision-making in the final third. Luckily though, Montreal didn't really threaten us and we come away with a berth in the quarterfinals.
1. Carlos was solid... again
How many more decent performances does Antonio Carlos have to have before he gets some credit? Out of the six total matches we have played this season, he's only been poor in two. While I'm not saying that having an off-day every third game is acceptable, he has been better than some people have given him credit for. That's what I'm here for I guess. For me, he was the better of the two CB's, and that is not because Jansson was bad by any stretch of the imagination. It's just because Carlos was better.
Looking at the stats, Jansson had three clearances, one block, and one interception. He also lost his only aerial duel. Carlos, on the other hand, had seven clearances, four interceptions, and won one of his two aerial duels. He also completed 44 out of his 49 attempted passes. Again, I'm not saying Jansson was bad, I'm just saying that Carlos was good, and he deserves some recognition. I know Montreal didn't really test our defense that much, but if Carlos continues having solid displays like this one, we may have found a top-class CB pairing for years to come.
2. What did I say?
Well, here's what I said:
"No matter how Montreal set up, no matter how we set up, no matter the referee's decisions, no matter the starting Xl, no matter any weather delays, we must find a way to win Saturday's match."
That's exactly what we did. Although we were dominating the match, we struggled to find the back of the net and the longer it went on, the more worried I got. Thankfully, our pressure paid off late in the first half when Mendez and Akindele combined to put us 1-0 up. Oh wait...the assistant put his flag up. Surely Akindele was offsides then, right? Because the assistant is only supposed to raise their flag when they're absolutely sure of the offside call when it's a goalscoring opportunity. WRONG. Akindele is onside and we got PRO'd (see below).
While this decision, and the decision to not overturn this decision, was frustrating, it is understandable due to the "clear and obvious error" language used in the VAR rules. Unfortunately, it wasn't clear and obvious at the time, so they had to go with the assistant's call. Luckily, we did end up finding a way to win, which is exactly what I said we needed to do despite any unfair or unforeseen circumstances. That way came when Nani flicked the ball on to an overlapping Mendez, whose pressure forced Fanni into a mistake, which lead to Akindele getting his second goal of the tournament. That was all we needed to secure the win and to stay alive in the tournament.
3. Impressive debutants
While there are a million talking points surrounding this game, it would be wrong of me to not talk about the two who made their debuts on Saturday. Daryl Dike and Joey DeZart came on to help see out the match and give some of our starters a rest but they did more than just that. Both players looked the part.
DeZart was pretty tidy and seemed comfortable on the ball in his ten minutes on the field, going 7/7 with his passing and making an interception too. He certainly passed the eye test and you can already see why we decided to give him a contract after drafting him early in the second round.
Dike, while being the more eye-catching player, wasn't as tidy. He went 0/2 with his passing, was dispossessed twice, and made the wrong decisions when in the final third. With all that being said, the raw components are there for him to be a successful player for us. We could even see his decision-making improve the next time he sees the pitch as it looked like he was trying too hard to score a goal on his debut. I'm sure the coaching staff will have spoken to him about that and he may have that in his mind the next time he plays. Overall, he also passed the eye test, and I'm excited to see him in action again sometime this season.
Gallese - 5/10
Ruan - 6/10
Carlos - 8/10
Jansson - 6/10
Moutinho - 6/10
Rosell - 9/10 MOTM
Mendez - 7/10
Mueller - 5/10
Pereyra - 7/10
Nani - 6/10
Akindele - 7/10
Dike - 4/10
Perea - 5/10
DeZart - 6/10
Smith - 7/10 (I know he was barely on but he gets a rating for being smart and going to the corner)
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'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando