May 5, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New England Revolution defender Gabriel Somi (91) plays the ball and Montreal Impact forward Anthony Jackson (11) defends during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Patrice Bernier doesn’t play for the Montreal Impact anymore—he retired at the end of last season—but he put it best in one of his postgame tweets: le sourire est de retour à Montréal.
Stade Saputo was definitely a happy place again on Saturday after the Impact dismantled the New England Revolution defense, winning 4-2. Not only did they snap a four-game losing streak on the season, they also ended an abysmal six-game losing streak at Stade Saputo going back to last season. This was a win they desperately needed to get their campaign going again.
Here are three things from the game:
Jackson proves worth
Montreal coach Remi Garde got his tactics right, which isn’t something said often so far this season. Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Raheem Edwards, little-used players under Garde, got the start with Ignacio Piatti in the attack. This was just days after Garde criticized Jackson for not showing enough in training and demanded more from his players, but his comments didn’t backfire as the team instead looked motivated. Jackson, Edwards and Piatti combined for all four goals on the day.
Jackson’s inclusion made a big difference for the Impact. He scored the first two goals. He was on the bench for the three previous games, all heavy losses where the Impact played without a true center forward and struggled to keep possession. Jackson’s ability in the air and linkup play opened up more attacking possibilities for the impact and gave them other outlets in transition. The Impact will probably still need to sign a center forward in the summer, and Jackson might need to work harder in training, but for the time being, he’s the Impact’s best option up top.
— Patrice Bernier (@pbernier10) May 5, 2018
Piatti, assist man?
Ignacio Piatti has been one of the best goal-scorers in MLS over the last three seasons, but he hasn’t been known for providing assists. The most he ever had was eight in 2015.
After picking up three assists against the Revolution, he now already has six in eight starts. Usually Piatti just does it all on his own—because he can, of course—but Saturday the Argentine picked his head up and found his teammates to an extent not usually seen with him. If Piatti, the goal scorer, now becomes an assist man also, that’s an amazing prospect for Montreal. With five tallies, Piatti has directly contributed to 11 of the team’s 14 goals so far.
Revs’ tactics excessive
Garde said after the game that they knew the Revolution were going to press high up the field, and the Impact took full advantage with more direct passes to their forward players. For the first time this year, the Revolution defense collapsed—before this game, they had conceded only eight goals in eight games.
Although the visitors enjoyed territorial dominance in the first half and nearly found the opening goal, keeping such a high line on the road against a ruthless counterattacking player like Piatti was just far too risky. Maybe if they started their press a little lower, they would have won this game.
It didn’t help that Juan Agudelo, New England’s most dangerous attacking player, had to come off in the 34th minute with a hamstring injury. The Revs weren’t the same after that.