If the MLS was a game of Pokemon, the Montreal Impact would be Gary Oak. If you lost to Gary Oak ever, you know it’s not a great feeling; and that’s the exact way last night’s loss to the Montreal Impact felt. Toronto’s win and clean sheet streak across all competitions ended last night with a 1-0 loss on the road in the first leg of the Voyageur’s Cup.
It’s a rather somber note to go into Sunday with, but not all was terrible, despite how it seemed like Toronto couldn’t find out where the goal was. This is going to be really tough to do because MLS Live decided to give their stats gurus a break.
Montreal’s Goal: All It Takes Is One Mistake
Toronto did great on defense, it seemed like bizarre world because for what seems like the first time this season, the defensive backs had to account for the ineptitude of the attack. They did well, but all it took this game was one mistake.
This is the cross going in seconds before the one goal of the game and they actually did most of this right. It is clear that Eriq Zaveleta knows where McInerney is, but if you watch the video, he also thinks that he has Jack offside. When you watch the video, he doesn't really get a foot out to stop it because it seems like he's fairly certain that McInerney is offside. The cross itself was as perfect as perfect could get and Lovitz did make an attempt to get in front of it, but it just seemed to be perfectly placed.
You could say that Lovitz didn't pressure him enough considering Nigel Reo-Coker had plenty of time to set his targeting mechanism, but really there was not much anyone could have done about this. The only thing that could have changed this was Zavaleta not putting so much faith in the offside rule.
Make Sure Giovinco Never Leaves
This game very obviously missed Giovinco, who didn't play presumably to rest for Sunday. The strikers weren't playing very well, but nothing ever really got going in the midfield. Giovinco's eye for moving the ball forward now just drastically increased in value as Toronto's attacking effort looked atrocious.
While there could be some blame put on the tactics or by the efforts of Luke Moore and Johnathan Osorio, a lot of it seemed to be that Toronto just didn't know how to move towards the goal without their prodigal Italian.
It seems like without him Toronto also forgot how to pass as they made lots of passes that quite simply didn't make sense. Yeah the grounds looked absolutely gross, but grass also doesn't make you pass it almost directly to the other team.
The Back Line was Quite Fine
Let's not beat around the bush here, this game was quite drab. Montreal couldn't really get anything going either, they had to be absolutely perfect to get the goal that they had. In general they kept really firm in the face of Montreal's strategy of "run really fast at them" that worked for almost everyone else.
Jack McInerney even said during an intermission that they wanted to outpace Toronto and take advantage of their back line. It's nice to see that Toronto's patched together back line stood so firm and continued the trend of Toronto displaying solid defense.
The Friendly Rivalry Game
There's honestly not much to say about this game because it was just so, dare I say, deflated. The atmosphere was really interesting though, or lack of because it was all very interesting. Sportsnet said that there was 518 people there and boy do I believe it. Yeah it's probably unfair to expect a huge turnout to a game that was scheduled at the same time as a crucial NHL playoff game, but 518? Didn't Montreal just get to the CONCACAF Champions League Finals?
You'd think this game would have been a bigger deal, but it turned out that both teams seemed to have put this on the same level as a Sunday work league game. Toronto also looked like they honestly could care less about what happens in this series considering how uninspired they were to get the ever important away goal in a two legged series.
It was really 100% uninspired soccer in every aspect, even the beautiful goal couldn't wake people from the slumber induced by the game. I know there's an increasing argument for just how necessary the Vouyager's Cup is, and this game probably didn't help that. If it couldn't make these two rivals go at each other's throats, I don't know what would.
To End This Like Tyler Johnson Did To The Habs (Editorial does not approve of this line)
If Toronto wants to make it to the final, they are going to have to shut it down at home. If they want to stay at home and watch the final, they can have some uninspired attacking like they did this game. In terms of the home opener (11 weeks into the season), this game really shouldn't worry you. If they played like this with Giovinco and Altidore in, then you should hop into Vault 10.