An unimaginable season

An unimaginable season

The Impact’s strange 2020 season ended on Tuesday night with a victory that turned into a defeat, a perfectly logical climax to an extraordinary season.

This is the cruelty of the Champions League. You can win 1-0, but if you lost the first game 2-1 at home, the advantage goes to your opponent.

And it’s funny that this season ends with a cruel ousting in the quarterfinals of the Champions League since it is precisely on a triumph in the continental championship that it began.

Who remembers the 2-2 draw in Costa Rica against Saprissa, followed by another 0-0 draw at the Olympic Stadium? It is so far away. It was last February. An ocean has flowed under the bridges since then.

Good start

We forget it, but the season has started off fairly well for the Impact, which has not lost in its first four games (1-0-3), in all competitions.

The team scored goals and gave some, but the game looked interesting under the guidance of Thierry Henry.

We were also impatiently waiting to see what the former star striker could do at the helm of the Impact after a first failed experience in Monaco.

His team, however, was pulled the rug out from under the pandemic, like all the others. It took three months for training to begin again and another month for the team to play a competitive game at the MLS Resume Tournament in Orlando.

Staggering start of tournament

Deprived of training longer than most MLS teams, the Impact seemed to be faltering in its first two games during this tournament, conceding two losses.

A victory in the last group stage meeting saw him advance to the knockout round, which ended in the first meeting, then the team went through another month-long hiatus before resuming the game. action in a six-game series against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC, which also served as a qualifier for the Canadian Championship final.

The team did well overall with a 3-3-0 record, but that was not enough to advance to the final.

And it was after this brief stint on Canadian soil which allowed it to play only three games at Saputo stadium in front of 250 spectators that the Impact really began its Stations of the Cross.

Forced exile

Due to the closure of the border between Canada and the United States which imposed a quarantine on each return to the country, the Bleu-blanc-noir experienced a forced exile at Red Bull Arena, in New Jersey.

This period when the team played their last 12 games south of the border has been particularly difficult mentally and on the pitch, as evidenced by the 3-8-1 record, with the team doing relatively well away from his temporary home with a 2-3-1 record.

But a period of more than two months at the hotel and six periods of quarantine, each return to Montreal from the end of July, undermined the morale of the troops, to the point where Saphir Taïder chose to leave the hotel. team for Saudi Arabia, unable to be separated from his wife and four children.

The situation also left its mark on the squad as injuries increased, so it was difficult to dress enough players for the games.

In exceptional circumstances, it is a little difficult to assess the work of Thierry Henry, who has not even had a real full season to show off.

In transition

What is more, he led a workforce clearly in transition which does not yet fully bear the imprint of the sports director, Olivier Renard, who made good moves with Romell Quioto and Luis Binks, in particular. However, more was expected from Victor Wanyama, a designated player with uneven performance.

Under Henry, the Impact had significant defensive difficulties caused by an incomplete back staff, but also scored goals despite obvious limitations in attack.

There was, however, a willingness to build a nice, interesting game from the back rather than snuffing out soccer, and that’s what should encourage fans going forward.

Thierry Henry directs as he plays, with the attack in mind, without neglecting the game as a whole. With the right elements, he could be able to deliver attractive football, as fans have been expecting for quite some time.

Player Bulletin

9/10 – Romell Quioto

The surprise of the season. A surly, scathing and explosive player who can put the opposing defenses in trouble and who above all demonstrated that he approached this new chance with seriousness and determination.

8.3 / 10 – Luis Binks

At just 19, he was the team’s best defender, which is quite an achievement. He is combative, calm and precise in his tackles. However, he must improve his mobility.

7.5 / 10 – Clement Diop

An unimaginable season

Photo courtesy, Montreal Impact

For a first season as a holder, he did quite well, despite some difficulties in his raises and especially a lack of mobility on the stopped balls.

7.3 / 10 – Amar Sejdic

A player with a high soccer IQ and an irreproachable work ethic, he risks becoming an important part of this team with his hard work and his intelligence of the game. A diamond begging to be polished.

7.2 / 10 – Samuel Piette

He has spent a good part of the season getting used to a slightly more attacking role playing higher up the pitch. The effort is still there and so is the involvement. It’s all about finding the right balance.

7/10 – James Pantemis

He’s had few games to chew on, but he’s athletic, lively and combative on the ball. Its progression curve could be interesting.

6.8 / 10 – Bojan

He took a long time to find his rhythm, but showed the extent of his talent at the end of the season. He took too long to come out of his shell to justify a big expense and his decision to skip the Champions League return leg is frankly disappointing.

6.7 / 10 – Rudy Camacho

The unloved by many supporters. He has a tendency to goof at the wrong time, but when he’s in a good game he’s precise and reliable. His biggest shortcoming is still his high salary, which taints the evaluation.

6.7 / 10 – Emanuel Maciel

He still lacks consistency, but he could well become a certain metronome in the Impact midfielder, especially with the long passes he is able to throw at the right time.

6.5 / 10 – Zachary Brault-Guillard

He is still young and he will continue to improve even if we have noted a certain leveling off this season. However, he wants to contribute in attack and has the assets to do so. He has to find the balance between attack and defense.

6.3 / 10 – Lassi Lappalainen

He has what it takes to be a good player in MLS, but he often drags injuries. What’s more, he lacks consistency, so that in some matches he seems to want to play while we can sometimes question his commitment to other matches.

6.2 / 10 – Mustafa Kizza

The sample is very small, which requires a conservative assessment. However, he showed great things offensively, but the defensive game needs to be polished.

6.2 / 10 – Rod Fanni

Still reliable even though he has shown obvious signs of slowing down, which is not surprising since he was the oldest player (he turned 39 on December 6) in MLS in 2020. He will have returned from good service to the team, but it is disappointing that he was not there for the last Champions League game.

6/10 – Maxi Urruti

The man with three lungs. He works like a madman and runs like a gazelle for 90 minutes, but his game remains strangely static and he lacks precision near the opposing goal.

6/10 – Joel Waterman

A two-part season due to injury. It can be a good spare tire if needed. Reliable depth player.

6/10 – Shamit Shome

He has seen much less action than last year and has quietly faded away even though he remains a good soldier. He may have already hit his cap.

5.8 / 10 – Ballou Tabla

The talent is there, but the performances continue to be delayed. He had little playing time, especially because of an injury, but he must also show that he deserves it.

5.7 / 10 – Jukka Raitala

He has not been the same player after returning from injury last summer. Slower, he just doesn’t add enough offensively.

5.5 / 10 Anthony Jackson-Hamel

It was his last chance with the Bleu-blanc-noir and he couldn’t take it. He’s capable of scoring goals, but he lacks a binder in his game so he can be a regular without MLS.

5/10 – Jorge Corrales

Full of good will, but limited in his qualities to play in MLS game after game. He has too often been overwhelmed in his hallway despite a desire to animate the attack.

4.5 / 10 – Orji Okwonkwo

The player of the 2019 season has completely faded this year. Less explosive, often apathetic, he gave the impression of a player who did not want to be there, he who had openly questioned a return to 2020 at the end of the previous season.

4.3 / 10Mason toye

There were certain expectations when he arrived from Minnesota, but he hasn’t shown anything that makes you want to see more. Integration into his new environment seemed difficult.

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