MONTREAL – As the Montreal Impact tumbled to a 2-1 loss against the 10-man Red Bulls last weekend, they appeared unable to make the killer pass required to break down New York’s tight defensive block.
Even though they forced Ryan Meara to make four saves from open play after they went up a man, only one of those attempts was from well inside the box.
Incidentally, it is a concern sporting director Nick De Santis also expressed when talking about another potential Designated Player signing on Thursday. For the time being, though, the Impact know that they will need to take it upon themselves to unlock that final pass as they face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
Left back Tyson Wahl, who alone attempted about a dozen passes into the box last weekend, believes the Impact need to “show up on big plays” while also making adjustments in their buildup.
“We just need to develop a little bit more, have the right runs, be sharper,” Wahl told MLSsoccer.com. "We need to get the ball in the box, in the dangerous areas, and have guys in the right spots.
“We’re a good team in possession from the back through to the midfield. It’s just those last two passes, that final pass, whether it’s a cross or a through ball.”
Lamar Neagle, who came on last weekend to provide natural width against the shorthanded Red Bulls, brought up another interesting point: when going wide against teams clogging the middle of the park, the Impact, whose outside midfielders generally tuck in, feel they might be acting in a counterintuitive fashion.
The number of shots teams visiting the Centennial State have taken from wide positions or from distance, especially early on this season, is a worrying prospect for the Impact. Neagle believes, however, that every team going to Colorado has to work extremely hard anyway, which suits the Impact just fine.
“They’re a hardworking team, so we need to bring a certain amount of energy so that we can kind of weather the storm; they’re going to come at us, obviously,” Neagle said. “They’re a team that always battles and works hard. I feel like we are the same way: We’re a feisty group of guys who like to get into tackles. We’ll just play our game and hopefully get a win before this break we got.”