“It was perfect. Good football.”
Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum was a happy man last Saturday after his team’s 1-0 win over the Sounders in Seattle, praising Davy Arnaud and Felipe with those words for their timing in creating the lone goal.
Whereas Montreal again put into practice the horizontal interchanging of positions within their shape that they had displayed during preseason, it was their vertical movement that made the difference in the scoreline last weekend.
Between the Lines: Montreal's Italian influence
With two central attacking midfielders, Montreal’s system requires Felipe and Arnaud to make clever runs from deep and get numbers in the 18-yard box. As it turned out at CenturyLink Field, Arnaud’s chipped finish didn’t even require him to step into penalty area, but the skipper achieved the intended purpose.
“The game against Seattle was a good example, with Davy making two excellent runs, one where he hit the bar and the other where he scored,” assistant coach Mauro Biello told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “Tracking a midfielder is tougher when he runs from deep.”
As is marking a clever center forward. Marco Di Vaio’s habit of dropping into midfield and dragging a defender – Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in this case – out of position benefitted Montreal hugely on the sequence, creating space for those runs from deep.
With four attempts that night, Di Vaio has already made his way into the top 10 of the shots column. He will therefore get his chances on goal, but there will be more to the Italian’s game than just that.
“It’s important for a forward to be the focal point of a team, holding up the ball well and maintaining possession,” Biello explained. “His play for the goal was very good in that way. When he can make a turn in midfield and get the goal in front of him, he has to have supporting runners in front of him or there’s no one ahead. Davy and Felipe did well going forward. It’s a way to bring penetration to our play.”