Four games, two points and a whopping 12 goals conceded: it could be time for an openhearted discussion in Montreal.
The Impact’s 4-0 loss against the New York Red Bulls prompted Impact president Joey Saputo to reach for his phone for a quick tweet at the final whistle.
“Lets learn from this, time to meet with the players, need to refocus,” he tweeted.
Une soirée à oublier, temps d'avoir un tête à tête avec mes joueurs. Lets learn from this, time to meet with the players, need to refocus.— Joey Saputo (@JoeySaputo) July 14, 2013
Coach Marco Schällibaum agreed.
“We were happy with everything for a long time,” Schällibaum told reporters after the game. “Tonight, I take responsibility. Maybe there are details I need to change, and I take full responsibility for that. Joey and Nick [De Santis, Impact sporting director] both have the right to say what’s going on and ask questions.”
Schällibaum is certainly entitled to ask questions of his players himself. The Impact started the game shorthanded because of a Justin Mapp wardrobe malfunction as referee Ricardo Salazar ruled that his socks violated uniform regulations, and they looked at times as if they were effectively playing with ten men, such was the ease with which the Red Bulls tore through their defense.
“It wasn’t good, we didn’t start well,” Schällibaum said. “We made individual mistakes, we weren’t in the game and we were too timid. You never win when you play like that.”
Red Bull Arena has been a most inhospitable venue for the Impact. They have lost each of their three games there, scoring three goals and conceding 11. Thierry Henry is a ruthless foe, too: his ridiculous home tally against Montreal now reads six goals and two assists.
With Henry adding one of each before the 20-minute mark, unconventional measures were needed.
“I can’t change three guys in the first half,” Schällibaum pointed out. “It was a message. It was a little bit better afterwards, but mostly after the break. We worked well in the 20 minutes before their third goal.”
Still, the end result is that Montreal’s winless streak drags on, their grip on first place in the Eastern Conference loosening as Sporting Kansas City jumps on the opportunity, leapfrogging – at least for now – the Impact to take over the East's top spot.
“Being first is tough; staying first is tougher,” Schällibaum said. “We have to rebuild the foundations we had before and get back to work.”