Audi Player Index Playoffs Analysis

Audi Player Index Playoffs Analysis: Recapping the East's First Legs

Marco Donadel, Bradley Wright-Phillips - Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls - Audi

Both Canadian sides left in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs hosted the opposition in their Eastern Conference Semifinals first legs on Sunday— with the New York Red Bulls visiting the Montreal Impact and New York City FC playing at Toronto FC’s BMO Field.

Both teams from north of the border came away with wins on Sunday night. But as all four sides look toward the second leg, what is it that each side has to do to preserve their lead or reverse their fortune?

Montreal Impact

The key for the Montreal Impact next week will be to continue to contain the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips. This is a job that will primarily fall on the shoulders of Evan Bush and his two center backs, Victor Cabrera and Laurent Ciman. All three had solid performances on Sunday, and, as tracked by the Audi Player Index, they each had a better Audi Player Index score than the regular season's leading goal scorer. The two center backs also combined to go 7-for-8 in successful tackles.

But this job is too big to place squarely on any three individuals’ shoulders. The whole team will have to help out as well just as they did below.

Toronto FC

For the Reds to stay in front, they need to have Jozy Altidore play as well as he did in the second half. After 45 minutes, Altidore had an Audi Player Index score of 66.

He had a score of 622 for the second stanza, however. This is the Altidore they need for the full match if they are going to hold on to their 2-0 lead.

New York Red Bulls

Interestingly enough, the Red Bulls had 63.3 percent of the possession to Montreal’s 36.7 percent. Yet, the Impact collectively outscored the Red Bulls by more than 1,000 points in the Audi Player Index Score. This disconnect is a clear indication of the Red Bulls' need to make more of their time on the ball. Midfielder Mike Grella was particularly guilty, conceding the ball out of play four times. He will have to do more in the second leg than give up a goal kick in moments like that seen below.

New York City FC

Unlike TFC’s Altidore, NYCFC’s Ronald Matarrita had a solid first half and a disappointing second. Matarrita wrapped up the first 45 minutes with 163 points on the Audi Player Index board. He finished the game with 109 (after scoring -54 points for second half).

He will need to do better than complete only seven of 13 passes in the NYCFC defensive half as he did in the latter 45. But more importantly, he will need to show better situational awareness.

Below he decided to try and maintain possession down a goal and as a visitor rather than attempt to just clear the ball and live to fight another day at home. This turn over led to that pivotal second TFC goal.