Ignacio Piatti - Montreal Impact - close-up

We've known – for a month now – that Ignacio Piatti is involved in contract talks with the Montreal Impact regarding an extension.


And Nacho, maybe (more than maybe) seems to be making sure we're aware they're still without resolution, the public deflections deft as dribbles from this master of misdirection.


Make no mistake, this is a critical decision for the Impact. Will Parchman wrote recently that Piatti is quite possibly the most crucial superstar to his team's 2017 MLS Cup hopes:


At his zenith Piatti’s influence is enormous. In bursts, he’s about as important to his side’s success as any one player in the league. He more or less strapped the Impact to his back in the 2016 playoffs, scoring four goals and assisting on two more to take direct part in half of the goals Montreal scored in the postseason.

And that doesn’t include the myriad little things he does to kickstart breaks, keep possession alive and harry ball-carriers with his mastery of body positioning.


On Monday, FourFourTwo scribe Paul Tenorio – who ranked Piatti a tentative fourth in this week's MVP horserace – wrote that "failing to re-sign Piatti would be a mistake."


The reasoning there becomes evident when we dive into Piatti's MLS production. Since Piatti signed with Montreal on July 2, 2014, the Impact are nearly a full point per game better with him on the field:

With Piatti
Stat
Without Piatti
82
Games
29
34
Wins
5
21
Draws
8
27
Losses
16
131
Goals For
29
1.6
Avg. Goals For
1
123
Goals Against
44
1.5
Avg. Goals Against
1.5
41.5%
Win Percent
17.2%
1.5
Points/Game
0.8

During that span, Piatti ranks in the top 10 in MLS in goals (44), braces (9), big chances (40), dribbles completed (198) and top 15 in chances created (32) and fouls won (168). He's racked up a pair of All-Star appearances (2015, 2016) and a Best XI nod.


Montreal have made the playoffs in each of his two full seasons to date, and are tracking toward a third straight berth. For his part, Piatti has five goals and three assists in eight playoff games, as the team has made a deeper playoff run each year – with only an MLS Cup appearance to go.


This season, with 14 goals and 4 assists in 19 appearances, Piatti's on pace to set a personal scoring best (17 goals last year) and could also threaten his eight assists from 2015. That Best XI honor is knocking, and if this bananas six-goal-in-four-game run extends any further, we'll be seeing Piatti among the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player finalists.


Per TVA Sports, in a recent Q&A with Impact season-ticket holders, President Joey Saputo acknowledged, "It has become more difficult for smaller clubs like [the Impact] to compete" in the league's current economic climate, even as they've successfully managed to slot Blerim Dzemaili as a fellow Designated Player this season.


They clearly felt Piatti was worth the investment at age 29. We're about to find out how they feel about it as he gets set to turn 33 next February.


All of which brings us to this: We're watching one of the greats of this MLS era. A top-five attacking talent. For however many more games. Enjoy every one.