Didier Drogba - Montreal Impact - miss - reaction - angry

Early in 2016, the Montreal Impact were winning hearts and minds, looking like they could run these MLS streets – especially once star striker Didier Drogba took the field for good following an early turf-heavy stretch that precluded Drogba's participation in four of the team's first five games.


And yet – unlike last season, when Drogba's arrival involved a wild 11-goals-in-11-games, 7-1-3 finish – Montreal's record has regressed with Drogba on the field in 2016: 2-6-2 in 10 games with the Ivorian vs. a 3-0-2 mark without him. A stunning reveal in the numbers, though one with perhaps less obvious origins.


First, a look at the offense:


2016 MLS Regular Season
With DrogbaStatWithout Drogba
1.5Avg. Goals For1.8
47.3%Possession49.8%
10.4Crosses/Game9.4
57.2Avg. Passes Final 1/364.8
58.7%Passing Accuracy Final 1/372.6%
67.6%Passing Accuracy Opp Half76.3%
9.7Fouls Won/Game12.6


While the Impact are scoring slightly less often with Drogba, that 1.5 average goals for matches last season's 11-game "with" mark. As we move down the line, it appears there have been issues getting the ball to the finish – Montreal's passing accuracy in the opposing half is down nearly six percent, leading to both fewer passes and less accurate ones being delivered in the final third. Possession has dropped slightly and the team has been drawing nearly three fewer fouls while adding an additional cross per game, indicators that perhaps the Impact are less aggressive on the ball, flinging it toward Drogba's prolific forehead.


Yet Drogba has produced five goals and five assists in 760 minutes. And, as mentioned, Montreal hasn't fallen off much on producing goals as a team. Allowing them, however …


2016 MLS Regular Season
With DrogbaStatWithout Drogba
1.7Avg. Goals Against1.0
12.8Shots Conceded/Game13.4
11.6Crosses Conceded/Game16.2


Oh.


Well, then. Montreal are allowing more goals on fewer shots, even as they've cut down on the number of shots conceded. Tough to keep adding those W's when the goalmouth seems open like the ocean for Impact opponents. Going to be a good day in Montreal when the reigning Defender of the Year makes his return from Euro 2016, but Laurent Ciman and Belgium have continued to advance, with a Friday matchup against Wales, making a weekend return almost certainly out of the question.