He may not get the public farewell he deserves, but Ignacio Piatti’s place as a legend is cemented.
Both in MLS and with the Montreal Impact.
Monday night signaled the end of an era for the Impact, as the team announced it had mutually agreed to part ways with Piatti. The Argentine has left Montreal to head back to San Lorenzo — whom he played for prior to joining the Impact — in order to be closer to his family as he inches towards the end of his career.
While Piatti’s time with the Impact may be over, the memories he provided at the club will last for generations. The playmaking Piatti was not only an incredible servant to the Impact over the past six years with his dazzling style, goals, and assists, but he was also a poster boy for what MLS could and has become as a hot bed for South American talent.
Sure, Piatti may have been largely overlooked and underrated by plenty of media, fans, and even the league itself and thus his star power weakened. That, however, does not take away from his incredible contributions for the Impact, which saw him score a franchise-best 66 goals while assisting on 35 others in 135 regular-season appearances.
Making all that even more impressive is that the 36-year-old put up a good portion of those gaudy numbers playing as a winger. Piatti was pushed away from goal and out to the left flank back in 2016, but his production continued as he expertly exploited space down the flanks, raced by defenders on the dribble, and finished as clinically as a center forward.
Piatti was also the type of player that did not shy away from big moments. It is true the Impact only made the playoffs twice during his tenure and never won any piece of significant silverware during his time with the team, though they came close when they finished as runners-up in the 2014-15 Concacaf Champions League.
That said, Piatti delivered regularly when the spotlight shone on him. Who could forget his postseason performance against the New York Red Bulls in 2016, in which he bagged a brace in the decisive leg at Red Bull Arena before uttering the pointed comments about the opposing side being a “weak team in the playoffs”?
Maybe the biggest slight on Piatti’s time with the Impact and in MLS is that we did not get to see enough of him in the postseason. That we were unable to witness him conjure up his propensity for magic in more pressure-packed matches. That he did not have even more opportunities to amaze with his quality and skill.
The Impact’s shortcomings have as much to do with that as anything, however. Piatti regularly lifted the team, and was a major reason why they were as competitive as they were for much of the past half-decade. If not for him, the Impact may have been as poor as the Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire, and Orlando City.
Piatti may not be the biggest or flashiest name to have ever played in MLS, but he was one of the most productive at a time when the league began to quickly evolve. His performances not only made him a star with the Impact, but a legend in the league.
Even if his contributions flew relatively under the radar.