The Montreal Impact have struggled to find the back of the net since the restart, but put their goalscoring woes behind them in Vancouver with a convincing win. Thierry Henry’s men went into Sunday’s affair having scored just four goals in four games, only two of which came through open play.
The Impact battled back from an early goal against the Whitecaps, netting four unanswered goals to claim a crucial three points. A win in their final game against Vancouver on Wednesday will be enough for the Impact to book a ticket to yet another Canadian Championship final.
Canadian Men’s National Team players Zachary Brault-Guillard and Samuel Piette have become integral pieces to Henry’s setup this season, combining dangerously on the right-hand side. The duo was in great form last night, propelling the Impact to an important three points.
Brault-Guillard tormented Ali Adnan out wide on Sunday and was the Impact’s standout performer in the final third, registering three key passes and three successful dribbles.
The 21-year-old has demonstrated that he is one of the league’s most intriguing young fullbacks, but doubts remained over his defensive awareness. Brault-Guillard squashed those concerns against the Whitecaps, putting in an all-rounded display when it mattered.
Une victoire mercredi nous place en finale du Championnat canadien.
— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) September 14, 2020
The former Lyon man made a crucial intervention in stoppage time, clearing Russell Teibert’s goalbound effort off the line. If the Impact progress on goal difference, Henry’s men will have Brault-Guillard to thank.
Henry has deployed an asymmetrical 4-3-3 upon the restart, overloading the left-hand side with Saphir Taider and Lassi Lappalainen. In many ways, Brault-Guillard is tasked with providing width on the opposite wing and got forward to devastating effect against the Whitecaps.
Samuel Piette excels higher up the pitch
The former Monaco tactician has fielded Samuel Piette in an unfamiliar advanced role following Victor Wanyama’s arrival, giving the midfielder the license to roam forward on the right alongside Brault-Guillard. Piette has since formed an impressive partnership with the fullback and regularly looks to play Brault-Guillard in behind.
Piette struggled to adapt to the new role initially, but impressed against the Whitecaps on Sunday. The 25-year-old netted the first goal of his MLS career with a neat finish and added an assist on the Impact’s fourth. Beyond his goal, Piette moved the ball quickly and, for the first time since the position switch, looked comfortable in an advanced position.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of it being a bad day and not having the final touch to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Piette. “And I think we had that tonight.”
The Canadian international midfielder was at the heart of the Impact’s first goal, playing Romell Quioto through on goal with an inch-perfect pass. The former Houston Dynamo man did well to square it across to an onrushing Orji Okwonkwo for the equalizer. Piette may not be credited with an assist on the play, but the midfielder did extremely well to kickstart the counter.
Piette proved to be the difference maker once more just five minutes later, after redirecting Taider’s assist past a helpless Thomas Hasal. The finish itself was well-taken, but it was Piette’s movement that stood out. The 25-year-old will be eager to add to his tally, as he gains more familiarity making late runs into the box from an advanced position.
“It’s easy to shine with the players we have,” said Piette. “If we keep creating chances, we’ll obviously pose problems for other teams and score more goals.”
Impact put goalscoring woes behind them
The Impact went into their last two games of round-robin play knowing that two wins would not be enough to progress if they couldn’t overcome Toronto FC on goal difference. Henry’s men struggled in recent times to find the back of the net, relying on dead-ball situations to score.
The Impact quickly put those issues behind them on Sunday, scoring four goals for the first time this season. The visitors overwhelmed the Whitecaps after going down one inside ten minutes, creating chance after chance. Okwonkwo opened the floodgates shortly thereafter, scoring upon his return to the starting eleven.
The Impact are now one win away from progressing to the Canadian Championship final and will be hoping to best the Whitecaps once more on Wednesday.
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) September 14, 2020
Montreal Impact Player Ratings
Clement Diop (5.5) – The Impact shot-stopper did not put in his best performance of the season and could have done better on Theo Bair’s opener.
Zachary Brault-Guillard (7.5) – Brault-Guillard was in sensational form on Sunday and did not give Ali Adnan a moment’s rest. The fullback could have easily picked up a pair of assists had his teammates been more clinical in front of goal.
Rudy Camacho (5.0) – The defender’s recent struggles continued against the Whitecaps. Fresh off handing Toronto FC a late winner on Wednesday, Camacho inadvertently redirected the Whitecaps’s cross into his own goal to hand the hosts a lifeline.
Luis Binks (6.0) – The former Tottenham man was solid but unspectacular at the back and handled Lucas Cavallini’s physical presence with great aplomb. Got beat for pace by Bair on the Whitecaps’s opener and will want that one back.
Jukka Raitaila (5.5) – The Finnish international is slowly adjusting to Henry’s new setup, shifting between leftback and left center-back throughout the game . Raitala struggled to deal with the Whitecaps’s pace on the break and was regularly beaten for speed.
Samuel Piette (8.0) – Piette put in a man-of-the-match performance against the Whitecaps, netting one goal and an assist. The midfielder demonstrated he can excel in an advanced role and is slowly emerging into a two-way threat.
Victor Wanyama (5.5) – It was not Wanyama’s best game since joining and the midfielder struggled to make an impact in the middle of the park. The 29-year-old was often let down by his first touch and will need to improve going into Wednesday’s affair.
Emanuel Maciel (5.0) – The Argentine midfielder got the nod once more and will be disappointed with himself after he foolishly got sent off for a late tackle on Cristian Dajome.
Orji Okwonkwo (6.5) – Okwonkwo returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the restart and used his pace to hit the Whitecaps on the break. Opened his account on the season with a smart finish.
Romell Quioto (6.5) – The former Houston Dynamo man has led the line brilliantly since being deployed as the side’s striker and was excellent once more. Quioto was a constant presence in the penalty box, netting his fourth goal of the season.
Saphir Taider (7.0) – Taider is enjoying the newfound freedom in Henry’s system, occupying advanced positions on the left-wing. The Algerian slotted home expertly from the spot and set up Piette for his side’s third with a pinpoint cross.
Shamit Shome (N/A) – Time management tactic by Henry as Shome was brought on in stoppage time.
Lassi Lappalainen (N/A) – Lappalainen started the game off the bench after making two consecutive starts against Toronto FC and came on with under five to play.