In a league where more than half the teams make the playoffs, any season in which you don’t get there has to qualify as a disappointment. That said, it would be unfair to be too harsh on the 2018 Montreal Impact. The Impact made big changes headed into last year, including significant roster turnover and the appointment of Remi Garde as manager. A slow start wasn’t completely unexpected, though losing 11 of their first 15 games was probably a slower start than even the most pessimistic fans had envisioned. By June it was looking like the Remi Garde experiment might not be working out. The Impact were bottom of the table, hadn’t hadn’t scored a goal in four games, went a nine-match stretch where they lost eight games and were outscored 24-9, and were getting into fights in practice. Garde was calling players out individually in press conferences and it all just seemed to be falling apart.Read More
We’re all here because someone on Twitter started a discussion pertaining to ranking MLS wingers. I’m certain that my rankings won’t satisfactorally answer that question to everybody’s liking, but hopefully it adds something useful to the conversation. First of all, let’s establish some rules.
1) The definition of a winger for this context is going to be super vague. Essentially a wide player lined up in the midfield according to the team lineup provided at the start of a match. Argue that however you wish. This just seems easiest.
2) The player has to have played 500 minutes in the position his season. We’re not doing this “well--he’s been a winger in the past” or “he’s been really good when played out on the wing in a few games”. I’m not playing this game. It’s 500 minutes, meet it or beat it.
3) If you’ve met the criteria above you get a mention in this.
4) I’m going to provide some data with these thoughts. That will of course come from American Soccer Analysis. I could have broken things down far enough to where we only consider the advanced metrics, but we have to draw the line somewhere so we’re using numbers agnostic of the position played.
5) Look. This is a rankings list. We’re not going to agree on all of these. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to think that I am in fact, wrong. That is fine. I might be.
Let’s get on with it.Read More
Cristian Techera at the back post
As coherent and competent as they have looked this year, the New England Revolution returned to their old tropes in Week 13. Their high-flying draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday was a merger of two eras: the Jay Heaps-led, defensive mistake-filled one and the current Brad Friedel one, in which they have found a definite style (the gegenpress!) and are successfully masking their ongoing defensive issues.Read More
Welcome to Setting the Table, where each week we take some time to focus on the best chance creators in MLS from the last weekend. If you want to see the best chances that were wasted, check out Lowered Expectations. Here we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.Read More
After a poor 2017 season, Montreal has added both youth and talent to their roster. Unfortunately, it has been matched by an even greater exodus of talent. The Impact will certainly look different in 2018, but they probably won't look any better.
2017 in Review
A year ago in my preview I called Montreal the most under-the-radar club in MLS. Going into 2018 this is even more true, partly because of the disappointing season for the Impact in 2017. They missed the playoffs and finished ninth in the East, which encouraged hands-on owner Joey Saputo to start a rebuild. That process began with the firing of manager Mauro Biello at the end of the 2017 season.
Despite not making the playoffs in 2017, ASA's expected goals model suggests Montreal was quite lucky to finish the season with only a -5 goal differential, as our xGD had them closer to -14, tied for third worst in the league. A major part of this xG discrepancy was because of the 17 goals scored by Montreal's best player, Ignacio Piatti, which was 7.65 more than his expected goals. That was the biggest difference for any player in 2017, a stat that becomes even more worrying when you account for the fact that Piatti was also one the of highest goalscorers in terms of unassisted goals (33.8% of his shots were unassisted). If Montreal wishes to compete in 2018 they need Piatti to continue to generate goals for himself at an elite level.Read More
We’re a bit more than a month into the 2017 season. While that’s way too early to say anything definitive, it’s probably enough time to get a feel for where teams stand. Here are 22 stats (one per team), that explain something of each team’s season so far.
Columbus: $642,500 - combined guaranteed compensation due Ola Kamara and Justin Meram (as of September 2016’s salary release)
For the money (equal to roughly one Nocerino), Kamara and Meram are the best attacking partnership in the league. Meram has looked good both out wide and in the middle, which bodes well for the Crew as Federico Higuain hits the wrong side of the age curve. And Ola Kamara has picked up exactly where he left off last year, with 3 goals in his first six games.Read More
Montreal is maybe the most under-the-radar club in MLS, highlighted by amount of times (or lackthereof) they are included in national broadcast games. Even if you attend games in Montreal the atmosphere is more like a lower league game in Europe than traditionally the experience of MLS. These aren't insults - they've been an advantage for the Impact as the environment has allowed them to recruit both senior and youth players to their club that other MLS clubs would struggle lure.
2016 would generally be regarded as a success for the Impact, although their final game in Toronto was a huge disappointment, as they were up two goals and held the away goals tie-breaker, only to collapse in Toronto and miss out on the MLS Cup Final. Montreal's older legs and defense capitulated, allowing Toronto to score five goals and ending the Montreal's season. With limited moves in the off-season these issues are still concerns for Montreal going into the 2017 season as well.Read More