Tag Archives: Rod Fanni

June Brings a Month of Highs Following the Impact’s Struggles

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

It has been a roller coaster start to the summer for the Montréal Impact. Fans are used to highs and lows with this team, and as the month of May wound to a close, the Impact were in the depths of one of those lows. They had suffered four straight shut-out losses, Ignacio Piatti was in the midst of his longest goal drought ever at 5 games without a contribution, and players and coaches were losing their tempers at training.

The World Cup break was still a few weeks away, but couldn’t come soon enough for fans who were tired of watching their team be the whipping boys of the league.

With Albert Elis and the free-scoring Houston Dynamo in town, fans were prepared to be the victims of a firing squad, yet the Impact pulled out a win – and their third clean sheet of the season!

The following match saw the Impact make the long journey to face the other Texas team, FC Dallas, who have generally enjoyed great success against the Bleu-Blanc-Noir. An own goal and a penalty saw the Impact wilt in the Lone Star State’s heat to the tune of 2-0.

There wasn’t much time to sulk over the loss though, as the Impact faced a mid-week game against Orlando City SC before the World Cup break. Orlando were also in tailspin, as they came into the match suffering from 5 straight losses. On a rainy Wednesday night, few anticipated much of a spectacle. However, for a rare time this season, luck shone on the Impact. They received an early penalty that broke Piatti’s dry spell, benefitted from an own goal, and sealed the result with a rare late goal, also from Piatti.

Following the international break, the Impact took to the road again to take on Orlando for the second consecutive match, this time in the Lions’ den. A road game in hot weather rarely spelled means anything good for the Impact. Yet Orlando were still reeling from tallying another loss and were now without a head coach to top it off, following Jason Kreis’ dismissal after the match in Montréal.

Another own goal from OCSC followed by Piatti’s third goal in two matches saw the Impact take a comfortable 2-0 result home, although Orlando is clearly a shadow of the team who took the start of the season by storm.

The team has finally begun to creep toward the playoff line, and fans are finding positives to take from matches once again. Although players have finally begun to play as more of a cohesive unit – for each other, instead of just with each other – two players have stood head and shoulders above their teammates in the recent uptick in form.

Rod Fanni’s cool head and clean play as a defender has seen many opposition attacks snuffed out before goalkeeper Evan Bush need worry. Some are also crediting Fanni’s level-headed presence with the improved decision-making fellow central defender Rudy Camacho has demonstrated.

Samuel Piette has endeared himself to fans beyond being a native Québecois by controlling the midfield and intercepting passes like it’s the easiest job in the world.

Although the outcome of this season is still up in the air, there are diamonds in the rough within the team.

Next up: A true test of whether this recent positive form is an anomaly or a step forward – Sporting KC, unbeaten in 7 matches, visit Stade Saputo on Saturday, June 30th.

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The Montréal Impact and the No Good, Very Bad Week

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Results: 1-0 Loss @ Chicago Fire, 0-2 Loss vs Philadelphia Union

Hot on the heels of a soul-cleansing 4-2 victory over the New England Revolution, the Montréal Impact traveled to Chicago as part of a busy week. After the emphatic display, fans looked forward to the next performance eagerly, especially as Chicago and Philadelphia are two Eastern Conference foes against whom it is critical to gain points.

Rémi Garde presented a 4-3-3 line-up featuring the attacking trio who had put 4 past New England, and many were starting to feel hopeful with Rod Fanni and Michael Petrasso returning to health.

Unfortunately, an inability to capitalize on promising chances, a defender’s successful stifling of Nacho Piatti and an unfortunate deflection contributed to what would be an unsuccessful day at the office for Montréal. However, there was little time to dwell on that loss. Philadelphia Union were in town on Saturday, a team who had not scored a road goal in 2018 and had not won in their last 16 road games. It was time to make a statement and begin to make a fortress out of Stade Saputo!

The lineup and formation presented for the match vs the Union were identical to the ones from mid-week – no squad rotation had been implemented. Perhaps this was when alarm bells should have begun to ring, but kickoff an hour later made it all too evident that no amount of rotation would have saved the Impact from the humiliating 90 minutes that were to come.

Individual errors would be to blame for both goals conceded, but it was the collective performance that was most shocking. The majority of Montréal players on the pitch displayed varying combinations of lethargy, sloppiness, apathy, and confusion. The Union had a much more disciplined side, and despite having played midweek themselves, they came out fresher and more prepared to claim their deserved 3 points.

Although Philadelphia’s performance was simply superior in nearly all aspects, their goals highlight some of the most glaring problems on the Impact backline. First, simple marking was forgotten as lone striker Corey Burke was entitled to a free header to put Philly on the scoreboard just before halftime. Jukka Raitala tried to get back to his man before the damage was done, but like most of his team’s efforts last week, it was simply too little, too late.

Near the end of the game, when both teams were down to 10 men, there was some sort of miscommunication on the backline, as Chris Duvall made an ill-advised horizontal pass near the goal line. Raitala allowed that pass to bobble over his foot, and Haris Medunjanin had no problem seizing the loose ball and sealing the Impact’s miserable fate.

This season has been defined by many, including myself, as a transitional year. And that’s perfectly fine. What is most frustrating is that the promising tactical and technical improvements seen in the early games of the season have disappeared from the Impact’s play and the team who began the season on an encouraging note is barely a ghost of a memory. The drastic regression in performances over the past several weeks is deeply concerning. If this is meant to be a “reconstruction” … is the Montreal Impact in the demolition phase right now?

Next up: The Impact will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a Monday game versus the LA Galaxy, who are suffering their own defensive issues, on Monday, May 21st. To create more of a headache, Impact find themselves back to square one on the injury front – there is only one healthy central defender available! They will also have to figure out a solution to fill Daniel Lovitz’s absence as he serves his red card suspension. There are sure to be goals aplenty…

Featured image courtesy: impactmontreal.com

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