Man of the Match: Both Impact center backs had good matches, but Matteo Ferrari offered more Saturday in the way of leadership and composure in dealing with Danny Koevermans and the TFC attack.
Packaged for take-away:
- Impact manager Jesse Marsch changed out half his starting lineup for this one following his team’s mid-week loss to Real Salt Lake. On the outs: defender Josh Gardner, midfielders Davy Arnaud, Jeb Brovsky and Justin Mapp and forward Justin Braun. Arnaud, by the way, is the team captain.
- It was a good-sized gamble from Marsch, considering the experience that guys like Arnaud and Mapp bring. But both teams had reason to be tired. The extra midfield pep provided by fresher legs helped the Impact control possession through most of the match, a spell here or there in the second half notwithstanding.
- Arnaud and Mapp did come on late to help nurse home the result. In fact, Matt’s ball out of the back, wise, precise and early, spring Andrew Wenger for the game-winner.
- Lots of firsts for Montreal on Saturday. Let’s see: first win, first goal for No. 1 MLS draft pick Wenger, first career win as a head coach for Marsch. That about covers the most important ones.
- It was very nearly the first shutout for l’Impact de Montreal but for Koevermans’ clinical finish two minutes from the end.
- Koevermans can clearly score, but getting the ball to him in good spots near goal is a real chore right now for TFC. The side’s shape and passing through the midfield is a mess. But we’ve said that before.
- Montreal right back Zarek Valentin inserts himself into good spots in the attack, but his crossing really isn’t passing muster. Put a big check mark next to “lots of room for improvement.”
- On Logan Emory’s 66th minute red card, which left the visitors to playing 10 on 11: Referee Hilario Grajeda got most it right. The foul on Sanna Nyassi was just outside the penalty area, and Emory definitely had “stop at all cost” in his mind as Nyassi sped toward goal. You do wonder if a yellow card might be sufficed here, as Grajeda could have made a case that defensive cover was close enough (i.e., that Emory wasn’t clearly the last defender involved in the sequence).
- Toronto attacker Ryan Johnson always looks like a winger trying to play the midfield when Aron Winter uses him on the inside. He was behind the striker in the side’s 4-2-3-1 Saturday.
- For all the trouble with TFC’s attack right now, the sides biggest problem continues to be lack of quality center backs. Emory got himself thrown out and Ty Harden simply must be better in critical moments. He didn’t deal well at all with the situation that turned into Wenger’s game-winner.
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
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The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.