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.
FA Cup slate set as Liverpool, Newcastle, Saints win
The field is set for the fourth round of the FA Cup, as Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Southampton joined 29 other teams in the fourth round.
Newcastle United 2-1 Birmingham City
Matt Ritchie scored twice and Yoan Gouffran also scored as the Magpies clinched a trip to third-tier side Oxford United. David Cotterill scored in the 71st minute to provide an interesting finish, but Newcastle weathered the storm.
Jurgen Klopp chose another youth-heavy lineup, but a pair of Premier League vets got the job done for the winner. Philippe Coutinho assisted Lucas Leiva‘s 18th mintue goal to give the Reds a home date with Wolverhampton.
Divock Origi had a late penalty saved by Luke McCormick, but it didn’t come back to haunt the Reds.
Southampton 1-0 Norwich City
Saints got a much-needed albeit ugly win when Shane Long won a tussle in the box to score a stoppage time winner. Southampton will host Arsenal in the fourth round.
Derby County vs. Leicester City
January 28 Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United vs. Newcastle United
Lincoln City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Brentford
Rochdale vs. Huddersfield Town
Burnley vs. Bristol City
Blackburn vs. Blackpool
Middlesbrough vs. Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Millwall vs. Watford
Fulham vs. Hull City
Sutton United vs. Leeds United
“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
When healthy, Jones remains a game changer at the MLS level. He was not healthy often during his season in Colorado, but the Rapids did not lose a regular season game in which he hit the pitch.
Given the amount of buzz surrounding Lyon’s supposed interest in Memphis Depay, it’s no surprise this one got done.
The Ligue 1 side has agreed to buy the Manchester United winger for a fee that will range between $20 and $27 million. Reports claim the Red Devils have both buy back and sell-on clauses inserted in the deal.
Memphis was purchased for approximately $30 million from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015. That was hot on the heels of a 22-goal season that paced the Eredivisie.
After scoring two goals for United in his second appearance for the club, Memphis managed just 7 in 45 appearances. He hasn’t scored in seven matches this season.
Memphis has 27 caps with five goals for the Netherlands, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t reinforce his status with a prolific spell in France.
Lyon is fourth in the Ligue 1 table, eight behind third place PSG and 11 points back of leaders Monaco and Nice. The club is in the Round of 32 for the French Cup, and meets AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League.