Drilling down on: at Montreal 2, Toronto 1

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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.