Montreal Impact seek offense despite injuries
Jack McInerney showed himself capable of being a starter in the game against Orlando City, but it remains to be seen whether he can carry that torch for long.
McInerney, or Jack-Mac, scored a beautiful chip to put the visitors up 2-0, even though they only held on for a 2-2 draw against the Major League Soccer expansion team.
The defensive errors that led to the draw are a discussion for another time, but McInerney has shown himself to be an acceptable striking option and will be looking to follow up last season’s seven goals in 21 starts and 26 total games for the Impact.
In the last three seasons, he has netted 28 goals in 86 games. While those aren’t numbers to put him up there with the elite scorers of the MLS, they are quite respectable for a 22-year old striker.
The Impact better hope he can fire home consistently and perhaps more prolifically than he has in the past, considering Cameron Porter is on the shelf for nine-to-12 months following his imminent ACL surgery from the knee injury suffered against the New England Revolution in this still-young season.
The bench is looking short on striking talent after Marco Di Viao’s retirement and Porter’s injury, which means Montreal’s sluggish offense – which placed third-worst in the MLS last season – might struggle even worse.
It does not help that the Impact had one of the worst defenses in the league last year, allowing an abysmal 58 goals against in just 34 games played. With two goals scored and three goals against, they would basically be on pace to match their output from last season.
It is expected the team’s defensive woes will improve considering the wealth of defensive players the team has brought in, which was discussed a few weeks back – including big name players in Laurent Ciman and Nigel Reo-Coker.
With Porter shut down for the season, expectations on Ignacio Piatti will be even loftier. He was already seen as Montreal’s only real hope of having a successful season, but with his supporting cast weakened this early in the season, his performance becomes even more important. If Piatti slips into a run of bad form, or can’t produce at the level he is being expected to, who else will score goals?
Justin Mapp being out with a long-term elbow injury does not help the team’s offense, and Andres Romero being in and out of the lineup hurt hasn’t done the team any favours either.
It is hard for an offense to find proper chemistry with so many moving and interchanging parts, but the Impact – and surely Head Coach Frank Klopas – know they must start to find their shooting boots early in the season to establish good habits and gain some confidence.
They will have their next opportunity to do that against Argentina’s Alajuela in CONCACAF where they go into the back-leg of the semi-final match up leading 2-0.