Despite the winter storm chilling the air, the Impact players where ready for the season to start. My favourite play of the night was created by Justin Mapp; no, it’s not just because of his irresistible hair style. Mapp’s incredibly dangerous left foot created the perfect opportunity for Nyassi, 10 minutes into the match, a finishing strike to put the Impact up 1-0. The Impact Family roared, hope filled the air, this was exactly the start we wanted to see. Coming into the match, I had major doubt about the offence. Would they be able to keep up the pressure and keep the shots coming? Outstanding performance from both Felipe and Justin Mapp pressuring the Dallas defence and creating opportunities quickly dissolved my doubt.
Excitement slowly began to fade as FC Dallas’ Castillo flew past the defence and tied it up within minutes. Shortly thereafter, what looked like a slight bump from Brovsky and a dramatic dive from Diaz, created the most controversial play of the night. FC Dallas was awarded a penalty kick leaving the Impact trailing 2-1. Debating over whether FC Dallas should have been awarded the PK is a never ending story. Yes from what I thought, it looked like a dive but, on the other hand, Brovsky needs to learn to be cautious with his actions in the box. Debate all you want, the result remains the same.
With the naughty Marco Di Vaio on suspension, it was up to Wenger to take the shots. Wenger, played an amazing match. Wenger knows how to position himself to create scoring opportunities. Wenger’s struggle is hitting his target but surprisingly, he delivered cracking shots causing the Dallas keeper Seitz to make some tough saves. Jaws dropped to the floor and a few of us even slapped ourselves to confirm reality when Wenger scored his first 2014 season goal with an absolutely beautiful header.
To my surprise, where the match was lost was in the defence. The central defence was incredibly slow. One player that seemed a little off his game was Mateo Ferrari. With multiple injuries, Ferrari was left on his own to be joined by Camara. Saturday night left me questioning the strength of the overall defence. It seems sloppy, especially with the re-signing of players such as Rivas and Lopez whom remain on the injury list. The healthy return of Pearce, could leave us seeing Camara spending a lot of time on the inside. The new addition Eric Miller's debut was promising. He is, obviously, not starting material, but it will be great to see the kid blossom throughout the season
Even with the amazing opportunities created, the Impact just couldn’t score the equalizer. The Impact fell, 3-2 to FC Dallas. MOTM? This one was a difficult choice. I would have to choose Andrew Wenger. He was not shaken from a rough 2013 season. He took chances, and in the end he was rewarded with a beautiful goal. Honourable mention goes out to Justin Mapp for consistently creating chances. This match was not what I expected. I expected a lack in offence, not in defence, and it leaves me feeling surprisingly (cautiously) optimistic about Andrew Wenger but, this is just game one and there are still months of games ahead.
Next match: March 15 vs Houston Dynamo
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports)