A decent first half followed by a completely listless second led to the Fire's fifth loss of the season. The visitors were at least competitive in the initial 45 and it seemed like there was a chance to gain a result with Montreal having played a mid week non-league game. That wasn't the case as the Impact were the aggressor after the break and all hope was extinguished when Jeff Larentowicz was shown a straight red card for tripping Andrea Pisanu and denying him a goal scoring opportunity in the eyes of referee Fotis Bazakos. The red card was a weak call but it is debatable so it may not be overturned after review by the Disciplinary Committee. Fortunately, Bazakos reversed his initial incorrect decision to award a penalty kick after conferring with the assistant referees.
The red card was unfortunate and may overshadow the continuing problem with this squad in the offensive third. The Fire generated four shots on target in the first half and none in the second. Of those four attempts, two were registered by Gonzalo Segares, one by Larentowicz, and one by Daniel Paladini. The two former tries were hopeful long distances chances placing further emphasis on the flaccid play of the club's front runners. Sherjill MacDonald isn't the only culprit of lackluster performance this season but watching Marco Di Vaio operate for Montreal blatantly illustrates the difference in quality between each squad's DP forwards. It should be noted that there is also a roughly $1.5 million dollar per season gap between these particular players but the lack of a legitimately consistent threat won't make things any easier in the next few months.
There are other issues that need to be addressed such as the problem at right back, depth along the back line, and a true playmaker in the center of the pitch but until the difference in quality at the forward spot between the Fire and the best teams in MLS is rectified the club will need to play almost perfectly on the defensive end to have a chance. Every mistake and momentary lapse will be magnified ten fold since there is no room for even the slightest error at the moment.
The Fire's next match is May 11 at home against Philadelphia. It's going to be another long two weeks.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Should have done better with Di Vaio's deflected trickler in the 76th but came up with a big save against Paponi in the 83rd.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Managed to get a head on two crosses in the first half but there wasn't enough steam behind them to seriously challenge Perkins. Led the Fire in shot attempts....at left back.
D Austin Berry (5) - Decent effort particularly in the first half. Had a nice stop on Di Vaio in the 53rd.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Probably the Fire's best overall performer on the day. Stood up Di Vaio in a 1v1 situation in the 49th and followed that up with a break up of a counter a few seconds later.
D Logan Pause (5) - Victimized at right back by Romero for the first Montreal goal but it wasn't terrible defending. Sometimes the other guys just make a play. That was the case in this one. Also slightly deflected Di Vaio's shot that rolled slowly past Johnson into the net.
M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - The red card issued by Bazakos was simply a blown call. The Fire are considering filing an appeal with the MLS Disciplinary Committee and they should. Registered one of the four shots on target for the visitors with a long distance attempt right at Perkins in the 17th.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - Delivered the only shot attempt that really tested the Montreal 'keeper with a knuckler from 35 yards that forced Perkins to dive to his left. Okay in the first half but passing and distribution was mediocre at best after an 8th minute cross into Nyarko.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - A good run to get into position for a chance early. The Fire should have been able to do better against a bit of a patchwork Montreal back line but Nyarko has no help from the opposite side of the field and the center of the pitch when it comes to creating offensively.
M Joel Lindpere (4) - Providing very little offensively and close to nothing defensively. Caught standing around ball watching in the 29th as Brovsky was given all day to launch a volley at goal in the 29th. Completely disappeared in the second half. At some point soon he's going to have to come out of the first eleven.
F Chris Rolfe (4) - A few nice touches and few bad passes in the first half. The red card changed what the Fire could do offensively so the forwards were rendered useless from the 63rd minute on. The combination play that was so effective last year with MacDonald seems to be non-existent.
F Sherjill MacDonald (3) - After two decent games that made it seem that he was pulling out of whatever fog he's been in for most of the year, there was this. It's one thing to work and not deliver but it's entirely another to appear uninspired while shuffling through the sixty minutes or so that he's going to get every match. As the highest paid player on the squad (by a pretty fair margin) his performance this season has simply been unacceptable in all but a few instances.
F Maicon Santos (4) - Entered for MacDonald in the 66th but the red card preceded his appearance so there wasn't much from him in this match other than a badly taken free kick in the 75th.
M Alex (5) - Subbed in for Lindpere in the 77th. This move probably should have been made earlier along with the inclusion of Santos.
M Dilly Duka (5) - Came in for Nyarko in the 83rd. By then it much too late to make a difference.