The Montreal Impact are quietly leading the Eastern Conference. They have not had any monumentally huge games and they haven’t had any debilitating losses. They have bee fairly consistent. However, they have had some hiccups, including goalless streaks and unfortunate droppings of points.
On the surface, you won’t find a more balanced attack. They have an ideal No. 10 in Ignacio Piatti. They have a superstar striker in Didier Drogba. They have creativity and speed on the wings in Harry Shipp and Dominic Oduro. But somehow that consistent offensive package is eluding them.
Many are of the opinion that Piatti runs the team. He is the cog that makes this team click. It’s an easy point to prove, he leads the team in goals.
However, most of that inconsistency came without Didier Drogba, who was rehabilitating a knee that didn’t enjoy the feel of turf. When he returned, goals started coming more frequently. Therefore the attention turned to Drogba. Surely he is the piece that this offense needs to be effective. While he has found decent success in front of goal, there have been slip ups from him as well.
So what about Dominic Oduro? Oduro was the striker when Drogba was gone. He has tremendous pace and has continued right where he left off since moving out wide. Could he be the key piece?
Well, initial return would indicate that that is indeed the case. The impact are 4-0-1 when he scores or assists (12 points). There was another win against Columbus where he was on point, he just didn’t score.
Meanwhile, they are 1-1-3 when he doesn’t. Clearly Oduro has a big part to play in this offensive scheme, as they are so much more of an effective unit when Oduro is contributing.
We must add that the Impact are undefeated when Piatti contributes to a goal. Although the catch is that he has only done so in three matches, making them 3-0-0 (9 points) when he contributes but still 1-2-3 when he doesn’t. It’s something worth following, but Oduro is making a much stronger case for himself.
Perhaps it is a matter of offensive overload. Taking care of Drogba and Piatti is one thing, but having to contend with the speed and agility of Oduro with acres of space could be just one piece too many. However, it also has to be mentioned that two of Oduro’s goals and all of his assists have come when he was playing striker. Perhaps a two-striker system is what the Impact are waiting for.
Whatever the case, it is clear that the Impact have success that is heavily tied to Dominic Oduro. Perhaps they can emphasize that more, perhaps they can just keep doing what they’re doing. It is working after all.