Home MLS Montreal Impact The Bizarro world of the Montreal Impact: Beats the good teams, loses to the bad ones

The Bizarro world of the Montreal Impact: Beats the good teams, loses to the bad ones


The Montreal Impact has won just one of its last seven last MLS matches.

But, even with the swoon, the Impact is just three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls. And the Impact has two games in hand on New York — so, it’s not like this bad patch in the schedule has decimated the Montreal soccer season. Anything but.

Wait. Is it really a bad patch? Or simply the averages playing out?

That might be the case. Why? Because the Impact is a team that is playing out a bizarre season. The one-win-in-seven streak plays that out. Included in this funk were losses to a Columbus team that has looked awful over the last two months; a draw at Toronto FC, which forced the Impact to rally from two goals down; and a draw at home to Chivas USA. Meanwhile, the one solitary win came over Sporting Kansas City, one of the East’s elite teams.

And, before the streak started, the Impact got a win at Kansas City, too.

The streak happened during what should have been the Impact’s easiest section of the season, with lots of games against some of the poorer teams in the league.

But this is where it gets bizarre. If you’re a gambling man, make sure not to bet on the Impact if it plays poor teams. If Marco Di Vaio and co. are facing the league’s top teams, they don’t lose. And, a stretch of the schedule filled with games against Columbus, FC Dallas, Chivas USA and Toronto FC is more deadly for the Impact than a stretch of games against the top two teams in each conference.

Let’s look at the numbers. The Impact has 35 points out of 21 games.

Of those 21 games, 11 were played against teams currently in playoff spots. The Impact have got 21 points from those 11 games, and average of almost two per match.

The other 10 matches were played against clubs currently out of playoff spots. From those games, just 14 points — an average of 1.4 per match.

That’s a statistically significant difference. And, on the surface, it suggests that the Impact has a problem that’s more pressing than worrying about the number of thirtysomething players it has on its roster. This team’s problem, if anything, is its ability to play down to its opposition, or be guilty of looking past the bad teams. These numbers prove that Saturday’s loss at D.C. United — the worst team in MLS — should not have come as a surprise. All season long, the Impact hasn’t done well against poor teams.

And, remember, the 14 points out of 10 matches against non-playoff sides includes the season-opening win at Seattle, which you could argue is a pretty tough match, and doesn’t belong in the gimme-game column. Take that away, and you get 11 points out of nine games vs. bottom feeders.

So, the lesson here? If you put money on Impact games, you’re a fool.

And, what hope is there. If the Impact make the playoffs — and it SHOULD make the playoffs — there’s only games left against good teams. And that’s where this team excels.

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