New season, same old Nacho

Piatti proves why he’s one of the league’s best against LAFC

There aren’t many things Nacho Piatti hasn’t already done in an Impact uniform. The Argentine maestro has taken the league by storm and has left Stade Saputo’s supporters in awe on more than one occasion since he first came to Montreal in 2014.

Saturday, he reached another milestone: his first hat-trick in MLS. Nacho scored all of his team’s goals in the first half to give the Bleu-blanc-noir a 3-1 lead going back to the locker room, but playing with 10 men took its toll on the team in the second half, and LAFC was able to claw its way back and win the game.

“I’m unhappy that we lost the game in that way,” said Piatti. “It’s the first time I ever score three goals in MLS. Of course, I’m happy, but winning is more important. We made mistakes in the second half and it ended up costing us.”

Nacho leads the pack

Of the nine goals the Impact has scored so far this year, Nacho has been involved in seven of them, scoring four and adding another three assists. To say the South American is the focal point of the Impact’s offense would be an understatement.

“His ability with the ball is second to none, especially in this league,” said defender Daniel Lovitz. “He doesn’t need much to have an opportunity to be dangerous and cause the other team problems. It’ll be important for us to support him more, so that he knows that if he scores three goals, we’ll be able to win the game as a team. Knowing Nacho and how he conducts himself, he’ll bring the same effort next game and be just as dangerous.”

That next game will be against Atlanta United, this Saturday at 1pm. Since it entered the league last year, Atlanta has built itself an offensive reputation, featuring forwards like Miguel Almirón, Josef Martínez, and Ezequiel Barco in its starting 11. If the Impact will need to be solid defensively in its game against Atlanta, Nacho knows what he needs to do to help his team win. 

“It’s more important for me to stay up front and help the team offensively,” added Nacho. “Often, we’re five defenders, and then there’s Sam [Piette] and Saphir [Taïder] as well. It’s better for me to stay up front. Of course, we’ll need to defend well because they’re a team that attacks a lot, but we need to make sure we take full advantage of our opportunities as well.”