Match Preview: Union vs Montreal Impact, Saturday April 20 at 1:00 PM

The boys in blue return home hoping to get on the right foot again following their loss in LA.

The Philadelphia Union (5th place, 3-1-3, 10 points) will face the Montreal Impact (3rd place, 3-2-2, 11 points) at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday afternoon in an early test of two Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls. The U are coming off of a 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on the West Coast, while the Impact have won three straight.

The boys in blue will go into the match without the services of two usual selections: centerback Auston Trusty (suspension) and midfielder Marco Fabian (ankle). Expect Mark McKenzie to pair with Jack Elliott in the back and Brenden Aaronson to slide into the number 10 slot.

The Impact were one of the teams last year that seemed to figure the Union out; they knew if they played good defense, they could strike the U on the counter, as the Union midfield was constructed to possess the ball, but was not good at winning it back. That’s changed a bit this year, both with the change in shape for the boys in blue, but also the personnel. Jamiro Monteiro is able to chase people down and regain the ball for the U in addition to the steady Warren Creavalle. They will most likely rely on one of them tomorrow to break up the counter.

For the visitors, midfielder Saphir Taider and stalwart Ignacio Piatti leads them with three goals apiece, while the always-dangerous Max Urruti leads with three assists. Evan Bush starts between the woodwork for them and has three shutouts. Speaking of which…

Montreal possesses a defense that’s hot right now and hasn’t conceded in over three matches. Can the Union offense figure them out? Probably. Can the Union take the ball back from the Impact enough to stop their offense from doing damage on the break? That’s uncertain. I have to see more before I call a win for the Union here. A split of the points is certainly not the worst thing in the world this early in the season, however.

Union 1, Montreal 1

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