The Philadelphia Union were unable to make any progress on their playoff chase as they lost to the Montreal Impact 3-0 Saturday night in Chester. The Impact got a brace by Blerim Dzemaili and a converted penalty kick by Ignacio Piatti.
Just when you think the Union might be getting their act together, they have a way of bringing you back down. The U were coming off a 3-0 thumping of FC Dallas, and one of the few teams below the Union in the table, the Montreal Impact, were coming into town. And just like the Union, the Impact have been abysmal on the road. The set up was there to make another push toward the red line, but the boys in blue were unable to take advantage of it.
Union first XI: McCarthy; Wijnaldum, Yaro, Elliott (Simpson 85’), Gaddis; Medunjanin, Bedoya; Picault, Ilsinho (Alberg 75’), Pontius (Epps 67’); Sapong
Montreal first XI: Bush; Lovitz, Ciman, Cabrera, Duvall; Dzemaili, Piette, Bernier (Beland-Goyette 80’); Piatti, Mancosu (Fisher 87’), Oduru (Salazar 67’)
Joshua Yaro got the call at centerback as Oguchi Onyewu is nursing a sore groin. John McCarthy got another chance to mind the net as Andre Blake is still on the mend after hurting his hand while playing for the Jamaican national team in the Gold Cup.
For the Impact, this match was the debut of Quebec-born Canadian national team midfielder Samuel Piette, who up to now had plied his trade in Europe, most recently for Spanish club CD Izarra.
The first half was uneventful as neither side was able to generate a lot of offense. In the 5th minute C.J. Sapong got off a shot at point blank range but Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush was there to stop it. Five minutes later Piatti found himself one-on-one with McCarthy, but Piatti’s shot went right to the goalkeeper. The rest of the half was a bit of a sleeper, with the only real excitement occurring when Fafa Picault crossed a ball intended for Ilsinho with no one but Bush to beat, but Daniel Lovitz came in with a flying header to deny Ilsinho the ball.
The Union’s best chance to score came in the 66th minute when Giliano Wijnaldum shot a ball in the box that hit the right post.
The Impact had better luck 3 minutes later when Dzemaili scored his first goal of the night. Lovitz crossed to ball from the left side into the box. Yaro was in a position to clear it, but only got his back heel on it and the deflection went to Dzemaili who sent a powerful shot into the back of the net.
The Union now had to chase the game being down by a goal, yet as the match wore on, they looked less and less inspired. Then the Impact put the game away in the 90th minute. Dzemaili was dribbling the ball in the box when McCarthy came out to challenge him and knocked Dzemaili down. The foul was called and Piatti did not miss the resulting penalty kick.
The Impact added insult to injury when Dzemaili scored his second goal of the match in the final minute of stoppage time with the assist from Piatti.
The Impact now leap over the Union in the standings with 10 matches to go, six of them on the road. Considering their poor performance away from home (and poor performance at home half of the time), there is not a lot of reason to expect that the U will be playing into November this season. Earnie Stewart didn’t make any moves during this summer’s transfer window, let’s hope he has a plan to improve this team for 2018.