Your Philadelphia Union (2-5-2, 8 Pts, 9th Place Eastern Conference ended this grueling stretch, with a visit to the Montreal Impact (3-7-0, 9 Pts, 8th Place). The Union would make five notable changes including Cory Burke‘s 1st MLS start.
These changes would pay off, especially for Burke, in the first road win in one day short of a calendar year, 2-Nil.
Impact Starting XI: 4-3-3
GK: Evan Bush Ds Michael Petrasso, Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; MFs Alejandro Silva, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider; F’s Raheem Edwards, Ignacio Piatti, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
G Andre Blake; Ds Raymon Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; MFs Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal,; F Cory Burke
Despite the lone goal scored, the first half of this match did not lack from action.
Each team made rushes up and down the field and there were scoring chances aplenty, mostly for the Union. They outshot the Impact 10-5, 5-1 on target. Only some great saves by Montreal GK Bush, kept this one from being 3-0 Union.
I was just about to tweet about how this 1st half looked like so many others this season. Lots of good looks from pressure for the U, but nothing to show for it.
That got deleted from my fingers when out of nowhere, after a beautiful cross by Gaddis, Burke headed in his first MLS goal at the near post 43′
That goal stopped the Union’s road scoreless streak at 480 minutes, going back to 10/15/17. Bedoya scored that one in the 13′ vs. Chicago.
The U would hold on to make the half time score still 1-Nil.
It seemed even a handball by Bush outside of the box would not induce a card from referee Kevin Stott, who passed on at least two penalties early, and numerous hand-balls, called but not carded as intentional.
The first card would come though, and it seemed like it would be a costly one for the Union, being a straight Red on Cory Burke. He made a needlessly bad two footed tackle in the 58′ and was sent out of his inaugural starting match.
Fortunately for the U in the 67′ Impact’s Lobitz would return the favor by taking down Picault after he won a ball. The ref originally called it a yellow even though it was an obvious scoring opp denial. A VAR review would put things right. So we were down to 10 a side.
It seemed for a while that the exchange of reds favored Montreal as they started to have more chances, but Blake and the D were up to the task.
After a missed clearance pass went right to a recently subbed in David Accam, he passed it to a wide open Medunjanin, for the easy tap in Insurance Doop off the far post. 88′ It was his first G of the season.
As noted in the opening this was the Union’s first road win since 05/13/17. It was also the first road clean sheet since 9/17/17.
The Union go to 3-5-2, 11 Pts, while the Impact fall to 3-8-0, 9 Pts, exchanging 8th and 9th positions in the East.
Matteo Mancosu for Edwards 81′
Oduro for Petrasso 83′
Warren Creavalle for Dockal 63′
David Accam for Epps 75′
Fabinho for Picault 90′ +6′
Silva 65′ Yellow
Upon VAR review: Lovitz Red for “Denial of obvious goal scoring opportunity” 67′
Samuel Piette 77′ yellow
Burke 58′ Red for “serious foul”
McKenzie 71′ Yellow
This match was certainly a vast improvement over the last two matches, albeit against another not very good soccer squad. A few too many giveaways for my liking, but a much better organized offensive attack, even with the new players in the mix.
The Union would wind up out-shooting the Impact 18-7, 12-4 on target, even while losing the possession battle 52.9 – 47.1. They did this with good counter attacks and good bottling up of Montreal’s offense when they were in the Philadelphia end.
Can they carry that over to next Saturday for a non-conference game, which has the makings of a trap game with a trip to New Jersey the next week? Stay tuned.
The Union return home after this brutal away swing to face Real Salt Lake (3-5-1, 10 Pts, 9th Place Western Conference, as of this posting).