On a breezy but comfortable day, the Philadelphia Union (3-3-1, 10 Pts, 5th Place Eastern Conference) returned to Eastern conference play hosting the Montreal Impact (3-2-3, 11 Pts, 4th Place)
The announced crowd of 15,407 were rewarded with a fairly easy 3-Nil win. An injury and a red card though for the Union, cast a bit of a pall over this match before it ended.
Montreal Impact Starting XI: 4,3,3
GK Evan Bush; Ds Jukka Raitala, Zakaria Diallo, Danile Lovitz, Bacary Sagna; MFs Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider, Michael Azira, Harry Novillo; Fs Harry Novillo, Orji Okwonko
Union Starting XI: 4,3,1,2
GK Andre Blake; Ds Aurelien Collin, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Jamiro Monteiro, Ilsinho, Brenden Aaronson; F Cory Burke
You could not have asked for a better first half by the U.
As normal at home, they forced the play early, and this time instead of getting frustrated by missed chances they scored early and late
The early G came in the 14′ as a turnover went right to Burke in midfield and Montreal’s D could not stop his strike from 20′ out into the far low corner of the net.
Impact Goalie, Bush did not have a chance, ending his 289′ shut-out streak.
It was Burke’s second, and the earliest goal of the season for the U.
As typical for an eastern conference game there were fouls and dives galore, as Montreal started to push a bit more.
In the 43′ though, on a corner kick by the U, Elliott was tackled in the box, and Philadelphia was awarded a PK, upheld by VAR.
Monteiro buried that, as Bush guessed wrong just at the 45′ mark, his first G for the Union.
The U led TOP 52.8 – 47.2, and made their only two shots count. Montreal had three SOG, but only one was on target.
Early in the second half Blake suffered a right groin injury on a corner kick, and was replaced by Wayne PA’s Matt Freese 54′. The Union defense did a good job keeping his chances to a minimum, as he did not have to make an official save, though he caught a few balls, or put them out of play.
The Union offense would put this game out of reach not long after Blake left. Passes by Medunjanin and Wagner eventually got to Burke who semi-whiffed on the shot. Like a Captain, Bedoya collected the ball and and slipped it past a scrambling Bush. 57′ Burke would get an A on his flub.
It would have been nice for the U if the game could have ended there, but as the half wore on and the play got chippier, the referee Robert Sibiga, seemed to suddenly realize he had cards in his pocket as three would go to the Union, including a red card to Wagner in the 90′ minute on a bad foul, that was embellished upon by Choinière to make it seem worse than it was. Only one was handed out to Montreal, that being to the goalie who kept complaining after he collided with Burke on a ball Burke had every right to.
The Union would continue to own the TOP 53.1 – 46.9, and though they were out-shot 8-4, Montreal never really made any good chances as only one of those was on target. The Union D helped by blocking four of those shots.
In the end, despite the injury to Burke and all the calls on the U, the important thing was the W to send them to 4-3-1, 13 Pts, 3rd Place Eastern conference. Montreal dropped to 5th place with the L.
Montreal Impact Cards:
Wagner Red 90′ after Var review.
Montreal Impact Subs:
Shamit Shome for Taïder HT
Clément Bayiha for Okwonkwo HT
Mathieu Choinière for Novillo 74′
Matt Freese for Blake (Right Groin Injury) 54′
Fafa Picault for Ilsinho 68′
Kacper Przybylko, his first MLS action, for Burke 83′
Winning matches against teams directly ahead of you in the table, is a good thing no matter what time of the season it is. It was also great to see the Union win this one with quite a different lineup than we have seen this season. One of those changes was the insertion of Collin due to Mark McKenzie having appendicitis. Collin did a very good job in the back. This is a good sign that the U have more depth than in the past, and we will see this on Saturday after the red card to Wagner, and the injury to Burke, who Curtin said after the match is likely to miss some time and is probably out for next week.
The Union hit the road again to face another Western Conference foe in Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1-4-2, 5 Pts, 9th Place Western Conference) on Saturday 4/27 at 5:00 PM EDT on PHL17. Vancouver plays at Orlando City SC which started when this match ended.