Before their Saturday meeting, Montreal had not beaten Philadelphia on their own floor. With less than 22 minutes remaining in the match, history was doomed to repeat itself. But this was before Montreal fought for their dignity and played as a unit. Let’s start at the beginning.
Five minutes had gone by and Philadelphia had already opened the score. Montreal was playing sloppy on both offense and defense. Patrick Leduc, Impact’s commentator, was pessimistic. It wasn’t just a false start, however, as the Union scored 2 straight goals. And just like that they were down 3-0 against the team with the worst record in the league.
The Montrealers were losing their one-on-one battles and couldn’t initiate any real opportunity of scoring. Piatti was silent thus far but it was finally time for the team to step up; he did it first. Montreal’s best offensive player scored a goal in the 41st minutes. Just before half time, Oduro had the occasion of narrowing the gap after beating Union’s goalkeeper but his feet got tangled up and he tripped.
What happened in the second half was completely different from the first. Montreal bounced back. Controlling the ball 60, 8% of the time, the Montreal Impact did what they failed to do most of the game: creating real opportunities of scoring and tightening the defense. Jackson-Hamel caught Philadelphia sleeping and scored at 68:26 minutes. He then scored almost 20 minutes later again, saving the team for a second straight game. Just like that, the 3 goals comeback was complete.
Instead of a fourth loss, Montreal escaped with a third draw. Of course the comeback was a combination of the Union’s lack of defense in the second half as well as Montreal playing better and of course, Montreal is still second to last in the Eastern Conference ranking. But by scoring 3 straight goals without even allowing one, they demonstrated that they are a way better team when they decide to focus than what the ranking shows. They can use this second half as an example and start the next games with the same momentum they gained. This draw could be what initiates a turnaround season.
We will find out in less than a week, as Montreal will host the Vancouver Whitecaps next Saturday.