Montreal Impact (3-2-2) will again be without Ignacio Piatti, the fifth successive game the Argentine has been ruled out of with the knee injury sustained in Orlando. New signing Omar Browne is also unavailable due to pending paperwork requirements, but could be present for the midweek trip to New England.
But ‘The U’ are not without their roster problems either. Defensive pillar, Aaron Trusty, red-carded in the 0-2 defeat in LA, misses his first game since 2017, and Mexican DP, Marco Fabian is unlikely to be fit. Twenty-year-old Mark McKenzie is likely to deputize for Trusty in what will be a very young back four, while Brenden Aaronson is expected to replace Fabian in the #10 role.
Philadelphia (3-3-1) had a challenging start to the season, with games against Toronto FC, Sporting KC, Atlanta and Columbus Crew in it’s opening four fixtures. If you’re one for direct benchmarks, then the only win came in the last of those games, 3-0 against the Crew, who played out a very tight contest in Montreal last weekend before losing by the only goal.
The U’s latest match was a 0-2 defeat at LAFC, but it did come after three wins on the bounce.
So as usual on the road, a difficult game is in prospect. But it is one of the few away grounds in MLS where the Impact has a decent record. They’ve not lost in their last 5 visits, winning twice, and scoring 10 goals in their last three, virtually unheard of road-form, for a Montreal team.
Despite this, it’s difficult to imagine Montreal maintaining their fine goalscoring form at Talen Energy Stadium, especially without Piatti. They’ve not won a competitive road game (all comps) without the Argentine in their line-up since September 2013, at New England. That’s 46 road games in a row! But that horrible stat must come to an end sometime.
Montreal, expect to line-up, ‘as you were’ from last Saturday’s success and again their strategy will be based on strong defence and counter-attack, which is unlikely to make for an early goal-fest. In their 7 matches to date this season, tomorrow’s opponent has failed to find a goal in the first third of any game.
Evan Bush, breaking Patrice Bernier’s record for MLS appearances tomorrow, will be hoping that barren Philly run is not only maintained, but extended. Should he complete his 152nd MLS appearance unbeaten, the Ohio native will become the first Impact goal-keeper to record 4 successive shut-outs in MLS.
Jim Curtin, Philly’s head coach has hinted at giving his side a more attacking look to start, so that may mean a start for Brazilian veteran Ilsinho in the midfield, while up front, Cory Burke, scorer and red-carded in The U’s win last year in Montreal is likely to spearhead the attack. The main danger for Montreal is likely to come from the pair flanking Burke. There is real pace with David Accam (top scorer with 3 this season) and Fafa Picault, so Sagna and Lovitz will need to be at their best.
Evan Bush will still be a record-breaker should he take his place between the sticks, as looks certain, but he’ll want to add that fourth clean-sheet in-a-row, and not just for personal reasons. Should he, and the Impact, succeed it will represent another away trip where they have taken vital points from a Conference rival, and one which looks set to challenge for a second post-season in a row. Montreal, just one point above Philadelphia in the standings, will be determined it won’t be at their expense, this time around.
Philadelphia - Blake - Gaddis, Elliott, McKenzie, Wagner - Medunjanin, Bedoya, Ilsinho - Piccault, Burke, Accam
IMFC - Bush - Sagna, Raitala, Diallo, Lovitz - Piette, Azira, Taider - Okwonkwo, Urruti, Novillo
Referee: Robert Sibigia
Asst Refs: Adam Garner, Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Marcos DeOlivera
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic