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After Sinking The Crew, Impact Hope to Break The Union

Montreal seek back to back wins in MLS for the first time since June 2019...

Philadelphia Union v Montreal Impact
Aaronson of Philadelphia is surrounded by Impact players Raitala, Taider and Wanyama during the meeting of the sides at Red Bull Arena last month.
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

It’s going to be another tough evening for the Impact when they face Jim Curtin’s Philadelphia Union tomorrow evening in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Just like Columbus, before the Impact got there, the Union have a perfect home record, winning all five at Subaru Park this season. Their only two defeats since MLS-is-Back (10 matches) were in visits to the the other sides in the top three, Columbus Crew and Toronto FC and against TFC they led the game for a 50 minutes before being rumbled.

The Impact last won back-to-back MLS games in June last year, when Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers were both beaten 2-1 at Stade Saputo. Interestingly those two games were 21 days apart (CONCACAF’s Gold Cup was on-going at the time). Contrastingly tomorrow evening’s meeting takes place in another ‘5 games in 15 days spell’ for the Impact.

Traditionally Philadelphia has been an opponent Montreal has enjoyed a fair amount of success over, but these days the Sons of Ben are one of the high-flyers in the East and the longest odds you’ll get from the bookies on them winning this one is a short 1/2. Montreal is generally available at 11/2 and the draw 7/2. All very much like last Wednesday evening when the Impact weren’t given much hope against Columbus.

Often when a team wins big and unexpectedly as Montreal did in Ohio last midweek, there follows a flat performance, suggesting the chances of lightning striking twice are slim. Thierry Henry and his coaching staff however will be keen to build on that foundation, so his team should be well-primed going into this one.

Three weeks ago the Impact made a healthy start against the Union at Red Bull Arena, only for optimism (and their lead) to recede rather quickly following Quioto’s foolhardy indiscretion and dismissal after only 11 minutes.

Philadelphia Union v Montreal Impact
The Quioto forearm which proved so costly to his team against Philadelphia three weeks ago, after the same player had given Montreal an early lead in a game eventually lost 1-4.
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

Top scorer Quioto, like Taider, is on his way back from injury, and a place on the bench is probably the closest either man will get to the starting action tomorrow.

Thierry Henry must also deal with the loss of his Finnish international players in Europe on Nations League duty. Raitala’s omission makes way for a recall for Rudy Camacho, while Lappalainen is likely to be replaced by new signing Mason Toye up front.

Jim Curtin, now the 2nd longest-serving coach in MLS following Ben Olsen’s departure from DC United, will have to replace his injured Norwegian centre-back, Jakob Glesnes. Jack Elliott is expected to deputize.

Apart from that the Union is expected to be ‘as you were’ following their 3-0 defeat of Cincinnati. That was a game they laboured in yet still found a way to dig out a convincing result in the end, the sign of championship form.

For the Impact, while the team is becoming more used to the travel routine; leaving the hotel, travelling on the day of the game and staying at another hotel before heading to the stadium it’s not ideal preparation, so says Sam Piette.

“But it is what it is. Let’s be honest there is no home game for us. Even if we play at Red Bull Arena where we’re well accommodated, it’s not a home game for us.

“It’s all about what you put on the pitch in 90 minutes. Obviously tactically, technically, but especially in the spirit. Against Columbus it was the same situation [with match preparation and travel] but I think when things started going away from us we kept solid and were pushing forward. That’s how we created the PK.

“It’s a tough place to go, Philly. They’re in really good form right now, but yeah it’s definitely something [games on the road] we’re getting a little bit used to, even though we would prefer not to and we’re looking forward to trying to make another statement tomorrow against Philly.”

Projected Line-ups -

Union - Blake - Mbaizo, Elliott, McKenzie, Wagner - Bedoya, Monteiro - Santos, Fontana, Aaronson - Przybylko

Impact - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Camacho, Binks, Fanni, Corrales - Wanyama, Piette, Sejdic - Bojan, Toye

Match Officials -

  • Referee: Ted Unkel
  • Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Cory Richardson
  • 4th Official: Luis Arroyo
  • VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero