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Match report: Impact 2-0 Union

Photo: Michael Long

The Union fell 2-0 to the Montreal Impact on Saturday night in Montreal at Stade Saputo. A late first half header by Andrew Wenger and a golazo from Felipe Martins in the second half made sure the Impact avenged their 2-1 loss at PPL Park from a few weeks ago.

The Union squandered plenty of chances of their own, as Jack McInerney – and especially Lionard Pajoy – had good opportunities, but could not find the back of the net.

The game took a controversial turn midway through the second half when Montreal’s Nelson Rivas was sent off for head-butting Antoine Hoppenot. It was a ridiculous foul and Rivas deserved his marching orders. Jack McInerney was sent off following the head-butt for stepping in to defend his teammate and shoving Rivas.

First half

John Hackworth made two changes to the lineup that defeated New England last weekend, with Lionard Pajoy and Michael Lahoud replacing Antoine Hoppenot and Gabriel Gomez, respectively. The Union seemed content to allow the Impact to keep the ball and try to play off the counter attack early on.

The Impact looked to play through target striker Andrew Wenger, who proved to be a handful for Carlos Valdes and Amobi Okugo. Twice early on the big man found space to take down a long pass and look to shoot on Zac MacMath’s goal. But, amazingly, both times Wenger handled the ball in the build up to his shot.

Lionard Pajoy had a fantastic chance to give the Union the lead in the 21st minute. A fine run from Carlos Valdes saw the big center back charge down the center of the pitch with the ball for the better part of 50 yards before playing in Pajoy. Pajoy’s shot from the right side beat Donovan Rickett’s but the ball glanced off the far post before being cleared.

Ten minutes later, it would be McInerney with the chance to give the Union to lead. Michael Farfan sent in a perfect free kick from 35 yards that found McInerney virtually unmarked on the far post. The young striker rose and made good contact with his header, but his downward strike was straight at Ricketts who was able to beat the shot away for a Union corner kick.

The Impact took advantage of their best chance of the first half and made the Union pay for their misses when Justin Mapp played a short corner kick to Patrice Bernier on the corner of the Union box. Bernier floated a cross into the area where Wenger rose highest and flicked a header with the back of his head into the top corner of MacMath’s goal from 14 yards. The goal came just before the half time whistle, giving the Impact momentum heading into the second half.

Second half

The Union came out for the second half fired up and looked to jump on the expansion side. In the 48th minute, some good work from Michael Lahoud opened up another opportunity for Pajoy. Lahoud picked up the ball 40 yards from the Montreal net and beat two Impact defenders before playing a one-two with Pajoy. Lahoud looked to have an opening to shoot, but instead laid the ball off to the wide open Pajoy. The team’s leading scorer again could not find the target, though, and blasted over the bar from 16 yards.

The Columbian turned provider for the next Union opportunity. Pajoy had some fancy footwork on the right wing before delivering a cross right to Michael Farfan’s head at the near post. Farfan continued the evening’s theme with his header though, pushing it just outside of the near post.

Controversy boiled up suddenly in the 70th minute. As Antoine Hoppenot battled with Nelson Rivas for a ball played high in the air, the two became tangled. Hoppenot appeared to grab hold of Rivas and throw him to the ground as they battled for the ball. Rivas took exception to Hoppenot’s aggression, walked straight up to the young striker and head-butted him in the face. It was a ridiculous reaction from Rivas and he will certainly receive a lengthy ban. Jack McInerney stepped in to defend his teammate and shoved Rivas immediately after the head-butt. Players from both sides came together in the aftermath and there was plenty of shoving and shouting. Referee Ismail Elfath wasted no time showing both Rivas and McInerney straight red cards.

John Hackworth said after the match, “I think one’s a head-butt and one’s a very innocent push.I can’t for the life of me figure out how we’re not up a man for the last 20 minutes…it’s unfathomable to me…I’ve looked at the video, what Jack does is barely even push the player.” PSP asked Hackworth if he expected to lose McInerney for more than one game and he said “No, when people look at that video they’re going to be shocked that he got a red card.”

The game opened up after the sendings off. The Union pushed numbers forward searching for the equalizer, while leaving themselves open for a counterattack going the other way. It would be just such a counter that would put the game out of reach in the 78th minute.

Hassoun Camara’s cross from the right side picked out Felipe Martins who made a smart, late run into the top of the Union box. The cross was perfect and Martins’ finish was of the highest quality. He timed his jump perfectly and scissor kicked a half volley into the bottom corner of MacMath’s goal.

The Union would have one final chance to cut into the Montreal lead in the 83rd minute when Gabriel Gomez rolled a short free kick to Michael Farfan 35 yards from the Impact goal. Farfan’s curling shot was spilled by Ricketts and fell right to the feet of Carlos Valdes. When it seemed like the center back must score from four yards, he some how managed to hit the ball with both feet and push it wide of the Montreal goal.

While the McInerney red card was controversial, the Union will rue their missed chances and the opportunity to grab a point in a tough environment.  Twelve points behind Chicago for the final playoff spot, they face the Fire at home next week in what is a must win game if they are to have any chance to make the playoffs.

Philadelphia: MacMath, Williams, Okugo, Valdes (c), G. Farfan, Carroll, Lahoud  (Hoppenot 61′), M.Farfan, Adu (Gomez 80′), Pajoy (Martinez 73′), McInerney

Montreal: Ricketts, Ferrari, Rivas, Nesta, Camara, Bernier, Warner, Mapp (Nyassi, ’61), Martins, Arnaud, Wenger (Brovsky 70′)

MTL 44′ Andrew Wenger (Patrice Bernier, Justin Mapp)
MTL 78′ Felipe Martins (Hassoun Camara)

MTL 65′ Matteo Ferrari (Yellow, Foul)
PHI 69′ Jack McInerney (Red, Fight)
MTL 69′ Nelson Rivas (Red, Fight)
PHI 89′ Gabriel Gómez (Yellow, Foul)


  1. They travel to the windy banks of the Delaware River next week. It’s a home match.

  2. the last goal was macmath fault.P.S.does any body know macmaths e-mail

  3. I’m sad.
    Still, this is a young team that needs to play. I don’t want a DP or another player without some careful, careful deliberation. There’s a good vibe surrounding the future with all these young players and I don’t want to throw that away to chase points.
    That being said, we need better wingers. We all know about Adu but Pajoy isn’t much better. We need more dynamic players willing to run all day long and be a sparkplug.

    • Still would like to see Martinez get some extended time. I know he’s been frustrating so far but urging he would bring that pace and energy we need.

      Also I’d like to see Hoffman get a run out when he’s healthy, possibly with him up top and Jack on the wing, where he’s shown flashes of potential as well.

  4. James Korman says:

    We lead the league with 11 goals off headers? And last night we caugh up yet another. Um…..We’ve got to address that. It’s killing us. Besides inserting Soumare into the line-up are there any other real solutions? Do we practice defending the aerial game during the week?

    • One solution is to not give the crosser such a ridiculous amount of time to pick his head up and find a man in the box, which was the case on both goals. Height in the box is not going to matter if the U continue not to pressure the wingers 25 yards out.

  5. James Korman says:

    Does anybody know how Baki looked in the reserve game?

  6. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    Per the conversation last week, I have something to complain about re: Hack’s lineups: starting Freddy Adu.

    Adu’s lack of production has officially reached crisis proportions. Our playing XI is effectively a X, with Adu only showing up to turn the ball over when he’s noticeable at all. That ensures that we’re never actually playing at full strenth.

    Pajoy isn’t perfect, but at least he makes the occasional stretching run and scores clutch goals on the run of play. I cannot divine how we can continue to justify 1) playing Adu and 2) keeping him on the books.

  7. I want Carlos Ruiz back. There I said it.

    • Im not even sure finishing is the biggest problem, it aint like we routinely pepper the goal every game. There still seems to be a problem with our final pass. I still want to explore our options at winger.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        Yeah the three solid chances we had (that I can recall off the top of my head) were Pajoy’s near-miss, Valdes’ mishandling, and Jack Mac’s backheel. On another day, any one of those (if not all) very well could have gone in. Only Pajoy’s miss was arguably player error, but even that was a toss-up. So finishing may not be it (Le Toux was a streaky finisher, remember? First half of the season all the laws of thermodynamics were against him, the second half all were for him).

  8. MikeRSoccer says:

    When the two words that describe a typical performance for a player during the season are “anonymous” and “liability” that player should not be receiving double the salary of any other player on the team. Adu was invisible yesterday and the few times he showed up he committed egregious errors that either disrupted his teams play or lead directly to a goal scoring chance. He gifted Montreal the Felipe goal. If Adu is going to stay on this team he should be paid at most $250,000. It’s insulting to players like Gabe Farfan, Michael Farfan, Carlos Valdes and Sheanon Williams who are showing more raw talent, skill and work ethic than Adu, but are being paid significantly less. If the Union can sell him or trade him they should do it. He offers nothing to validate his ridiculous salary demands.

  9. though I believe the red card was a little soft on jack any act of retaliation is likely to be punished. Again mack is young but if he had not jumped in the fray we would have been a man up for 20-25 minutes. last week we saw the ballotelli eqivatlent on the good side with sene this amounts to the bad side of balotelli for mack.
    Finishing may not be the problem but its a problem. We don’t create enough in the way of quality chances to waste them.
    lastly It fails me to put into words how poorly we have been at keeping head balls out the net. This was a header from like 10-12 yards out not a point blank redirection. It is almost unacceptable at this point that we can’t improve here. size is an issue but not the only one. Man marking is not good on set plays.
    we need some leadership on the offensive side and some discipline from the team as a whole.

  10. I agree with everyone here, every match we lose is solely the result of Freddy adu being on the team, or for that matter ever have being born….

    Obviously Freddy is not playing up to his 500k salary, but come on 3/4 of te comments Are about him. Our entire defense played horribly yesterday defensively, they passed relatively well and made nice runs but they were repeatedly out of position or getting beat by their mark.

    We need to stop focusing on Adu, and start looking at the team as a whole and at each game individually. Offense was clearly Not the problem yesterday, except finishing.

    We need to start Sumare and put Okugo in for lahoud ASAP.

    Also, Gomez is a solid player sometimes, but he has zero worth coming off of the bench, he is too slow and has low energy.

    • I agree with your remark that adu is one of the least of our worries. I actualy think his comp is closer to 400 this year.
      I disagree that gomez is worthless off the bench. His only worth right now is off the bench when the other team is tired and hoppenot can create some free kicks in close.

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