Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (8th in the East, 29 points, 8-5-10) vs. Impact de Montréal (9st in the East, 27 points, 7-6-8)
What: 2017 regular season game
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA
When: Saturday August 12th, 8PM
Watch: CSN Philly, TVAS, MLS Live
Whistle: Rubiel Vazquez; Frank Anderson and Adam Wienckowski; Jose Carlos Rivero; Mark Geiger

Due to the unique way the MLS schedule is arranged, this will be the third meeting for these teams in the 2017 season. And since the odds of both teams making the MLS Cup Playoffs can be generously described as “low”, it is likely the last chance for the Union to defeat the French Canadians. The definitive 3-1 victory over Dallas will have the men from Philadelphia feeling confident in their ability, but the Impact defeated Orlando last weekend so they’ve got momentum of their own.

Scouting report: Montreal Impact

Expected Montreal Lineup

The Impact come into this game two points behind the Union, but with two games in hand, their points per game number is technically better. Pair that with their ability to give up three goals and still go home with a point last time they visited Pennsylvania, and there’s every reason to expect they’ll be coming back looking for another win. Unlike their previous meeting in Quebec, Ignacio Piatti will be back on the field. That’s bad news for the Union because as much as he can be a handful for any MLS team, he seems especially adept at punishing the Union.

On the positive side of things, the Impact backline continues to be nothing to be afraid of. Laurent Ciman will of course make himself a nuisance, but the rest of the defense fails to seem like it should give the Union any particular trouble.

  • Injury report: Ambroise Oyongo (D, knee surgery), Victor Cabrera (D, undisclosed)
  • Suspended: None, but Daniel Lovitz, Ballou Tabla, Hernan Bernardello, or Matteo Mancosu will be suspended next game if any receive a yellow
Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

Expected Philadelphia Lineup

Starting from the back, the Union continue this season’s theme of uncertainty. John McCarthy will be in goal again, as Andre Blake’s Gold Cup hand injury still hasn’t healed enough for the stitches to be safely removed. From there things get much harder to predict. Oguchi Onyewu is questionable due to a groin strain, meaning the back line could be missing the man who’s been the foundation on which much of the defense’s success has been built. If he isn’t available, Jack Elliott would likely be paired with Josh Yaro, giving the Union some speed and versatility that could be helpful in shutting down the Montreal attack. Outside backs get even more difficult to pin down, as Gaddis and Fabinho could provide greater defensive support for a shaky centerback pairing, or Wijnaldum and Rosenberry could provide an offensive outlet to help keep the ball away from Montreal’s most dangerous parts.

Up front it seems likely Roland Alberg will be returning to the No. 10 spot, flanked by Pontius and Ilsinho. This would allow Fafa Picault to rest his strained hamstring, and should be sufficient to pick apart Montreal’s defense. In fact, it needs to be since these are all the players Jim Curtin has to work with from here to the end of the season.


  • Injury report: Maurice Edu (M, ankle/tibia surgery), Fabian Herbers (F, sports hernia recovery), Andre Blake (GK, hand laceration); Questionable: Oguchi Onyewu (D, groin strain), Fafa Picault (F, hamstring strain)
  • Suspended: None, but Alejandro Bedoya or Oguchi Onyewu will be suspended next game if either receive a yellow.
Key Matchup: Alejandro Bedoya vs. Ignacio Piatti

The threat Piatti poses could be mitigated if Bedoya is able to limit his effectivness when Montreal has the ball. The captain did an amazing job playing like this against Red Bull New York, essentially preventing Sacha Kljestan from impacting that game in any meaningful way. A similar performance against Piatti would go a long way towards securing much-needed home points.

Player to Watch: John McCarthy

Montreal will get shots, there’s no denying that. With the potential for a jury-rigged back line in front of him, it’s likely a lot of those shots will become John McCarthy’s responsibilities. Therefore, it seems likely that the final result of this game will depend on his ability to continue making Union fans not too worried about when Andre Blake returns to health.

Prediction: Union 2 – 1 Impact

The Union haven’t kept a clean sheet against Montreal in their two earlier meetings this season, but neither has Montreal. At home and with a more stabilized attack, there’s no reason to expect or accept anything other than all three points.


  1. Geiger is the VAR ref, and the center ref is a noob. Lord help us all.

  2. Can anyone give a recap of what happened at the town hall meeting last night?

  3. Buccistick says:

    “In fact, it needs to be since these are all the players Jim Curtin has to work with from here to the end of the season.”
    Jim C: 0
    Jim O: 1

  4. Yes town hall summary please.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    I believe last game was Bedoya’s 5th straight without a yellow so he is no longer in yellow card jeopardy. When I checked this morning the MLS disciplinary report hadn’t been updated since before the Dallas game.

  6. pragmatist says:

    Please don’t start Alberg. The team is crippled when he starts at the 10. Ilsinho at the 10 and play Epps out right. Bring in Alberg as a sub, but for the love of God, do NOT start him.

    • Have Epps attempt to be Fafa. Keep things as similar to last week as possible.

    • Have to agree with this. After Ilsinho’s best performance in a Union jersey, seems foolish to pull him around outside. Alberg is a black hole and a lost cause, you know he’s not the future. I’m game for Epps getting some run.

  7. There’s no way he’ll start Alberg in the middle after Ilsinho did his best Messi impression last match. He’ll start Epps out wide and keep Ilsinho at the 10. As he should. Epps hasn’t been bad either. I would MUCH rather have him start out wide than have Alberg start in the middle. In fact, it isn’t even close.

  8. I attended the Town Hall meeting, but we swore not to divulge the contents of the meeting. Earnie closed the meeting saying there might be transfer news, but of course now we see nothing happened, including NOT selling Blake to an EPL squad. If had not been injured, I wonder if Earnie and Jay were ready to cash him out for say $10m?

    Keeping my promise, if I were a stockholder and this was a stockholders’ meeting. I would have sold all of my shares the next morning the minute the market opened.

    I can tell you that NO ONE in attendance asked the critical question. Until “the guy in the yellow shirt” (me) stood and asked the elephant question… “WHEN are we going to make a deep run into the playoffs”… and the CEO Tim, in response proceeded to “scold” us all about the accomplishments of the past 18 months, but when I said “I’ve been frustrated for 8 years”… he doubled down about what they had done so far.

    If I violated the trust of my promise of non-disclosure… well, TOUGH SH*t. That meeting was the single most disappointing thing that I experienced at PPL/TES in almost 10 years (inlcudi g stadium construction!!!!)…. and that included two US Open Cup Final losses, Columbus scoring 3 goals in less than 3 minutes, after 80 minutes, to win a game at PPL in “our end”, and a Norteaster vs. Seattle…

    Just ridiculous. I personally boycotted this match, didn’t even watch it on TV… after 8 years of not missing a game, home (in person, 8 YEAR SEASON TICKET HOLDER) or away (in person and on TV) after the totally ridiculous Town Hall meeting.

    This squad is a total joke. The coach allows this all to happen, and now, after Wednesday, I realized why.

    Jay needs to sell this team, or drop down to USL and develop all the coaches and players he wants with REDUCED TICKET PRICES TO MATCH THE QUALITY OF PLAY AND POSITION IN TABLE FOR THIS FRANCHISE. WE ARE AS GOOD AS OUR RECORD HAS BEEN FOR 8 YEARS AND ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    THIS IS NOT A SECONDARY MARKET CITY. HECK, COMCAST IS HQd HERE and we have no radio after 8 years????


    AGAIN, Jay needs to sell this team, or drop down to USL and develop all the coaches and players he wants with REDUCED TICKET PRICES TO MATCH THE QUALITY OF PLAY AND POSITION OVER 8 YEAR IN THE MLS TABLE FOR THIS FRANCHISE.

    POOD… the opposite of DOOP!

  9. Oh yea, I will say that a 15 year old gave “CEO Tim” a solution for not having a Radio broadcast or Post game show.

    The former Sixer’s marketing “genius” was actually shocked it was such a good idea…………………

    HEY TIM…. WE ARE NOT THE SIXERS AND CENTER CITY IS NOT WHERE YOU NEED TO MARKET TO FILL UP TES. WINNING WILL DO THAT, AND MORE including building a 30,000 SEAT CENTER CITY STADIUM, after selling TES to Widener & Villanova and the Team to Comcast.

    CERTAINLY NOT WITH THIS secondary market mentality ownership… and with all due respect to Earnie who was hired for that very reason.


  10. We are developing boys, while every other MLS team is developing men. A laudable goal, but I’m positive Sons of Ben (also very disappointing currently!) never foresaw a secondary market ownership mentality for this primary market city. VERY DISAPPOINTING… and with all due respect to Earnie.

    Maybe it wasn’t Nick’s fault??????

    THAT’S HOW CRAZY THIS SITUATION IS MAKING ME. I actually thought for a fleeting moment at the meeting… “man, I miss Nick!”.

    THAT CRAZY………………..

  11. ALL comments above are made with all due respect to Earnie who was hired to manage what Jay believes is a secondary market team… like Pittsburgh in MLB. He was hired by Jay for that very reason and the success he had in Europe with the same type squad.

    The trouble is… THIS IS NOT A SECONDARY MARKET, JAY AND I AM SHOCKED SoBs are soooooooo quiet about all this. Everyone has been lulled into thinking we are a secondary market team, and losing, backing into the playoffs is WONDERFUL.

    Just plan sad.


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