Union match reports

Preseason match report: Philadelphia Union 5-0 Montreal Impact

Photo: 215pix

Philadelphia Union put the hurt on Montreal Impact with a 5-0 win in the club’s second match of the Suncoast Invitational in Clearwater, Florida on Wednesday night.

While the Impact (who, it should be noted, started a very, very inexperienced lineup) were in surprisingly poor form, the Union were dominant from the opening whistle.

Midfielder Haris Medunjanin wanted to go over the top of the Impact’s back line early and often, easily picking out C.J. Sapong, David Accam, and a rampant Fabinho in space.

In the 13th minute, the ascendant Union struck off an egregious error by Montreal center back Tomas Meilleur-Giguere. The defender totally flubbed an easy pass from his goalkeeper. Sapong was there to nab the ball before being promptly hacked down by the centerback. Sapong easily laced the penalty in for the first goal.

The Union continued on the front foot, with Fabinho essentially playing like a fourth attacker along the left wing. This freed up Accam to push inside, work alongside Sapong and create a mismatch in the final third.

Matt Real entered the match for Fabinho in the 35th minute and made an immediate impact. Real hustled past some astoundingly lazy defending by Montreal’s right back and took the ball to the touchline before sending it across the goal for Accam, who buried the ball in the net.

The first half looked set for a sleepy finish before Accam and Impact captain Marco Donadel got into a tussle over a very soft dive by Donadel. Both players received yellow cards, and Donadel was swiftly subbed off.

The second half started much like the first, with a C.J. Sapong goal coming quickly in the 49th minute. Alejandro Bedoya fed a loose ball into Marcus Epps, who deftly back-heeled it to the onrushing Sapong. The striker slid the ball into the corner to make it 3-0.

Just minutes later in the 53rd minute, Jack Elliott recycled a Union corner kick to Accam. The Ghanaian found a wide-open Auston Trusty in the box, and the youngster headed the ball home for an easy 4-0 lead.

Despite Montreal stars Ignacio Piatti and Matteo Mancosu entering the game, the Impact attack remained benign until the 63rd minute when Union goalkeeper John McCarthy made a stretch save on a Ken Krolicki shot.

Trusty nearly got himself a brace in the 71st off another poorly cleared corner kick.

Bedoya nearly got on the scoresheet minutes later after a pretty ball from Derrick Jones put the captain in on goal. The angle was tight, though, and the keeper stuffed the Union skipper.

Jay Simpson finished the blowout when he latched onto a ball in the box after Fabian Herbers set up a pretty run by Marcus Epps past three Montreal defenders. Epps terrorized the Montreal back line for much of the second half with some silky touches and speed.

Philadelphia Union next play Saturday, February 24 versus Tampa Bay Rowdies in the final game of the Suncoast Invitational.

Three points:
  • Front line chemistry and pressure. With another game under their belts, the Union front line looked far more comfortable with each other. Much of the offense, though, was generated by midfield pressure causing reckless turnovers.
  • Trusty looks the part. Granted, the Impact hardly feigned interest in scoring, but Auston Trusty continued to stake his claim for an opening day start. Trusty was extremely steady on the back line and incredibly comfortable on the ball. His goal, too, was well-taken.
  • Floating triangle. Whether rumored Czech midfielder Borek Dockal is joining the team or not, the Union’s central midfield will be under scrutiny in 2018. Anthony Fontana was solid on the night but was too often content to keep his back to goal in the middle of the pitch. This pushed Alejandro Bedoya higher upfield and left too much space in front of the back line.

Philadelphia Union

John McCarthy; Keegan Rosenberry (Ray Gaddis), Jack Elliott (Marck McKenzie), Auston Trusty, Fabinho (Matt Real ’35); Haris Medunjanin (Derrick Jones 61′), Alejandro Bedoya, Anthony Fontana (Warren Creavalle 75′); Fafa Picault (Marcus Epps 46′), C.J. Sapong (Jay Simpson 75′), David Accam (Fabian Herbers 75′).

Montreal Impact

James Pantemis (Clement Diop 46’); Chris Duvall, Thomas Meilleur-Giguere (Victor Cabrera 58’), Daniel Lovitz, Jukka Raitala; Daniel Choiniere (Samuel Piette 58’), Ken Krolicki (Mathieu Choiniere 71’), Marco Donadel (Shamit Shome 45’), Michael Salazar (Ignacio Piatti 58’); Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Matteo Mancosu 52’), Clement Bahiya (Raheem Edwards 58’)

Scoring Summary

PHI: Sapong – 13′ (PK)

PHI: Accam – 41′ (Real)

PHI: Sapong – 49′ (Epps)

PHI: Trusty – 53′ (Accam)

PHI: Simpson – 77′ (Epps)


  1. I may have missed a few things, but where’s Najem? Did he get hurt? I thought he had the inside track over Fontana for the 10.

    • Odds are Dockal is with the team in Fl, if true should play last preseason game, as well as wear the 10

      • Need to get the contract signed and get the green card taken care of. Hard to get that done in short order.

      • Think it’s more about the work visa. I’m guessing he’d need a P1, which means the U have to file the petition first. Not sure he can “work” until it’s approved. Not sure if that means training or a game, but doubtful he plays in a preseason match.

      • I should have cavern clearer – before news broke, or as his backup, I thought Najem had the edge.

    • They have multiple games this week. Maybe wanted to give a longer stretch of minutes to each. Maybe we’ll see Najem go 70+ minutes in the next match.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      We all are guessing of course, but I would have said after 2 straight starts that Curtin were behaving as though Fontana had had the edge.
      If the Czech does not bounce we will never know because My bet its Fontana plays for the Steel if he is not the Union starter. He missed serious time twice last year, and above all Earnie believes in game minutes, it seems.
      Of course I have no evidence.

  2. Is there anyway to still watch the stream or is it only live?

  3. Has Blake been playing? I feel like I haven’t seen his name.

  4. In the last 8 Minutes, four academy boys were all on the field together last night.
    Trusty, Real, Jones at DCM in front of them, and then McKenzie at rob for Elliott.
    To my eyes, when Jones came on for Medunjanin he played further back as a DCM and Creavalle played like a CM in front of him. Way too soon to draw conclusions, especially at the back end of a blow out.

  5. Unless Fabinho’s exit was purely precautionary, the organization has 3 healthy left backs only at the moment, Real, Chiluya on the Steel, and a Steel trialist named Mickey George.

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