Union match reports

Match report: Montreal Impact 0-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

For the first time in 364 days, Philadelphia Union won a road game.

Cory Burke and Haris Medunjanin scored the goals in a 2-0 victory over Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The match finished 10 v. 10, as Burke and Daniel Lovitz were both sent off within nine minutes of each other early in the second half.

After two poor performances to start the week-long road trip, Jim Curtin made a rare five changes to his starting XI. Knocks to C.J. Sapong and Fabinho saw them replaced by Cory Burke and Ray Gaddis. Jack Elliott, David Accam, and Ilsinho were left out due to poor form, with Mark McKenzie, Fafa Picault, and Marcus Epps stepping into the lineup in their stead.

It took most of the first half to do it, but the Union made the breakthrough in the 43rd minute. Probing the Impact defense, Borek Dockal found Ray Gaddis near the end line, and the left back pinged a sharp cross towards goal. Burke, making the most of his first MLS start, attacked the ball and fired a powerful header past a helpless Evan Bush. The goal was Burke’s first in MLS.

Burke added to his collection of firsts in the second half with a more ignominious play. Going in for a tackle, Burke cleaned out the Impact’s Samuel Piette with a violent, lunging challenge. The referee wasted no time in ejecting the Jamaican striker in the 58th minute.

Just nine minutes later, though, the hapless Impact evened the playing field with a red card of their own. Andre Blake looked to spring Fafa Picault with a booming punt off an Impact clearance, and the winger was hauled down by Daniel Lovitz with only the keeper to beat. Though the referee initially only showed a yellow to Lovitz, a video review changed the referee’s mind and led to Lovitz receiving a red.

The Union struck the final blow in the 87th minute, thanks once again to some sad play from the Impact. Montreal turned the ball over in their own box, and substitute David Accam squeezed the ball to Haris Medunjanin near the penalty spot. The Bosnian hit one low and hard across goal for his first tally of the 2018 campaign.

Seeking to put together a run of form, the Union will be back in action next Saturday hosting Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Talen Energy Stadium.

Three points
  • Road warriors. One full year without a road win would’ve been an awful look. It wasn’t pretty, but credit the Union for getting a result when they desperately needed one.
  • Squad rotation. It took long enough, but Curtin made five changes to an anemic starting lineup — and they paid off. Burke scored a goal, Picault drew a red card, and McKenzie and Gaddis anchored a clean sheet. Also, Marcus Epps played.
  • Degree of difficulty. Though winning on the road is certainly a step forward, the Union weren’t facing the toughest possible challenge with a Montreal Impact side that has accumulated eight defeats in 11 matches. Burke’s red card was foolish, and the Union were fortunate that the Impact didn’t use their brief man advantage.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Ray Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Marcus Epps (David Accam 75′), Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle 63′), Fafa Picault (Fabinho 90+6′); Cory Burke
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Jack Elliott, Ilsinho, Anthony Fontana

Montreal Impact

Evan Bush, Michael Petrasso (Dominic Oduro 83′), Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Danil Lovitz, Alejandro Silva, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider, Raheem Edwards (Matteo Mancosu 81′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Ignacio Piatti
Unused Subs: Clement Diop, Chris Duvall, Loius Beland-Goyette, Shamit Shome, Ken Krolicki

Scoring summary

PHI: Cory Burke (Ray Gaddis, Borek Dockal) — 43′
PHI: Haris Medunjanin — 88′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Cory Burke — 58′ (serious foul) (red)
MTL: Alejandro Silva — 65′ (unsporting behavior)
MTL: Daniel Lovitz — 67′ (DOGSO) (red)
PHI: Mark McKenzie – 71′ (unsporting behavior)
MTL: Samuel Piette – 77′ (unsporting behavior)


  1. Snipe all you want, but a road win is a road win.

    The thing I can’t believe is… where the $%#& has this Haris Medunjanin been all season?! He’s 33, he’s been just awful all season, he’s playing his 3rd game on the road in 9 days… and he picks this match to find his form and look like a spring chicken?? If he (and Dockal) played like this most of the time, the Union would have a lot more points.

    Also, watch Sapong light it up soon. The guy responds to competition.

    • I actually think Haris looked pretty poor in this game too. Too many give aways in the middle of the field for a player that is supposed to dictate things.

      • I think Haris started looking better when Creavalle came in. Warren did the work Haris can’t do, and allowed him space with his movement.

      • He did make too many giveaways, but he also made a whole lot of excellent passes like the Haris of last year (some of which the recipients didn’t handle). Plus he actually started the play that led to the first goal, and he was in the box to finish off the second. And he played much better defense too.

  2. Great One says:

    Boy it’s amazing what some change can do sometimes. Yeah the Montreal back line is horrible, but who cares. Burke played significantly better than CJ has all year. Yes he has some rough touches, but he actually, like you know, runs sometimes without the ball. He’s also a step faster and doesn’t always play for contact and then get fouled down.
    A number of good games here, but I just wanted to highlight the back line, who really all showed pretty well. Piatti is amazing, and The right side held him down all day for the most part. Nice to see a win finally.

    • Montréal is a very poor defensive team, it’s great we can up our games against bottom dwellers. We play with this type of intensity against mid table teams, if we want any chance of the playoffs.
      I thinks the squad rotation was a joke, two or three were due to injuries ( CJ, Fabino & Jack), the others were wingers that would have otherwise entered the game later on. Would love to see more young kids get time, this team is long in the tooth, especially the midfield. I know DJ was not with the team, but if he’s the future 6, play him in one of the three games! Same with Fontana! They love to talk about their youth being ready, needing only to play, play them! Give them MLS minutes. If the Academy is going to work, you have to show the kids coming up that they will play, or they will find the next best option.
      Last thing that struck me odd was when the team lost the last two games, Jim blamed ALL players, 30-1, all coaches. After last nights win he stated all the players on the field should get credit for the win…. not sure why that bothered me so much! Idiot!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think the plan was to play Fontana but when the red card came, it made sense to bring on a defensive sub.

  3. Kip Leitner says:

    Just finished watching a few of the other Saturday Games. Due to the injection of $$$ and new talent, the league is getting better, but play is uneven — some stuff at very high level, other at very low level. Union overall is playing at very low level. They still have to speed things up or will not score goals.

    Burke goal shows how you score — move into scoring position and assume the ball will arrive there when you do. Picalt looked great.

    But hey — road win is cool.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Now what?

  5. So, THAT is what the offense is supposed to look like! Those changes in the lineup brought a nose for the attack that has been missing. So, of course, the player changes brought Accam and Ilsinho back onto the field immediately. But, baby steps, I guess. I would prefer that Curtin had tried some more new blood, but we’ll take fresh lineups to start. Thanks for showing me that I shouldn’t quit on this team yet.

    • scottymac says:

      Ilsinho didn’t play

    • I’m totally fine with Accam. He’s a proven MLS scorer, and Jim has to find a way, any way, to get Accam going. Dude has obviously been in his own head, trying to do too much and honestly not getting much help from his teammates or coach. Hopefully his assist will help a bit.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think Accam and Picault should be competing for a starting spot. In addition to the fact that both play on the left, if they are both starting, you don’t have a speedster coming of the bench when the other team has tired legs. Right now Fafa is playing better, and it’s telling that Accam just had his best performance coming off the bench.

      • Well I meant his coming off the bench in this match. Also ok with having Fafa start and Accam off the bench till hopefully Accam gets hot.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The new blood was playing its own game down in Charleston, SC that night.

  6. I’ve been clamoring for Burke all season and this was why. He makes the runs C.J. doesn’t. His touch is just that much better. Not great, but enough to make moves to get around defenders. He’s more of a “true” striker. I hope Jim keeps giving him chances.
    They won. I’m content for a week.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      We know he’s not going to get the chance next week. Obviously needs to think about what tackles to try in the offensive half of the field with the lead.

      • Burke definitely plays on the edge. He’s come close to being red carded before, and someone needs to speak to him. I just think he needs to play more of a role on this team. Hopefully by staying on the field.

    • UnionGoal says:

      Why the Dis of Sapong? I like Burke and I like Sapong. We need two strikers on the field at times.
      Sapong,like Blake, is run into the ground.
      Curtin needs to rotate/rest players and adjust formations in game.
      And now that team won a road game he’s safe again so let’s see what he does now.

      • I’ve defended C.J. plenty in the past. He brings a lot that other forwards don’t. But the Union are trying to play a more offensive possession game, and C.J.’s touch does not lend itself to that. Nor does his ability to take on players, get a decent shot off, and passing. Honestly the only thing I think he has over Burke is strength in the air and defensive hustle. And that’s not by much. C.J. is what he is. The team and players deserve more. Burke offers more. Simple.

    • I have to agree with this. Burke has been a beast in the few minutes he’s received.
      His quality on the ball is much higher than CJ’s, especially in traffic.
      I’d like to see Corey get a shot for a little while, but that red card is gonna screw that shot up now. Timing is everything.

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    Nice to see Accam show some hustle at the end. Not sure why he didn’t get an assist.
    Biggest negative with the red card was that it mean Creavalle came in for Dockal rather than Fontana.
    While it was nice to finally score a couple on the road, what was even better was that they had a larger number of shots on goal than we’ve seen in the past, including forcing Bush to make some tough saves.
    Clean sheet on the road was nice.
    To me, the red card on Lovitz was close since I’m not sure that Picault had any real chance at getting to the ball before it got to Bush.

    • Agree, particularly on the last point. That was the perfect example of why VAR is bad. It was a textbook yellow until the ref got the chance to overthink it.

    • UnionGoal says:

      MyGood points. I want to see more Fontana and Burke, Simpson and Sapong.
      Also Elliott.
      McKenzie? Dont know yet. Maybe more games with Steel would help…Tim Jones…how does McKenzie compare in steel minutes/ hours with Burke Fontana and trusty?

    • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

      I’m with you on the assist. The shot for goal was a one time strike, how can he not receive the assist as he created the chance?

    • not sure that Bush’s position on the field is meaningful. If the defender pulled him down to stop a breakaway, it is a straight red, regardless of whether the breakaway would be successful. The defender made a judgement call that it would be successful, otherwise the foul would not be made.

  8. The Chopper says:

    Some variation of this lineup should have started in Toronto. You are not expecting a point there. Then you have fresher legs in Columbus to try and secure at least a point (instead of tired legs that just got schooled north of the border) and then you go play a bad Montreal team with some variation. Simple player mamangement.

    What yesterday shows is that when you have a bad team performing poorly, the difference between who is showing well in practice is almost meaningless. Opportunities in game situations can be taken advantage of,by players down the depth chart through desire, determination to prove something and fresher legs.

  9. Gaddis!? Who was that out there? Attacking runs, a shot on goal and an assist?

    • Was going to comment the same thing. He is given a lot of grief about lacking offense to his game but damn he was good going forward in this game. And on his weaker foot.
      *hat tip*

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      When he made that 50+ yard run, dribbled to the corner of the box, pulled it back, set it up, and took that shot that almost found the corner… I literally called my dad and lost it. I knew up was down and left was right. Hilarious. I mean… a great play and all I just couldn’t believe what I had just seen

  10. Loved what Ray did, what Fafa did, what Burke did (minus the red, of course, which was eerily reminiscent of Jones’s red last season, after which he basically never saw the field…), and what Haris did.

    Think Dockal did enough defensively, including double-teaming Piatti a number of times, to offset another lukewarm offensive performance.

    Nothing great from the back four, but a sufficient performance on the road to get the win.

  11. Nice Win ! Finally got an away win…. 18 shots 7 on target……………………… Keep this current line up til it does not work. Too bad we cant play all our games 10 v 10. It was fun too watch movement and runs with all that space. . A much more enjoyable way too watch soccer. With just a little more luck they would have scored 2 more goals

    Burke actually has some moves. Keep him in the line up.
    Creavalle can play defense. Find a place for him in the line up.

  12. Great One says:

    Anyone think Burke will get another start anytime soon?

    • If Curtin had lost this match I believe he would have been fired. Unless C.J. comes back to light the world on fire, Curtin has to start Burke after his suspension. He’d be crazy not too. One win isn’t going to save him at this point. If they go on another losing streak after this win, say 2-3 games, I believe he’s done. What makes me believe Stewart will fire him? I’m not sure, but I think Stewart sees the potential in this lineup and knows Curtin isn’t getting the best out of it. The time for building is nearly done and excuse/leeway time is over. By building being done, I mean having a team that can be competitive relative to their ability to spend. I think Stewart was content to wait while the system was being built. Now, maybe not so much.

  13. due to 3 games in eight days, the team did not have ‘the same eleven’ out there… RESULT? A WIN!!! Hey Jim Curtin did any of this sink in??? If you go back to the same losing eleven you started prior to this win you will have proven to the entire fan base you need to be fired…

    • He may have felt it was a calculated risk not to trot out his “best” eleven for the third time in 8 days because Montreal is so bad, and his only take away from it will be, “Phew…lucky I got away with that! Hopefully I won’t have to do that again any time soon!”

  14. The Truth says:

    Still want Curtin fired.

  15. HappyBob says:

    Can’t believe that footie-ball nonsense is still going on in Chester.

    • UnionGoal says:

      Where’s Chester?
      Ain’t they called Philadelphia? Like NY red bulls and NY giants?

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

        Isn’t that happy Bob from the Inquirer who always has that stupid comment in every comment section on soccer?

      • I don’t know and don’t care. Had I, it would mean I’m showing him the attention mommy and daddy didn’t give him. I’m not paid for that.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Cyber Bob.
      soccer just BLOWS.

    • A self-loathing non footy fan. Can’t help but read every story, then, in an act of disgust lashes out at the publication with the “soccer Blows” comment. It’s OK Bob. We won’t judge you. Come on home; there’s no place for hate here.

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