Match previews / Union

Match preview: Montréal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Montréal Impact (6th place, 30 points, 9-11-3) vs. Philadelphia Union (1st place, 39 points, 11-6-6)
What: 2019 regular season game
Where: Stade Saputo, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
When: Saturday, July 27th, 8:000 p.m.
Watch: PHL17, ESPN+
Whistle: Referee: Jair Marrufo, Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Cory Richardson, 4th Official: Luis Guardia, VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero

The MLS Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union return to action on Saturday night with a road fixture against a Montréal team that they defeated in convincing fashion in late April.

The match follows an equally impressive 2-0 victory over the lowly Chicago Fire, who have not yet recorded a road victory in 2019 — and, maybe more importantly, the return to form and fitness for the team’s one true superstar, Marco Fabian.

Scouting report: Montréal Impact

Montréal’s form in the league has been on the decline as of late, having dropped all four of their previous matches and falling to sixth place in the conference. If their league play has been unconvincing in the month of July, their cup results are not much better. It took a goal deep into stoppage time to salvage a draw over the Canadian Premier League side York 9 in the away leg in of the Canadian Championship clash, followed by a lone penalty kick goal in a 1-0 result in the return fixture to see them through to the next round.

If there is any shining light at the end of this tunnel for Montréal, it is the fact that Ignacio Piatti is returning to match fitness and has already found himself back on the scoresheet. Piatti is the Impact’s leading goal scorer in three consecutive seasons and his return to the team from injury could not be coming at a better time. As a scorer of 16 or more goals in each of the last three seasons, Piatti has earned the respect of defenders from across the league and has proven himself as one of the most lethal finishers in MLS with the ability to score from anywhere on the pitch. If the Argentine starts, he’ll be the reason Montréal is in the match.

The Impact acquired Finnish winger Lassi Lappalainen on a six-month loan deal from Bologna on Thursday in a effort to further bolster their lackluster attack. Given his recent joining of the team and the fact that he’ll be joining in the middle of Europe’s pre-season, it’s unlikely that he starts, but he could be an electric option off of the bench if manager Rémi Garde decides to call his name. The twenty-year-old already has plenty of experience; assisting two in five matches for Finland and scoring two goals in UEFA Champions League Qualifying. He’s definitely one to watch in this match if he plays and even more so in the future.

Injury report:

OUT: 

M – Samuel Piette (intercostal injury) 

D – Daniel Kinumbe (knee injury)

DOUBTFUL: None

QUESTIONABLE: None

Suspension report: 

Bacary Sagna

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

It was a fairly comfortable win in a game that a first-place team should win last time out. Philadelphia took care of business at home against Chicago Fire and made it look easy as they managed to stay at the top of the table for yet another week.

Perhaps even more important than the three points was the return of Marco Fabian. His stunning goal to open the scoring last week was exactly what he, the team, and the fans needed. Goals like that fuel confidence and for a player that has struggled to find his footing in a new league, that’s exactly what he needs.

The way he connects with Aaronson, Fontana, and Bedoya will be important again because Montréal deploys a similar formation towhat Chicago played last week. He will be instrumental in the way the Union dominate the midfield battle against a team that likes to play wider, especially with midfield dynamo Jamiro Monteiro set to miss another match due to an ankle sprain.

Injury report:

OUT: 

D – Olivier Mbaizo (left knee meniscus/LCL sprain)

M – Jamiro Monteiro (left ankle sprain)

GK – Matt Freese (right quad strain) 

F – Sergio Santos (right high ankle sprain)

DOUBTFUL: None

QUESTIONABLE: F – Michee Ngalina (lower body injury)

Key matchup: Philadelphia Union’s Kacper Przybyłko vs. Zakaria Diallo (honorable mention to Evan Bush vs. the traveling supporters)

Ali vs. Frazier. Tyson vs. Douglas. Now Przybyłko vs. Diallo. It’s a classic heavyweight bout between the two biggest guys on the pitch. Kacper is proving he has what it takes to bag the goals but also to play with his back to goal and use his size to hold off defenders. Diallo’s 6’4” frame may have its say as to how well the German performs by the end of this match. Keep an eye on those two.

Player to watch: Anthony Fontana

Fontana has truly impressed manager Jim Curtin in training and his hard work has come to fruition. The young midfielder picked up the second goal last week during an appearance off the bench. Based on news out of training and now end product on the field, I think there is every chance that he starts in this one, giving Aaronson some well deserved and timely rest. If he does not start, expect him as an early substitute for either Fabian, who isn’t fully fit, or the aforementioned Aaronson.

Prediction: Impact 1-2 Union

Montréal’s increase in class going forward will keep this game tight, but ultimately Philadelphia will control the midfield — and therefore control the game. I think Fabian will find the back of the net once more and we’ll see Kacper return to the scoresheet after a two game absence.

Philadelphia has never lost when I’m assigned to the match preview and/or the match report so I am confident in my prediction.

6 Comments

  1. I really wish you hadn’t written that last sentence…(just the superstitious part of me)

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    I think you neglected to mention that Kai Wagner is out with a suspension.

    • Big reason why I’m not thinking this is a win. We may get a tie. Backline without Wagner is questionable

  3. Don’t sleep on Real

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: