Union match reports

Match report: Montreal Impact 4-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia’s trip north of the border proved calamitous as the Union fell 4-0 against Montreal Impact Saturday night at the Stade Saputo.

Newly-signed Finnish winger Lassi Lappalainen scored early in each half of his debut, and Orji Okwonkwo tallied a brace of his own to fuel the Montreal blowout. It was the Impact’s first MLS win since June 26, having lost four consecutive matches.

The result marked a reversal of the two teams’ earlier matchup this season, where the Union produced a 3-0 home win over the Canadian club.

Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin made one change to a side that secured a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire last weekend. With left back Kai Wagner serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation, 20-year-old Matt Real earned his first MLS start since April 13, 2018.

Montreal had to cover for a suspended fullback of their own after Bacary Sagna picked up a red card in the Impact’s 2-1 defeat to Columbus Crew last Saturday. Despite missing the French international, the home crowd was ecstatic to see someone old and someone new don the Blue and Black at Stade Saputo.

The Impact’s captain and talisman, Ignacio Piatti, returned from injury and played his first MLS game since May 24th. Additionally, the 20-year-old Lappalainen made his first MLS start after being signed on loan two days prior from Serie A side Bologna.

It took less than four minutes for Lappalainen to make an impact for the Impact.

Zachary Brault-Guillard, starting in place of Sagna, drove toward the Union’s box unencumbered by passive central defending. The right back slid a slick ball through the Union back defense using the outside of his right foot. Philadelphia’s own right back, Ray Gaddis, was caught pinching in and failed to mark the newly-acquired winger’s run. Lappalainen’s first MLS touch rounded goalkeeper Andre Blake, and his second gave Montreal the early lead.

The Union grew into the game after the early shock.

In the 34th minute, Philadelphia captain Alejandro Bedoya found space at the near post on a corner kick. While able to put a header on frame at close range, veteran goalkeeper Evan Bush — who surpassed 15,000 MLS minutes played during the match — stood firm.

Twice forward Kacper Przybylko looked likely to score,  but was denied first by Bush and then the post.

Despite the pressure, it was the Impact who produced the game’s second goal. Montreal launched a lethal counter in the 36th minute. While Gaddis did well to step in as the attack approached the final third, the ball fell to the feet of Piatti after the defender’s challenge. The Argentine laid a ball to his right which found winger Okwonkwo. The Nigerian let loose an absolute rocket, which deflected off Real and past Blake.

Proving possession isn’t always all it seems, the Union trailed 2-0 at halftime despite enjoying over a 65% share of the ball.

If Philadelphia were hoping to mount a comeback in the final 45 minutes, that hope was quickly extinguished. Somehow, it took less time for Lappalainen to score in the second half than it did in the first.

Philadelphia turned the ball over immediately after play resumed. The ball pinged into the path of the Finn, who drove forty or so yards into the box without even a hint of defensive resistance. Just 14 seconds after play resumed, Lappalainen had his second goal of the game.

Not to be outdone, Okwonkwo secured his own brace in the 66th minute.

Montreal launched another counter after a failed Union set piece. The 21-year-old, also on loan from Bologna, found himself with only green grass between him and Blake. Okwonkwo beat Blake at the far post for the cherry on top of Montreal’s sunday.

For the Union, things won’t get any easier in their next game. They’ll travel to the nation’s capital to face D.C. United next Sunday at Audi Field. If the Union want to extend their stay atop the Eastern Conference, they’ll need to right the ship against one of the clubs nipping at their heels.

Three points
  • First place feeling? It’s either the best time or worst time to mention this, but the Union’s hold of first place will reach two months, dating back to the June 2nd win over Minnesota United.
  • Embarrassing defending.  Things looked good after the Union picked up their first clean sheet in ten tries last week. Not so fast. Philly have now allowed four goals in three of their last four road games.
  • Piatti, please. He’s a Union killer with four goals and seven assists in nine games against the Union, but the league is better when this superstar is healthy.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake; Matt Real (Andrew Wooten 56′), Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Brenden Aaronson (Ilsinho 49′), Alejandro Bedoya, Marco Fabian; Fafa Picault (Anthony Fontana 74′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused Subs: Joe Bendik, RJ Allen, Aurelien Collin, Warren Creavalle

Montreal Impact
Evan Bush; Zachary Brault-Guillard, Zakaria Diallo, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; Orji Okwonkwo (Clément Bayiha 69′), Shamit Shome, Saphir Taïder, Lassi Lappalainen (Mathieu Choinière 82′); Maximiliano Urruti, Ignacio Piatti (Rudy Camacho 62′)
Unused Subs: Clément Diop, Michael Azira, Ken Krolicki, Anthony Jackson-Hamel

Scoring Summary
MTL: Lassi Lappalainen — 4′ (Zachary Brault-Guillard)
MTL: Orji Okwonkwo — 36′ (Ignacio Piatti)
MTL: Lassi Lappalainen — 46′
MTL: Orji Okwonkwo — 66′ (Maximiliano Urruti)

Disciplinary Summary
MTL: Zakaria Diallo — 9′ (unsporting behavior)
MTL: Maximiliano Urruti — 42′ (unsporting behavior)
MTL: Rudy Camacho — 76′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Marco Fabián — 82′ (unsporting behavior)


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    My thoughts:
    Defense is bad lately. Giving up a lot of space. Slow to react. Blake can’t stop a beach ball. We are used to getting saves from him and it’s just not happening lately. Monteiro controls the midfield and his absence is showing. I think someone said this on this site recently and I agree – Fabian reminds me of Alberg. He’s skilled but doesn’t do much and is not the #10 this team needs. Gaddis is becoming, if not is, a defensive liability lately and he’s usually just bad going forward. Missed Wagner tonight too.
    The sky isn’t falling for me yet. They are getting some luck too, with Atlanta and NYRB losing and DC drawing Chicago. But this is the rough patch that we usually experience in March and April.
    Must show up on national TV (ESPN) at DC next Sunday. Need points. The league is waiting for us to choke. Get it together.

  2. My first away game, took a day off, drove up, etc, etc… Didn’t care if they won, just wanted to see a good game.. nothing to cheer for for 90 minutes… I am worried..

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I’ll be about an 8.5 on a 10 scale of OH SHIT!!… next week, if the don’t get points at DC. Maybe I’m too much of a homer… maybe I don’t want to believe it… I don’t know. But I’m willing to let it roll for one more game. August will make or break this team BIG TIME

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Team is FINO (First in Name Only). NYCFC is 4 points behind with 4 games in hand.
    Looking around the league, I have to say that it sucked to see Kljestan getting to play while the guy he injured, Monteiro, remains injured. The Union are now 1-2-1 without him.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      To me they were never finishing first. I was completely happy with hosting a playoff game. Which to me is a win for this club and something that is absolutely a must after you will have lead the East for most of the year. They need an August to hang in there and a September to get rolling again

    • Reiterating my “half empty” — the concerns of the back line and Fabián. We’ve no midfield engine without Monteiro and I don’t even know if Wagner could’ve patched that back line.
      We’ll slip to 4th by end of Aug.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Careful – you’re gonna start getting skewered again. That was complete shit tonight.

    • HopkinsMD says:

      I appreciate this response because it speaks to both the team and the individual… because it’s a both/and situation.

  5. OK, let’s take a look at this in an even-handed fashion…

    Since the Gold Cup break, the Union are have 2 wins, 2 draws & 3 losses. That’s… really not great.

    However, there are a bunch of mitigating factors there, including:

    1. Five of those 7 matches were on the road.
    2. We were missing our best player for much of that time, and another very key player for some of those matches.
    3. The Union were probably playing slightly above their level in the first half of the season, and a little regression to the mean is probably to be expected.

    I think the real question is whether the MARGIN of these losses is extra-concerning. I mean, you get zero points whether you lose 2-0 or 4-0. Are the extra 2 goals just from losing concentration? Getting frustrated? Getting aggressive and knowing you are risking a counter?

    It’s kinda hard to answer this right now, I think. What we CAN say is:

    1. Monteiro is the absolute linchpin for this team, which our eyeballs already told us, but we now have the proof.
    2. Unfortunately, we really need an upgrade at right back. But that’s not happening this season. I’m not sure what Jim can do to compensate for this in the meantime.

  6. I looked at the matchups earlier today and saw how close the Galaxy record and ours and thought “wow. We get no respect.”
    We get blown out 4-0 by MTL and and they get blown out 4-0 (as of this writing) by PDX.

    • Yeah and they just beat LAFC last week, so just like the NFL, it’s a “week to week” league. Anybody can get routed on the road in this league. 1st thru 8th place in East is 7 point difference haha. It just screams parity. But it will make for a fascinating last 2.5 months.

  7. Going Backwards with Little Marco…………..

    Marco Fabian is a disaster. Refuses to go forward with the ball in the final third. He is no Barnetta, no Doackal not even a Roger Torres. He is slow, unwilling to attack one one , does not find or make open space without the ball, has no creativity and no vision. To be fair he is very good at passing the ball backwards to an unmarked player This is possibly the worst signing the Union has made of big name” player. Tanner must not resign him. I amsure he is well liked in the locker room. but he refuses to lead and show any grit or emotion on the field. I’ve got to think Bedoya is boiling over inside. Monteiro must return healthy and be able to play 60 to 90 in the next 2 weeks or the Union slip below the red line.

    At this point without Monteiro I don’t care if Marco starts another game. In fact he should not. Id much rather see Aaronson Fontana, Ilsinio and Bedoya out there to start, The forwards get vitually no servicein in any games where little Marco has played as a starter or sub.

    And please Jim how can you play with 3 fullback and push them all up front against Montreal. They do this to us every year.

    Praying that Monteiro gets healthy real soon.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The pace of play in the league is always accelerating, from February through to November.
      The two constants in the Union’s midfield universe, Bedoya and Medunjanin, both are in top shape, work incredibly hard, have good quickness, but are only adequate for pace. Experience and intelligence compensate to some degree but not fully.
      Aaronson and Monteiro are both high volume coverage players. When they play alongside Medunjanin and Bedoya, usually the combination has managed to control the midfield.
      Fabián has not been a high volume coverage player yet. We do not know whether he will become one, he has not played consistent minutes for over two years and counting. Fontana is a high volume coverage player, but is not 90 minutes match fit at the MLS level yet.
      What has consistently tabled the Union is season has been runs f of the midfield, especially,when delayed and deep. [i Just described all four Montreal,goals.]
      Pace combined with intensity cause problems for them. And the back line has been taught to sell-out stepping forwards to defend since January.
      Both RSL and Montreal played through gifted playmakers on the counterattack.
      The Union face real challenges until,Monteiro is fully 90 minutes fit again.

  8. Great One says:

    Gotta be a lot less people saying not to worry this 4-0 loss. Get Gaddis and Medunjanin some rest. Sure up the defense before anything else.

  9. This is about the third time I started to comment, so i hope I actually finish this time…
    Last night was terrible. We all saw that. The defense fell apart, offensive movement was bad, and players for some reason looked tired or just not mentally there. Trusty and Gaddis need to sit. Fabian, as I sort of agree with Joe B., was and has not been making players better, also has had zero movement from his front players. The front is too static. Everyone is planted and just waiting for something to happen. So truthfully it isn’t all on him. Aaronson seemed more involved and seems to me improving on how he receives the ball in order to not just get run over. Though he really didn’t make an impact either. So partly the idea of blowing things up and making 5-6 changes next match intrigues me. Is it really a good idea though?
    Montiero covered those cracks earlier. They were still there and only really exploited by the better MLS teams, but they are still there now too. Is now the time for Jim to look for more defensive stability and sure things up by making major changes? I think it is. I think he has to in order to make a long playoff run possible. Be brave Jim, the team will be better for it even if it struggles a bit in the beginning.

    • The Chopper says:

      So many things you can say to compliment Monteiro, but perhaps the best is to recognize how good he is at covering up the deficiencies of others.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Agreed on Montiero. His play really helped everyone else look good.

  10. Zizouisgod says:

    I don’t comment here much any more, but had a few observations:

    1)It’s amazing how many people give Elliott a pass on his run of poor play, but then call for Trusty and Gaddis to sit. All three of them have had a huge part in the road losses at NYC, RSL and MTL. They’ve each made mistakes that have lead to decisive goals. It should be a good thing when you have a consistent back four, but they have looked totally uncoordinated in their defending.

    2) Curtin has stressed in the past that our team don’t take enough fouls when they need to. It was even more glaring last night when the back four + Medunjanin (our #6) committed one measly foul. When you have the bulk of the possession and are getting hit on counters, that’s when you need to be savvy and take a smart foul. Go back and watch that first goal last night really slowly by pausing it. Take note of where all of the Union players are The Union had a ton of players near the ball and no one thought to grab a shirt, body block a player, etc while MTL was transitioning forward.

    3) Go to Who Scored and look at the heat maps for Gaddis and Bedoya. It’s like they were in the same area most of the night. High up on the pitch hugging the sideline. If you’re gonna play a #6 who is immobile as Medunjanin is, you can’t have that.

    4) Loved having Janusz Michallik doing color instead of Tommy Smith. Union – please make this move permanent.

    • Elliott bailed out Trusty and Gaddis so. Many. Times last night. He is playing far, far better than they are. If you don’t see that, I’m not sure what to say, other than to have Dan Walsh show up here and metaphorically whop you on the head. Yeah, the guy has made mistakes, but nowhere near as many as his neighbors.

      Now I will agree with you in spades on the color commentator. That guy was SO MUCH BETTER than Tommy that, honestly, Mr. Onion Bag should be fired immediately. This dude did more analysis in any given 10 minutes than Tommy does in a whole match.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Elliott’s line
        2/2 on successful clearances
        1 interception
        Lost his only attempted tackle
        1 block
        Lost his only aerial duel
        Completed 84% of his passes
        Had four unsuccessful passes in his own half

        Trusty’s line
        4/4 on successful clearances
        3 interceptions
        Won all four of his tackles
        One block
        Had no aerial duels
        Completed 90% of his passes
        Had one successful pass in his own half

        All stats from the Stats Zone app.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        To clarify, Trusty had one unsuccessful pass in his own half.

    • I don’t think Elliot has been immune to making mistakes. Though he is not the biggest offender nor is anyone in the back four immune. I also agree that a consistent back would be a good thing, but obviously that has not been working. So in order to find some consistency I believe it would behoove the team to switch 2 of the four and not all. The two being Trusty and Gaddis. The two that have been more frequently prone to make mistakes. To me this is logical and not ignoring Elliot mistakes.
      All for taking more fouls.
      Absolutely give us Janusz. Should have had the job over Tommy in the first place.

  11. Yeah tiring of Tommy as well and would probably prefer Janusz. But more glaring and what needs to be addressed…learn how to get the replay in before action resumes. So annoying.

  12. So Fabian should be a sub or try to trade him. I say try Aaronson as the 10, Fontana or Creavalle Aside Harris and of course Bedoya. Give me Collin for Trusty. Trusty is a liability as well. Positioning is horrid every Game , his heading ability is trash , as we’ve seen again in this match. He gets caught out of position , can’t control the backline. Collin should start. I’m not sure why he hasn’t started more games. So frustrating. I don’t think they are much different in speed. Collin has been putting himself on good positioning to not get beat anyway. Plus, Trusty is very weak physically one on one. Gaddis had a bad game for sure but honestly he has been pretty solid throughout the year. I do agree we need to find a solid right back.

  13. It’s nothing new. Gaddis is still prone to being pulled out of position with his tunnel vision. It is a huge red flag as to how this team can be exploited in the 2nd half and playoffs even with Wagner and Monteriero in the lineup. Their IQ’s, speed and skill mask a lot. Like how excruciatingly slow and nonathletic the midfield is or that this team may still need a lights out dynamic striker rather then scoring by committee. The Union are a very good team. The center backs are young and mistake prone. I still think extending JC was a bit premature. I just think this team needs a next level coach. Jim has done a great job in the first half of the season where teams are still figuring out their rosters. But now the challenge to his coaching ability is on.Time will tell. Jonathan Tannewald gives some solid observations:

  14. Agree with most of the above. The other thing that I noticed was how far back Fabian was coming to receive the ball rally regularly. It seemed to me that he was often in a position where Haris had been earlier in the season.
    I know that part of his job is to move around to create numerical mis-matches, but he is so slow that by the comes back for a pass and delivers one, the play is so far past him that he cant get back into.
    Also think that he is more of a guy who likes to do a couple successive give and goes to cut driectly through the midfield. Seemed like whenever he passed the ball sat night, they kept it swinging away from him and again, he was too slow to catch up with the side of the field the ball was on.

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