Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Montreal Impact

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Playing for the very first time at home in front of fans in 2020, the Philadelphia Union beat the Montreal Impact on a rainy night. Philly struggled to generate opportunities all night, only finding success on counterattacks, and a usually strong back line had some blunders that allowed Montreal opportunities early and a poor goal. Ultimately, the Union found a way to get all three points and stay in contention for the Supporter’s Shield, this time with Union loyalists in attendance.

Starting off the match with a shot from Brenden Aaronson and diving save from Clement Diop, the fans were very vocal in their appreciation for a strong start. Philly controlled possession early, but a dangerous free kick where Andre Blake hit his head on the post making a save in the 11th minute was Montreal’s first real threat of the night. But the Impact would continue to drive for the next few minutes, earning a corner kick after a deflection from Jack Elliott prevented Montreal from going up.

Philly looked to struggle defensively as they hit the 20th minute. Slipping on wet grass, poor passes and marking, and slow runs made it all too easy for Montreal to get some shots off. Luckily the only negative Blake has is putting the ball back into play, as he easily made the saves on Montreal’s climbing number of shots.

The Union would right themselves as the midfield got got more involved. Ilsinho generated several opportunities counterattacking, as did Kai Wagner and Aaronson on the left side. Nothing proved serious enough as the first half was full of back and forth between the two teams. But Philly would get something out of a simple switch and passes up the field in the 39th. Olivier Mbaizo would receive the ball from a switch across the pitch, pass it off to Ilsinho, who would make a fantastic leading pass into the box for Jamiro Monteiro to hit. Diop got a hand to Monteiro’s shot, but the strike was too powerful and was still redirected to the back of the net. Fans of course went wild, hearing “Maria” played live in Subaru Park. It was exactly the ending the Union needed after a rather uninspiring first half where they recorded only two shots.

Montreal came out desperate for a tying goal, ripping a shot that forced Blake to make a leaping save, getting a hand on the ball to push it over the bar. Right on that counter, Aaronson would pass the ball off to Ilsinho, who’d make another fantastic leading pass into the box that halftime sub Sergio Santos would slide home for Philly’s second of the night.

With a two goal deficit, Montreal started getting chippy. Following the second goal, several cards were brandished in a five minute period. So in typical Union fashion, a poor goal was allowed in against a desperate team. In the 65th minute, Montreal was able to move the ball up the middle as Aamr Sedjic was able to chest a pass down, break past his mark on a long run and bend a ball behind a diving Blake. Philly’s lead was cut in half as the score was now 2-1.

The match would be full of back and forth following Ilsinho’s leave in the 72nd. Montreal was pressing and Philly was countering like a game of pong. The Impact would get dangerously close to tying the match in the 86th, Romell Quioto got behind Wagner enough to chip Blake, but hit the ball just wide of the very open net. Wagner would redeem himself a minute later, stripping Quioto of the ball in the box and getting a nice pass off to waste some time. The final minutes of the match would fade away as Philly hit some long balls and earn a few corners to drain the clock. It was a 2-1 victory for the Union at home in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

You can catch the next match on Wednesday, October 14th at 8:00pm against DC United at Audi Field. The Union will return home on Saturday, October 24th against Toronto FC.

Three points
  • Unbeaten streak continues. While the loss to Toronto snapped their undefeated streak, the home streak still lives! Philly is now 6-0 at Subaru Park for the regular season, the only way you can welcome your fans home after 357 days.
  • Counterattacks win matches. A true staple in the Union’s offense, the counterattack. It was especially useful tonight as both goals and virtually every shot Philly recorded was generated by a counterattack.
  • The 4-2-3-1. A standard formation with Jose Martinez in Venezuela now, but what’s more notable is some of these starters in the formation. Jack Elliott made his comeback start, the 85th of his career and first since September 2nd at Columbus. Another notable starter was Ilsinho, it was his 56th career start and only second of this season, with the last in the MLS is Back Tournament on July 9th against NYCFC.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott, Olivier Mbaizo (Matt Real, 61′); Warren Creavalle (Sergio Santos, HT), Alejandro Bedoya; Brenden Aaronson (Andrew Wooten, 90′), Jamiro Monteiro, Ilsinho (Anthony Fontana, 72′); Kacper Przybylko

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Freese, Aurelin Collin, Matej Oravec, Michee Ngalina

Montreal Impact

Clement Diop; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Clement Bayiha, 84′), Luis Binks, Rod Fanni, Rudy Camacho, Jorge Corrales, Samuel Piette, Victor Wanyama, Amar Sedjic, Bojan (Ballou Tabla, 57′), Mason Toye (Romell Quioto, 51′)

Unused subs: James Pantemis, Jonathan Sirois, Tomas Giraldo, Shamit Shome, Karifa Yao, Joel Waterman

Scoring summary

PHI: Jamiro Monteiro — 39′ (Ilsinho)

PHI: Sergio Santos — 47′ (Ilsinho)

MTL: Amar Sedjic — 65′

Disciplinary summary

MTL: Samuel Piette — 55′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHI: Olivier Mbaizo — 59′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

MTL: Victor Wanyama — 60′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

MTL: Jorge Corrales — 71′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 76′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHI: Matt Real — 90′ + 3′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)


  1. Tommy:
    The reason they can’t “slow down & manage the game” is because they lack the requisite skill and talent to do so. Union’s game is a 1-way Street. Thing is; trying to press from a Tree with a line-up that includes Ilsinho, Creavalle & Przybylko is “not ideal.”

    Dockal come home.

    Giving some thought to the idea of renaming the Sub-Par as the No Passing Zone. Both are apt, but the latter remains prescient. Elliott being back reminds that often he is the only player in Navy capable of connecting the dots from deep.

    Blake is below avg. on PK’s, so-so in commanding his box and putrid on GK’s. Still, when on his game he’s as good a shot stopper as there is in the league. He got a piece on Quioto’s chip btw.

    Beautiful feed from Old Man River on Monteiro’s opener.

    Kacper is in a major funk-which is why I was delighted to hear that the return of SCory is not far off. His versatility has been sorely missed-and the Germ-Pole looks like he needs some time off from KP duty.

    • ‘Twas a credit to Blake to get a piece of that chip.
      Though not the best starting XI, rotation is paramount in the coming weeks. Still waiting for Bedoya to get a night off.
      Sounds like Burke has to go through the 10-day quarantine before he can train with the team, so it’s going to be at least a few more games before he gets near the pitch on match day.

      • Just listened to Curtin’s press conference and he said he’s hoping Corey will be able to practice with the team later this week.

      • Appreciate the info on Burke. I have been told that the details of each person, test results, from where they have come, influence how long they stay in quarantine.
        Matt Freese was on the bench for the first team last night, apparently. He last played for Union II Sat 9/26 v Red Bulls II. That’s exactly 14 days. Of course we do not know when he may have restarted practice with the first team.
        So far, touch all the wood in the Siberian taiga, the Union and Union II have had very few positive tests. Hyper-carefulness and an abundance of caution have contributed to the absence of disease.
        Not only is the safety of other humans paramount, preserving the team as it attempts to achieve real success is also a worthy goal.

  2. Man it is really obvious how far our style of play drops off without Martinez.

    I was a always a fan of seeing what Mbaizo could do, and while he has been fine and shown to be a good back up, I don’t think he is a long term great RB like we need. So I will be following Harriel’s career with great interest.

    I thought Creavalle was flat out bad, and we played so much better to start the second half when we came off. Fontana also looked good, he is showing he can do more than just score. Had some nice moves and passes in the middle third to keep possession.

    • Totally agree on Creavalle. He was completely invisible early and then when he started to get involved, he gave it away as often as not.

    • WE won’t get to see much of Harriel until there is a functional, effective vaccine, because he will be isolated with the first team, and able to get games with Union II only at the price of a quarantine when going down and a quarantine when coming back up..
      Matt Freese’s appliance on the bench last night completed one full such cycle. I am guessing it was at least a week before he could practice with Union II. Then he got 6 games between SEpt 9 & sept 26, and then he was on the first team bench last night, Oct 11th.
      That timing illustrates a “playing down” cycle in the era of the virus and no vaccine.
      And whether the state of the first team’s injuries and international duties allow a 32-day hiatus in availability is a question that must be asked for each player each time.

  3. Not a great performance but SO MUCH FUN TO DOOP AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. It is likely best- for all included after last week’s tirade, I was unable to watch even a second of tonight’s game. I was cooled. Put in the cooler. a 20 second time out. detained in detention, “I don’t feel tardy.”
    I take no personal pleasure in any team ever besting Thierry Henry. An obstacle in the way, as much I admire and enjoy what he’s brought to the game.
    …what I really came here to say tonight is, RIP EVH…. ‘this is Mean Street.”

  5. John O'Donnell Jr says:


  6. Was really surreal to be back in Chester. I thought the organization did a fine job staging the match. Of course it’d be raining. Truly missed this experience. I didn’t mind the team they fielded though I’ll be calling for Fontana to start until he proves me wrong. As mentioned above, squad rotation. I hope Burke’s return is that gear we need to get to the next level.

    • Agreed. When the player ratings come out I hope there is a 10 for everyone working off the field at Suburu stadium last night for the job they did at hosting the event (except maybe for whoever was responsible for the PA system during the national anthem…definitely some feedback issues there.)

    • Jim Curtin hates Fontana. There is no other explanation. The kid really couldn’t do any better than he’s been doing with all of these random appearances. Bedoya is literally wilting before our eyes and Jim ignored Fontana’s existence.

  7. For everyone that bemoans how bad the Union were playing (and I will agree with that) There was another team out there, and I’ll have to agree with someone who said “Montreal is not as bad as their record suggests” For long parts of this game they locked down the midfield. Made it very difficult to the Union. And yes, it doesn’t matter how many cameras you have, soccer is best seen live. It was good to be back.

    • Montreal is definitely not that bad. They had to play half of their phase 1 games against Toronto and also had to travel across the country to play others. Throw in the fact they are the only visiting team to come away with points in Columbus and they come out looking pretty good when they keep 11 men on the field.

    • Yes. And a team that lined up 5-3-2 in an effort to do little more than make life hard for the Union attack. And it’s an attack that is already going to be hampered a bit by the 4-2-3-1. I didn’t get to see the whole match, just about 30 minutes and saw Santos’ goal. Agree that the Union are definitely more dynamic with El Bruno.

      • if the wingbacks in a 5-3-2 step up just a bit and make it a 3-5-2, that puts an extra man against your midfield if you are in a four-man midfield.

      • 3-5-2 and 5-3-2……..are the same damn thing. It’s just where you feel like putting your wingbacks on the match report………

    • Payet is good, flat out. He’s a real handful offensively and defensively. Of all the 1v1s tonight I think Monteiro was the only one to best him. He shut down Wagner over and over again.

    • Seriously. I feel like I was watching a different game. Montreal is definitely better than their record. When they don’t get red cards, they’re not half bad. Imagine if they ever get a creator.

  8. I some how had missed the news that Wanayama was with Montreal. Was Abit surprised to see him roaming the midfield last night.

  9. Slippery field conditions definitely affected this match, and I’m wondering how much they played a role in the errant passing from the Union last night. Overall, it was a pretty sloppy game, but the Union really used space well on the counter and Santos did exceptionally well in the second half.

    Monteiro specifically had a great game, especially in the second half when he slid into Creavalle’s spot. I definitely think he plays better there than as a pseudo AM in the 4-2-3-1. Kai Wagner was also excellent today. Right back remains an issue, and if we weren’t in such dire straights in the midfield I might think Bedoya could fill in there for a bit. Hope we have a fit Gaddis by the time the playoffs start.

    • Agreed that Monteiro played great when Cravalle went out, I couldn’t understand Jim’s thinking when Fontana gets in and replaced Monteiro , as Monteiro moved up to a more offensive position. One week Jim doesn’t trust the kid defensively, next he has him playing deep. I thought for sure he’d put Fontana in for a spark on offense.
      The major concern going forward, as in previous years is going to be squad rotation, not when players are hurt and can’t play, but when healthy and getting the rest needed for the playoff push. There is a real good chance that we can win the Supporters Shield, but we will need fresh legs down the stretch.

      • Fontana replaced Ilsinho, not Monteiro. I thought it was a pretty good sub. Got some fresh legs on and Fontana a few more minutes.

  10. Great to be back at Suburu Park, and to have the post game available on radio on the drive home!!!!

    But is it me? Tommie…. Doop is not a word that means goal! Yes, we sing Doop when a goal is scored but it does not mean a goal, literally. So ‘doop in the old onion bag’ is just a silly phrase.

    Anyone remember who started Doop? That crazy polish guy who was our coach for way too long!!!!

  11. Andre Blake with a win. He made that one save with the tip of his nose, I think.

  12. I was herding cats last night between 7:30-9. Only had one eye on the match…..not enough to make any informed comments. My only observation is for such a system based club……..missing one guy causes you to change shape? We should be plugging and chugging over one guy…..not changing shape! 3 points…..keep it moving.

    • I think it’s also about preserving legs. Distribute defensive coverage and back tracking in order to save the legs of Bedoya and Miro.

    • It’s not really one guy. It’s Martinez yes, but it’s also that Crevalle isn’t fully fit, Oravec hasn’t seemed to earn Curtin’s trust and the Glesnes injury means you can’t even play Elliot out of position at DM.

    • Fair points. I guess my only rebuttal to that would be…..when does Jim really squad rotate? He’s pretty dogmatic on who he puts out there week in and week out….unless forced to. I don’t understand why not dropping Miro to the 6….giving Fontana/Ilsinho a start , keep Aaronson and Bedoya as is and maintain the diamond. Craeville isn’t even an issue then…………

      • He essentially did that against Cincinnati (gave Fontana the start). People called it a 4-2-3-1 but given that Santos and Kacper were both playing it wasn’t that much different than a 4-4-2.

      • I thought so, I just wonder why not again………

      • I’m not saying I would have chosen that lineup. That’s just the conclusion I came too when I questioned it.

      • I’m basically saying that if squad rotation necessitates a shape change……for a club like the Union….that’s perplexing. I get shape changes because a match or opponent warrants it……part of me thinks the first ten minutes of the last match against them scared Jim…..as stated here somewhere……they are dangerous. The double pivot may have been more coverage on Wanyama………

  13. For the most part, everyone played better. Bedoya was improved. Miro too. Wagner played well till getting burnt after his knock. M’baizo was really off. Creavalle does not fit into this lineup. Blake with great saves, but as usual bad at distribution. Things got better in the second half with the subs.
    Let the train keep rolling. Wining through adversity.

  14. El Brujo didn’t even make the bench in Friday nights game against Colombia. If him going was FIFA flexing their muscles, and he doesn’t even make the game day roster in tomorrows game against Paraguay, I think the Union would have reason to be pissed with FIFA.

    • I watched that last night and it pissed me off! How bout that ankle dislocation, sticking out sideways, ten minutes in for that poor CB on Columbia…………ouch!

  15. Not the best game overall, but thank god, looks like Miro maybe coming out of the hole he was in for a little while there, he was beginning to scare me but he, along with Ilsinho , was the best Union mid last night imo and has looked good the past few games…Blake had a game minus the usual 2 or 3 bad distribution ideas that happen every game although maybe wind and rain had a little to do with that…past two games tells me one thing, Jose Martinez is greatest thing to happen in the history of North American soccer

  16. Remaining schedules for Supporters Shield-taking:

    Wed: @ DCU
    10/19: @ New England
    10/24: Toronto
    10/28: Chicago
    11/1: @ Columbus
    11/8: New England
    Wed: NYRB
    10/18: Atlanta
    10/24: @ Philly
    10/28: NYCFC
    11/1: Inter Miami
    11/8 @ NYRB
    Looks like TFC has the edge, sadly.

    • Agree, BUT… It depends on how NYRB and Miami are playing. They each have the potential to be a handful. It’s kinda rough for us to play the Revs twice more, as they are very strong defensively. One of those matches is liable to be a 0-0 draw.

      • Miami is really looking a lot better now that Higuain has had time to gel with the other players and I am liking the Matuidi-Trapp center mid partnership they’ve used the past couple games. I don’t think they’re world beaters yet, but they’re definitely capable of taking points off a visiting Toronto.

        Atlanta is also looking a bit more threatening since adding Marcelino Moreno.

        The Union schedule is a little harder, but there are a lot of games where Toronto could possibly drop some points.

  17. Thought. Until El Brujo returns, could Matt Real effectively slot into the CDM role. Or could MacKenzie move up with Glesnes and Elliot as CB’s. I hate seeing Montero move back and Creavalle doesn’t have the bite. 2 years ago the 4-3-2-1 worked. Today it just doesn’t feel like we have the right personnel.

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