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Match preview: CF Montreal vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (2022: 0-1-0, 1 point, 8th place in the East) vs. Montreal Impact (0-0-1, 0 points, 12th place in the East)

What: 2022 regular season; Week 2

Where: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec

When: Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL 17

Whistle: Referee: Drew Fischer; Assistant Referees: Oscar Mitchell-Carvlho, Corey Rockwell; 4th Official: Flip Dujic; VAR: Geoff Gamble

No doubt last Saturday’s opening day match against Minnesota left Unions fans feeling a bit underwhelmed.

After giving up an early and sloppy goal, the team was able to muster an equalizer – but never seemed to really click. Fortunately, they’ll have the opportunity to redeem themselves on Saturday at 4:00 as they steam up the St. Lawrence Seaway and meet Club de Foot Montreal.

Last season, the two teams drew each time they met. 1-1 in August at home with Quinn Sullivan tying it up at the 87th minute and a sloppy 2-2 in Montreal with the Union giving up the lead in added time.

All time, the Union are 7-8-9 against the Impact/Foot.

Scouting Report: Montreal Impact

Montreal was outmatched on Sunday in their debut game, a 2-0 loss at Orlando.

Perhaps they were tired following a midweek win against Liga MX’s Santos Laguna in the first round of the Concacaf Champions League (the Club made it through to the second round with the win, and head to Mexico to face Cruz Azul on Wednesday, March 9th). Or, perhaps they are essentially the same team that has finished in 9th, 9th and 10th place over the past three years.

Montreal did not bring in any splashy new talent to try and move up the table. Instead they brought in Alistair Johnson from Nashville who will be solid at right back and hired striker Kei Kamara, a league legend who has scored a lot of MLS goals for a lot of MLS teams – but at 37 years old may very well be cooked.

Montreal comes out in a possession-oriented 3-5-2, with attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic – coming off a 16 assist season – leading the way. The wingers run the length of the pitch to generate width while Mihailovic attempts to create through the middle. Stalwart defensive midfielder Samuel Piette has been injured but may return to action.

Much like the Union, Montreal’s historical weakness is up top. With starting strikers Romell Quioto out following a red card against Orlando and Mason Toye out with an injury, the Union may see Kamara in the starting eleven. 

Injury Report:  Mason Toye

Suspended:  Romell Quito

Scouting report: Union

The Mikael Uhre era begins on Saturday.

Whether the Danish striker starts or not is the only question. Given the price the Union paid for his services, he will certainly see the pitch for some serious minutes. 

Beyond that, fans would be forgiven if they didn’t realize this was a new season. The Union came out in their typical 4-4-2 diamond last week and there is no reason to expect anything different against Montreal. The only foreseeable change in the lineup is at the forward position, and that will be determined by how ready Uhre has looked in training – or whether the team want to give him his first run on Montreal’s abominable turf.

Some questions going into the game:

  1. Jim Curtin stated that Mbaizo “didn’t have his best game,” which is about as bad a comment as the coach is capable of making. How long will Curtin wait before pulling Mbaizo if he has another lackluster outing?
  2. Will Alejandro Bedoya ever get subbed out? His tank looked half empty over the weekend, and there are homegrowns nipping at his heels.
  3. When does McGlynn get his shot at the left mid spot? Flach and the current iteration of Bedoya present a very defensive minded midfield, and fans can see that the attack requires more going forward. Editor’s note: Or, if Bedoya comes out, with Flach at his preferred 6 and Martinez on the right of the diamond, as he’s been with the Venezuelan national team?

Injury Report:  None

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup:  Union forwards vs Montreal Center backs

Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is Montreal’s best player and smartest creator. Any offense the Club de Foot creates will come through him – so keeping him under wraps is the highest priority. 

Player to Watch: Daniel Gazdag

Uhre would seem to be the obvious answer here, but if fans take it as a given that the new striker will score goals when given the opportunity, he will need Gazdag to provide said quality service.

Gazdag showed the league a little something last year but the time is now for him to level up.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-0 Montreal


Philadelphia Union:  +200

Montreal Impact: +145

Draw: +220

For the degenerate gamblers out there… a surprising opportunity?


  1. Seems like the betting line is really screwy for a lot of games this week

  2. Harriel starting!

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