Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs. CF Montreal

Photo: Stephen Speer

Who: Philadelphia Union vs. CF Montreal

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Saturday, April 23rd, 3:00 p.m.

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+, Philadelphiaunion.com

Whistle: Not available at publication

Not much time has passed since Philadelphia and Montreal last met in league play, with Philadelphia coming away with a 2-1 win in Montreal back in March — the Union’s first victory of the young season.

But Montreal has turned a corner in the league since their Champions League exit, currently riding a four-game unbeaten streak which includes three straight wins into Chester this Saturday afternoon.

Scouting Report: CF Montreal 

Most MLS teams have struggled balancing Champions League play and the start of the regular season, and Montreal was no exception. Montreal was able to advance to the quarterfinals of Champions League before falling to Cruz Azul, but that run in Champions League saw them start the MLS season with a record of 0-3-0, picking up no points in matches with Orlando, Philadelphia and New York City and failing to score multiple goals in any of those three matches.

Then Montreal flipped a switch. The past month of league play has seen them post a record of 3-0-1, picking up wins over Cincinnati, Red Bull and Vancouver. The men from the north have also scored 2+ goals in those four matches.

Leading the way of Montreal’s turn around has been young American Djordje Mihailovic, who has already tallied four goals and three assists in seven league matches. Mihailovic likes to lead the attack in counter attacking positions, and will almost always be involved in any Montreal goal. Mihailovic has been looking to feed Honduran attacker Romell Quioto up top. Quioto has notched three goals this season and has scored in his past two starts.

In the midfield Montreal does support some famous names. Victor Wanyama of recent Tottenham fame has been with the team the past two seasons, helping to provide a defensive presence in the center of the pitch. On the left side is Finnish wingback Lassi Lappalainen, who has been a thorn in Philadelphia’s side when these two meet, scoring Montreal’s lone goal in the last meeting. On the right operating as another wingback is Alistair Johnston, with the Canadian offering a more stable defensive presence.

In the back are Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller and Joel Waterman, with the three men in the back being aerial threats on set pieces and providing a stronger defense of late, only surrendering 1 goal in each of their last 2 matches. In goal for Montreal is Sebastian Breza, who has not yet kept a clean sheet in the league this season.

Injury Report: Out: Mason Toye, Joaquin Torres, Bjorn Johnsen, Tomas Giraldo, Mathieu Choiniere

Suspension Report:  None

Scouting report: Union

Philadelphia is looking to continue their strong start to the season despite a disappointing outing in their last game in Toronto, falling 2-1 in their first loss of 2022. New man Mikael Uhre has been seeing more and more game action as he returns to fitness while his new strike partner Julian Carranza has settled in, notching two goals and two assists, including an assist the last time the Boys in Blue faced Montreal. Sergio Santos is returning to match fitness and should also be an option to start, with Cory Burke also being an option off the bench.

Philadelphia under Jim Curtin rarely rotate their famous midfield diamond featuring leading goal scorer Daniel Gazdag at the tip leading and linking the attack. Behind Gazdag is the captain Alejandro Bedoya and Leon Flach, who can both cover ground in the midfield with Bedoya being an offensive threat and Flach covering defensively. At the base and shielding the defense is Jose Martinez, who has been hailed as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league for his recent performances.

Jacob Glesnes and Jack Elliott are the stalwart pairing in the back after leading the Union to a Supporters’ Shield and an Eastern Conference final in each of the past 2 seasons, and will be looking to rebound after a disappointing effort in Toronto. Kai Wagner will on the left as he seems to have grown on his all-star season last year, proving he is ready for a jump to Europe. Nathan Harriel has broken through the ranks and claimed the starting right back role from Olivier Mbazio earlier this season.

As always Andre Blake will be in net for Philadelphia.

Injury Report: None

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup Speed and Counters

Philadelphia is a team who particularly doesn’t want or care if they have possession of the ball, opting to hit quickly on the counter when their opponent gets far up the field. Unfortunately, Montreal plays a similar way in opting for counter attacks with their speed in attack. This game will be decided by who has the most endurance and the deepest bench.

Player to Watch: Mikael Uhre

Uhre has gotten some good looks in his recent starts with Philadelphia but hasn’t been able to find the back of the net. The Dane has impressed with his size and speed but will be looking to get the monkey off his back and bag his first goal, especially after the investment Philadelphia made in him in the offseason.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 1-1 CF Montreal

Philadelphia keeps a hot team at bay at home but Montreal hits on a counter for an equalizer splitting the points.

Odds
Philadelphia = -150
Montreal = +425
Draw = +295

10 Comments

  1. To beat El Pachy’s drum, this game is all about the response. At home, off a stinging defeat, this team should needs to put Montreal to the sword. A comprehensive 2-0 beating — a clean sheet and the opening of Uhre’s season tally — is the minimum of what’s acceptable. Let’s go.

  2. I’m hoping that by the time they kick off, the sixers will be up by 35 points

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    This is a huge game given it’s the last before the brutal part of the schedule. Anything but a win opens the likely possibility of a 5 game winless streak (including the Open Cup) by the time they come back to Chester given that next Sunday they open Nashville’s new stadium and then have to play at an LAFC team they’ve never beaten before flying to Orlando rather than Philly for the Open Cup less than 70 hours later.

  4. Steel is made by taking the lessor ore, stressing it with heat and beating the crap out of it with a hammer.
    These boys are ready to be steel.
    I look forward to watching it.

  5. So my comment about MLS Clown League regarding the should have been red card to Toronto’s Nelson was taken down…..

    I guess cause I included a link to another source of info?

    Silly

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Maybe because it’s so clear that MLS is a clown league and PSP can only spend so much space on the obvious?

  6. Off to my first Union match. Thanks to all the lads for the tips on getting there and the like. Really looking forward to this. Never been to a football match in the States.

    Weird question, but what does “Doop” mean? I would hear this chanted by supporters while watching a couple of matches on the telly.

    Anyway, I am quickly becoming a fan… Cheers to all…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Doop doesn’t actually mean anything outside of the snippet of a song played when the Union score a home goal (hopefully they’ll score some today so you can see it in action).
      .
      It’s from Maria (I Like it Loud) by the German dance band Scooter. The song is also the anthem for Steaua Bucharest.
      .
      What section are you sitting in today? I’m in 127, Row C (3rd row) in the seat second closest to section 128 (my wife has the aisle seat) if you want to stop by and say hi before the game or at halftime.

Leave a Reply

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

*

%d bloggers like this: