If you’ve been following the Union recently, you already know the headlines. 14 games without a win, four losses in a row, last place in MLS, 14 goals allowed while only scoring eight themselves, only two points from six games. Nothing’s going right for the squad. Today the Union squared off against the Montreal Impact. The Impact themselves have not had a good year. They have six points from six games and are tenth place in the Eastern Conference. With players like Ignacio Piatti and Laurent Ciman in the squad, they should be having a better season. Parity is the word for MLS and it seems it’s just one of those things for the Impact.
The seat is increasingly getting hot for Jim Curtin. He understands that the fans are getting impatient. It’s unlikely that the Union will fire him sometime soon. Fans will have to sit tight for a while.
“Pure Frustration:” Philadelphia Union Remain Winless After Draw With Montreal Impact
Here’s how both teams lined up:
Philadelphia Union: Blake / Gaddis; Marquez; Elliot; Fabinho / Medunjanin; Bedoya / Ilsinho; Alberg; Pontius / Sapong
Montreal Impact: Bush / Duvall; Camara; Ciman; Oyongo / Bernadello; Donadel / Oduro; Bernie; Piatti / Mancosu
A few notes before the recap. Ray Gaddis would make his first appearance in a Union jersey since June 2016 in the U.S Open Cup fourth round game against New York Red Bulls. Rookie Jack Elliot made his second start in a row. Also, Ilsinho and Chris Pontius switched wings for this game. Ilsinho was on the left side while Pontius was on the right.
From the onset, the Union came out swinging. A tone needed to be set early for the Union who have struggled to start off strong all season. Pressure was applied early and was promptly rewarded.
In the fifth minute, C.J. Sapong put a ball forward to Roland Alberg who would send Laurent Ciman flying the other way with a cut move and slotted it home to give Union the very early 1-0 lead. It was a dream start for the club and just what the doctor ordered given the slow start to the season.
Not too much later in the 18th minute, Jack Elliot had two chances inside the box but would ultimately pull it wide. Five minutes later, a corner kick was cleared back out to the Union and a second cross was put in. This time, Sapong put a head on the ball from about four yards out and netted his club leading fourth goal of the season.
Defender Jack Elliot, yes the rookie center back, continued to show his offensive prowess as he was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. Roland Alberg stepped up and deflected the ball off of goalkeeper Evan Bush and into the net to make it 3-0 Union. The team was on its way to the best half of the season and three points seemed a certainty at this point.
Not so fast.
In the 41st minute, Piatti made a tremendous run and curled the ball around Andre Blake for a goal that would make it 3-1. It would stay that way until halftime. A two-goal lead for the Union, the worst lead in sports. But they’re at home and they have owned the game so far. Surely they can hold them off right?
In the 69th minute, Ambroise Oyongo put in a beautiful cross to Montreal substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel who flicked a header backwards into the net. Suddenly, the Union lead was down to one. Uh oh. Surely they can’t blow a three-goal lead at home, can they? Not against a tenth place team like Montreal. Not when C.J Sapong is playing his best game of the year.
The 87th minute would deal the final blow to the Union. Matteo Mancosu launched a shot from outside the 18 towards Andre Blake. Blake saved the ball, but the rebound landed in front of Jackson-Hamel who would net his brace for the day and tie the game.
And that’s how it ended with the Union blowing a three-goal lead. They went from a for sure three points to settling for a disappointing draw. Alejandro Bedoya put it better in his post game press conference
“Pure frustration. I mean I’m at a loss for words,” Bedoya said. “To be up 3-0 at home…..it feels like a loss. It’s hard to stomach. This team deserves better. The fans deserve better since I came to this club.”
Frustration is in the air. All around the team. The squad, the fans, the front office. Everyone. The Union travel to Los Angeles to play the Galaxy next Saturday.