CHESTER, PA (September 10, 2016) – Tonight was a must win night for the Philadelphia Union. Coming off a 3-0 loss away to Chicago Fire, the push for a home playoff game started to look grim. It was still achievable, but the upcoming schedule gave them no solace. Given that the Union were missing Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake (both Bedoya and Blake for international duty), and Joshua Yaro(family affair), an off game was expected. The squad needed to comeback fast, and would need to do so against a very good Montreal Impact team.
Philadelphia Union draw with Montreal Impact to drop points
This would be the final game in a three game series between the two teams. The two earlier match ups were in Montreal. The first game ended in a 1-1 draw. The second game wasn’t as close. Didier Drogba netted his second hat trick in MLS to help steamroll the Union 5-1. Chris Pontius had the lone goal for the Union. Montreal are currently three points behind the Union for 4th place. Meaning this game could mean six points theoretically for the winning team. With Bedoya, Blake and Yaro back, their form should also come back as well
Philadelphia Union: Blake/ Rosenberry, Yaro, Marquez, Fabinho/ Creavalle, Bedoya/ Herbers, Barnetta, Pontius/ Sapong
Montreal Impact: Kronberg/ Oyongo, Ciman, Camara, Toia/ Bernadello, Donadel/ Ontivero, Bernier, Piatti/ Mancosu
The first half of the game was a bit sluggish and violent. Nothing much really occurred for the first 30 minutes of the game. It was not a very technical half, but that wasn’t expected given the size of both the squads. In the 6th and 8th minutes, Montreal Impact missed what we can only call sitters. This would come back to bite them later. In the 45th minute, Tranquillo Barnetta took a shot from outside the 18 yard box and trickled into the lower rut hand quarter to give the Union the 1-0 lead. It would be Barnetta’s fifth goal on the year and it came at a good time. The half would then end 1-0.
The second half again started slow and quiet until the 58th minute. Fabian Herbers was taken down inside the box and looked like a clear penalty. The penalty was not given and Talen Energy Stadium erupted. The Union would get most of the chances in the second half. Which has really become the story of the season for the team. In the 88th minute, Matteo Mancuso got his head on a crossed ball and made the game 1-1. The goal would be his third of the season after joking the Impact on loan in July. The game would end 1-1. Both teams don’t gain or lose and ground each other.
The Union face a tough three game away stretch ahead of them. Next Saturday they travel to Portland to face the Portland Timbers. After that they travel to second place Toronto FC and then to third place New York Red Bulls. Here’s what Alejandro Bedoya had to say about having a sense of urgency:
“I would like for us to have a sense of urgency….I want guys to get fired up and feel that sense of urgency. Because I don’t just want to make it to the playoffs. I want us to get the first or second spot.”
These next three games have serious playoff implications. Will the Union bounce back from dropping points? Will there be more of a sense of urgency? We’ll find that out soon enough.