The boys in blue head north this weekend to take on Montreal.
Historically, the Union are not great in Montreal. They have yet to come away with a single point after two previous trips to Stade Saputo. If ever there was a time for that stat to change, it's now.
Montreal is coming off a midweek road trip loss to LA, which leaves them clinging to playoff hopes just as tightly as the U. After 32 matches, Montreal, Chicago and the Union are locked at 46 points each, with New England right behind at 45 points and Houston not far ahead at 48 points. With so many Eastern Conference "6-point games" in the next two weeks, every match has the potential to look like a playoff. Union coach, John Hackworth, said in this week's presser that, "there is no game after this one for either team." A loss would end all hopes of our season continuing past October 26th. And while a win would be fantastic, we absolutely must at least tie. No, forget that. Tell customs we're brining 3 points across the border. WE NEED TO WIN.
So what can we expect on Saturday? Based on history and current circumstances, this one is likely to be a scrappy affair, with both teams running at 100% for the full 90. The Union may be missing LeToux, who suffered an injury in the first minute of their previous match, against D.C. Michael Farfan is out of the lineup for yellow card accumulation. Lahoud is questionable due to a left ankle sprain. Even the most true-blue will admit the August 31 meeting between Philly and Montreal was a slow, torturous matchup. But we walked away from that with a draw so you can likely expect the same sort of conservatism again from Hackworth. The Union will need a strong midfield to shut down Marco DiVaio with 19 goals so far this season and possibly Andrew Wegner, who joined DiVaio in the starting XI against the Galaxy this week. After a painful, agonizing drought, our darling Jack finally scored last week against D.C. Let's hope Mr. McInerney is at the beginning of a beautiful end of season scoring binge... or at least able to find the back of the net once or twice this Saturday.
If the Union can put forth a better effort than last week, this one can, hopefully, be a draw. Coming away with 1 point, and keeping Montreal from taking all 3, would light the fire for an explosive final match against Kansas City back at PPL Park. But taking just one point this weekend leaves the Union vulnerable and relies fully on other chips falling in the right direction (looking at you, Chicago). Will the Zolos fold under the pressure or thrive in their underdog status?
Check back for the match thread during the game and let us know what you think.