Needing a victory to stay in the thick of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Union delivered Saturday night with a 2-1 victory against a Montreal Impact side they had previously struggled against this season. The victory moved the Union to 5th place in the Eastern Conference and they have now gone unbeaten in their last five matches.
The first half did not feature much in the way of opportunities and chances, but during the rare occasions they arrived, the Union made the most of the moments. For the Impact, the opportunity that led to the first goal was self-inflicted. Some truly abominable goal kick defending by the Impact central defense set Sebastien Le Toux alone alone verse Troy Perkins where he beat him easily to put the Union on the board 1-0.
The Union remained perfectly content to concede possession to the Impact and play a counter-attacking game. Much like before, it was effective and though the first half lacked opportunities, the Union goal was rarely threatened by the possession dominating Impact.
Philadelphia added to their lead in the 63rd minute. Andrew Wenger made a run and tried to play a ball to Vincent Nogueira, but the pass was so off it ended up going to the foot of Le Toux. Le Toux dribbled into the box past a defender and shot the ball through a defender and Perkins falling the wrong way giving the Union a two-goal lead and Le Toux a brace. The Union's lead was two, Le Toux's goal tally was two, and it appeared as if the Union would cruise to an easy victory.
The Union did end up getting the victory, but the rest of the match was not easy. In the 70th minute Krzysztof Krol sent in a perfect cross to Anthony Jackson-Hamel. Jackson-Hamel proceeded to flick the ball on goal with the outside of his foot past Zac MacMath straight to the goal post. Lucky for MacMath, the ball ricocheted right back to him preventing any Montreal rebound opportunity. It had been Montreal's best chance of the game up to that point, and the Union were lucky to not concede a goal there.
Montreal did make the game interesting in the 79th minute. An Andres Romero cross found Maxim Tissot alone in the box. Sheanon Williams was in charge of marking Tissot in the box, and Sheanon flat out lost his man. This enabled Tissot to be alone and flick the ball into the net to pull Montreal within a goal of the Union.
Fortunately for the Union the Impact would not mount much of a threat toward the Union goal again and following a scheduled period of three minutes of stoppage time that went on for an unusual seven minutes and thirty seconds, the Union walked away from PPL Park tonight 2-1 victors. With that much needed victory the Union are now unbeaten in their last five matches and sit tied for 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Up next for the Union is a Tuesday U.S. Open Cup semi-final at FC Dallas. The Union will remain familiar with Texas for their next match in MLS play is a trip to Houston on Saturday for a nationally televised match that will see the Union hoping to continue their unbeaten streak.