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Game Changers: Impacted

There were a lot of moments that changed the momentum of the Philadelphia Union’s draw with the Montreal Impact.

Philadelphia Union vs Montreal Impact Photo Gallery Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

1.) Slow start - The Union didn't get out to the best start, gifting the Montreal Impact two good chances in the opening minutes. First, a great ball in to Matteo Mancuso narrowly missed going into the net:

The Philadelphia back line is not in sync on this at all. Fabinho gets caught going far too far in toward the center of the pitch, forcing Richie Marquez to push wide to cover Matteo Mancuso. When the ball is played back centrally to Lucas Ontivero, Fabinho fails to return to the left side of the pitch leaving Mancuso open. Marquez abandons Patrice Bernier, and Josh Yaro rotates over to cover Bernier. Ontivero comes running in, and since Yaro is over covering Bernier, no one picks up Ontivero. Mancuso threads a great ball in and Ontivero’s touch lets him down. He scuffs the shot, and luckily for the Union the danger passes.

Minutes later, Patrice Bernier just missed a great ball through from Ignacio Piatti.

Before the video starts, Josh Yaro hooks behind Richie Marquez and up the field in pursuit of Mancosu leaving a giant gap in the Union defense. Mancosu is finally dispossessed of the ball, but it’s 25 or so yards out and the ball goes directly to Hernan Bernardello, who rifles the ball down the Union’s right flank to Nacho Piatti. Keegan Rosenberry did well to come out and challenge Piatti, but Piatti hit a great through ball toward an onrushing Bernier. Bernier is being trailed by Warren Creavalle, who got a bit of a late jump on Bernier’s run - but had Yaro been in place, Bernier’s run would have been considerably less dangerous.

2.) Ciman comes up huge - Laurent Ciman first gets burned by CJ Sapong but then comes back to save a certain goal.

Keegan Rosenberry played a great ball forward for Sapong, and Ciman misjudges the bounce, allowing Sapong to get in one-on-one with Montreal goalkeeper Eric Kronberg. Ciman is one of the best defenders in the league though, and doesn’t give up. While Sapong draws Kronberg out and feints to go around him, Ciman rushes back and dispossesses Sapong from behind. Sapong did everything right on this, but Ciman just made a tremendous play to keep the match scoreless.

3.) Foul play? - On this play, Fabian Herbers gets a great cross over to Chris Pontius. Pontius heads the ball over to CJ Sapong, and that’s when things get fuzzy.

Is this a foul? Referee Armando Villarreal didn’t think so. CJ Sapong didn’t protest too much, although he might have been guilty of fouling Donny Toia before being pushed to the ground by Marco Donadel. Personally I would have whistled it (but I’m a homer for the Union so take that as you will).

4.) Dre day - Welcome back Andre Blake!

Will I ever get tired of watching this? Nope.

5.) Barnetta bomb - Whenever this team needs a clutch goal, it seems like Tranquillo Barnetta is there. The Union had been pressuring Montreal and getting good looks, but Barnetta was able to break it open with this.

This started when Villarreal didn’t call Josh Yaro for a foul on Nacho Piatti - a very lucky break for the Union. Warren Creavalle tracked the ball down, and got it up to Alejandro Bedoya, who pivoted and hit it to Fabian Herbers. Herbers was rushed from behind by Ambroise Oyongo, but Herbers was able to get a touch on the ball and send it to Barnetta. Barnetta chested the ball down, turned and ran toward goal, and then hit a beautiful shot that froze Eric Kronberg just enough.

6.) Second act of foul play? - This started with a great ball forward from Josh Yaro to CJ Sapong. Sapong then makes a nice move to corral the ball, and then sent Fabian Herbers in on goal. Then this happened.

Marco Donadel runs over Fabian Herbers in the box, and to me it’s clear a penalty should be awarded. Armando Villarreal disagreed, and unfortunately his was the only voice that counted.

7.) Last minute meltdown - I’ll start with this:

And then show the video:

This simply can not happen. This was the second corner in a row for Montreal, and no one marks Matteo Mancosu. Everyone bit on the short corner, while Mancosu drifted back post. Josh Yaro - who should have been marking Mancosu - was in space outside of the six yard box on the left side. Warren Creavalle is back because he was playing the back post on the restart, and had gone inside of Mancosu and a bit upfield. He had the best shot at disrupting the play, but the ball bounced over his outstretched foot and to Mancosu, who beat Andre Blake.

And just like that, two critical points evaporated. This might not have been just a game changing moment, but a season changing one as well.