Date: Saturday, September 10th
Time: 7:00 PM EDT (1:00 PM GMT)
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pennsylvania)
Referees: REF: ARMANDO VILLARREAL, AR1: Corey Parker, AR2: Kathryn Nesbitt, 4TH: Jaime Herrera
Television: The Comcast Network (Philadelphia), TVA Sports (Canada), TSN 690 Montreal, DirecTV Channel 472, MLS Direct Kick
Streaming: MLS Direct Kick, MLS Live
All-time record: The Union have won three, lost five, and drawn four against the Impact. In their last meeting, the Union were defeated 5-1 at Stade Saputo. Their last victory against Montreal was a 1-0 victory in Montreal on August 22, 2015.
How the Union will look: Everyone is back from international duty and healthy, although Maurice Edu will most likely not be with the first team. He’s still rehabbing with Bethlehem Steel FC, getting 32 minutes against New York Red Bulls II last weekend. Andre Blake is back from his stint with Jamaica, Alejandro Bedoya is back from his stint with the United States, and no one is suspended, so this will most likely be the best Union lineup we’ve seen all season. Andre Blake in goal and a defensive line of Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro, and Keegan Rosenberry should be what we see on Saturday. The midfield should be Warren Creavalle and Alejandro Bedoya deep behind Chris Pontius, Tranquillo Barnetta, and Ilsinho with CJ Sapong up top.
How the Impact will look: Depleted. A brutal 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Orlando City on Wednesday took a lot out of the Impact, literally and figuratively. Goalkeeper Evan Bush was shown a red card in the 51st minute, so he’ll miss the match. Look for Eric Kronberg to get the start in place of Bush. Amadou Dia, Laurent Ciman, Hassoun Camara, and Donny Toia will most likely be on the back line for the Impact. In the midfield, the Impact will most likely go with Hernan Bernardello and Callum Mallace behind Ignacio Piatti, Kyle Bekker, and Dominic Oduro behind Didier Drogba.
What to expect: Neither team had good outings last time around, however the Union were shorthanded and had a full week to recuperate while Montreal has to travel on short rest. The Union will need to wear down Didier Drogba - he’s 38 and playing in the heat on short rest is a huge ask. That being said, he’s still Didier Drogba and the Union will have to account for him at all times. The Union’s offense is good enough to force a tired Montreal defense into making mistakes and getting good chances in on a backup goalkeeper. Both teams also must realize the importance of this match for the standings, with Philadelphia holding a three point lead over Montreal at this time. Montreal still has a game in hand, but a Union win will allow them to at least keep pace with Toronto FC, New York City FC, and the New York Red Bulls.