Despite leading by three goals in the 40th minute, the Philadelphia Union stumbled their way to a 3-3 draw with the Montreal Impact on a dreary day at Talen Energy Stadium.
On the brink of a five-game losing streak, Head Coach Jim Curtin tinkered with his starting eleven. Ray Gaddis received his first start of the season over the struggling Keegan Rosenberry. Alongside Gaddis, Jack Elliott made his second consecutive start over Oguchi Onyewu.
Philadelphia was the far better side in the first 45 minutes on all fronts. In the fifth minute, CJ Sapong intercepted an errant Hernan Bernardello pass in the midfield and found a wide-open Roland Alberg running down the middle. Alberg swiftly cut back on his defender and buried his shot past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush to give the Union the early lead.
CJ Sapong had his way with the Montreal backline during the match. In addition to his assist, Sapong notched a goal of his own. The forward cleaned up a knockdown header from Chris Pontius to put the home team up 2-0 midway through the first half.
In the 39th minute, Union center back Jack Elliott drew a penalty kick. Roland Alberg stepped up to the spot instead of Alejandro Bedoya, who missed a penalty earlier this season. Bush managed to get a hand on Alberg’s shot, but the ball deflected into the opposite side of the net to add a third Union goal.
Nearing halftime, Ignacio Piatti made his presence known. In the 41st minute, Piatti embarrassed two Union defenders with an excellent turn, then proceeded to slice through the Union defense and draw one back for the away side.
Still up two goals going into halftime, the Union looked on their way to procuring their first win of the season.
Sensing a loss forthcoming, Impact Head Coach Mauro Biello brought on Anthony Jackson-Hamel in the 62nd minute for Dominic Oduro. The Impact Homegrown player was an instant game-changer for his side.
In the 69th minute, poor communication left Jackson-Hamel uncovered in the middle of the box as he headed an Ambroise Oyongo cross past an outstretched Andre Blake to bring the Impact within one.
The dull roar of doubt began to rise louder as the Union, still up one goal, looked on the verge of total collapse.
Curtin attempted to ice the match in the 86th minute by bringing on Derrick Jones to bolster the defense.
However, the damage seemed to already have been done as the Union looked out of steam. In the 87th minute, the Impact’s comeback was complete. Andre Blake parried away Matteo Mancosu’s shot right into the path of Jackson-Hel. The youngster made himself the hero for the second week in a row, as he slotted the third goal past an outstretched Blake.
The whistle blew only a few minutes later as boos came down from the small, but vocal, group of spectators present at today’s match.
The Union will try to snap their now-15-game winless streak next Saturday night as they fly across the country to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.