Coming off the conclusion of the 2017 Gold Cup break, the Philadelphia Union hoped to re-enter MLS play with a solid road victory at Stade Saputo against Montreal Impact. Unfortunately for them though, and despite the fact that the Union had a Saturday tune-up against English Premier League side Swansea City, they dropped all three points Wednesday night by a score of 2-1.
The match had a sloppy beginning to it, as evidenced by the parade of mishaps occurring in the first few minutes. Receiving a backpass, Laurent Ciman got careless with the ball and allowed Fafa Picault to steal it right out from under him. Sadly though for Picault, he took one touch too many and put himself in a position where the angle was too tight. Picault’s shot went wide, and the game moved on.
The Union controlled the run of play for the first quarter of the match, however Montreal Impact ultimately scored the first goal of the match. A simple Chris Duvall cross into the box found the head of Michael Salazar. Salazar directed the ball into the net past Union goalkeeper John McCarthy - playing while Andre Blake is on international duty - and into the back of the net.
Duvall helped set up the Impact’s first goal with a well-played cross, but Duvall also set up the Union’s first goal with a shocking misfire in his own third. Duvall lazily attempted to pass the ball back, and ultimately Picault picked up the ball face-to-face with Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. With Bush out of his net, Picault lashed it past the Montreal keeper to tie the match at one minutes before half time.
The Union did well to limit the number of chances the Impact had, however, a massive defensive lapse cost the Union the match. Blerim Dzemaili played the ball into the box in what seemed like a pass to Matteo Mancuso. However, he played the ball softly enough that he was able to dance around a ball-watching Giliano Wijnaldum and Jack Elliott, latching onto it himself and one-time it past McCarthy into the net. The Impact took a 2-1 lead, and it was a lead that they would not give up.
As the match wore on, the Philadelphia Union lacked the fluidity to even the match, although during stoppage time Jay Simpson had a chance at a shot from just outside the box. That shot went over the bar though, and the Union left Stade Saputo defeated by a score of 2-1.
The Philadelphia Union will have little rest as they travel from Montreal to Columbus, Ohio this weekend for a Saturday evening match against the Columbus Crew SC.