Date: Saturday, August 12th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Referees: REF: RUBIEL VAZQUEZ AR1: Frank Anderson AR2: Adam Wienckowski 4TH: Jose Carlos Rivero VAR: Mark Geiger
Television: United States - CSN Philly (Philadelphia market); Canada - TSN 690 Montreal, TVA Sports 2
Streaming: MLS Live
All-time record: The Philadelphia Union have beaten Montreal three times, lost six times, and drew six times. In their last meeting, the Union lost 2-1 in Montreal. Their last match in Chester ended in a 3-3 draw.
What Philadelphia will look like
The Union didn’t make a move at the closing of the international transfer window, and by trading an international slot to Columbus Crew SC on Thursday for $50,000 in general allocation money they signified they were content to go with the players they currently have on roster. The Union are still just three points out of a playoff spot and have a game in hand on the sixth place Crew, but the Impact are two points behind the Union and have three games in hand on Columbus. The Union pretty much have to win against Montreal in order to have a shot at making the playoffs.
The good news is that the Union played one of their most complete games last time out against a tough FC Dallas team. The team got great production from Ilsinho at the 10, which has been a position of need for the team all season. CJ Sapong has surpassed his career high in goals scored and still has eleven games to add onto his current tally of 12, and John McCarthy has stepped up in Andre Blake’s absence and has been playing lights out. If the team performs as well as they did against Dallas, they can beat any team in the league.
What Montreal will look like
Montreal has historically performed well against the Union, and they’ll have more players available to them since the last time they met as Ignacio Piatti has returned from the injured list. The club will still be without the services of Ambroise Oyongo who is still out after knee surgery, and Victor Cabrera who is out with “an undisclosed injury.” They may also be without Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, who is reportedly unhappy that the club would not sell him to “a number of European clubs.” That said, the Impact are still a strong team, have a better points-per-game average than the Union, and are desperate to make the playoffs.
Look for Montreal to line up in a 4-3-3 much like they did against Orlando City last week. The only change will most likely be swapping out Victor Cabrera for Kyle Fisher, who featured for the Impact the last time they played the Union. Blerim Dzemaili absolutely killed the Union last time out, so the club will have to make sure they have someone on him at all times to disrupt his distribution to the Impact forwards.
What to expect
Montreal hasn’t won an away game since May 6 when they were at D.C. United. Since then they’ve drawn twice and lost three away from Stade Saputo. The Union looked unbeatable at home, and with the team and crowd looking to honor the late Sons of Ben president Kenny Hanson, I think the Union will have an edge. They’ll need to play smart and with the same sort of passion they did with against Dallas last week, because if Montreal can get an early goal it could be a tough one for the home team.