Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of budding Eastern Conference rivals
clash on Saturday in the heat of the playoff chase as the Philadelphia Union
visit the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium.
Both teams are in desperate need of a result if they want to stay in the
playoff mix as the sit even on 46 points with two games remaining on the
regular season schedule.
Philadelphia looked to be in prime position to make the postseason after 1-0
wins over Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC in consecutive weeks. But the
youthful Union hit a snag last week as they could only manage a 1-1 draw
against last place D.C. United which saw them drop below the red line.
Playing on the road against a feisty United team that had claimed the U.S. Open
Cup title weeks earlier, the Union sat back and were burned in the 36th minute
when Nick DeLeon beat Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath with an inch-perfect long
But the Union managed to steal a point in the final minute of regulation when
Kleberson sent a lofted cross into the box that was nodded home by Jack
McInerney, who snapped a 14-match goalless drought with the tally.
The draw means that Philadelphia will certainly need at least another stalemate
against Montreal to keep their playoffs hopes afloat. But in two previous
encounters in Montreal, Philadelphia has lost both games.
Union players certainly know the magnitude of Saturdays match:
"This is a very important game. It's going to be a war," defender Amobi Okugo
said. "Because they know we have a chance to jump them (in the standings) if we
win and they have a chance to separate themselves if they get a result. So this
game could be the deciding factor with whos going to make the playoffs."
Montreal, meanwhile, also needs a win to get back on track. The Impact looked
unbeatable early in the season, but has slowed down considerably late on and
having lost three straight games on home soil.
Their most recent setback was a 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy at StubHub
Center on Wednesday.
Los Angeles claimed the winner off a corner kick in the 68th minute as Kofi
Opare netted his first career MLS goal to give the Galaxy the win.
"Overall, we played a good game so this result hurts," said Impact head coach
Marco Schallibaum. "We had at least four or five good scoring chances. To win,
you have to score these goals. We deserved at least a point tonight but there's
no time to be sad. We must get back on our feet and face Philadelphia this
Saturday. Despite the loss, our young defenders were excellent tonight."
Despite the loss, Schallibaum urged his team to quickly move on from the loss
against LA and focus on Saturdays tilt.
"There's no time to be sad. We must get back on our feet and face Philadelphia
this Saturday," He said.
In four all-time meetings between the sides, Montreal holds a 2-1-1 edge.
The Sports Network