Preview: Union, Impact set for first meeting at PPL Park

PHILADELPHIA UNION vs MONTREAL IMPACT
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
July 14, 2012 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #173)
7 p.m. ET (CSN-Phi; TVA)

Philadelphia Union will be looking to keep their league roll continuing, when they meet the Montreal Impact for the first time as the clubs clash at PPL Park on Saturday evening. Union have won back-to-back MLS games after a 3-0 defeat of Toronto FC last weekend, though they lost in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals at midweek. The Impact put an end to a three-game losing slide last weekend with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew.

REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: John McCloskey
MLS Career: 16 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 6; pens: 4

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INJURY REPORT:

  • PHILADELPHIA UNION -- OUT: FW Chandler Hoffman (L big toe fracture); FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion symptoms); DOUBTFUL: DF Bakary Soumare (R knee meniscus recovery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Ray Gaddis (R shoulder contusion); PROBABLE: DF Carlos Valdes (R knee contusion); GK Zac MacMath (R ring finger avulsion)
  • MONTREAL IMPACT -- OUT: DF Matteo Ferrari (R quad strain); DF Nelson Rivas (abdomen); FW Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear); FW Andrew Wenger (L hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: MTL: Sanna Nyassi (caution accumulation; through July 15)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Carlos Valdes ... MTL: Collen Warner
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez ... MTL: Bernardo Corradi, Tyson Wahl

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME: First meeting.

RETURN MATCH: 8/4: Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m. ET

Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. MTL: first game ... Jesse Marsch vs. PHI: first game

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Philadelphia Union returned home and rolled to a second consecutive victory, a 3-0 defeat of Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 16 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Union exact revenge on TFC

LAST MATCH

  • Union took the lead in the 34th minute. Jack McInerney chased down a long ball from Michael Farfan along the right side and found an open Gabriel Gomez in the box, whose classy finish snuck inside the post past goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
  • Just two minutes later, Union doubled the lead when Gabriel Farfan's through ball set up Freddy Adu, whose left-footed blast from inside the area found the back of the net.
  • Antoine Hoppenot completed the scoring in the 78th minute, after he was sprung on a through pass from Michael Farfan and blasted a low shot past Kocic.
  • Union interim manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that came away with a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Gabriel Gomez and Lionard Pajoy came into the side in place of Michael Lahoud and Keon Daniel.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan (Chris Albright 89) - Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez - Lionard Pajoy, Michael Farfan (Roger Torres 83), Freddy Adu - Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 65).

TEAM NEWS

Anatomy of a Goal: Freddy Adu vs. Toronto

  • Union have won back-to-back league games for the second time this season, after recording consecutive 1-0 win on April 14-21.
  • Freddy Adu scored his second goal of the season, his first since April 21. "Freddy was really good. Happy for him, 'cause we all know he's capable of that kind of game, and for him to go out and do it was fantastic," said Union interim manager John Hackworth. "That second goal was really good, but he created a lot early in that game. He did a great job."
  • "A lot of the things that most people kind of knock on me are the things that I'm proud of and what I did well today," said Adu. "It was not so much going forward, scoring goals; it's the little things that people don't see, like cutting off passing lanes, getting back, helping guys defend."
  • Jack McInerney started for the fourth time in the last five games under Hackworth, and contributed a pair of assists. In his four appearances, he now has three goals and two assists and has been involved in five of the six goals Union have scored while he's been on the field.
  • Roger Torres came off the substitutes' bench in the 83rd minute, his first appearance since March 24, after undergoing surgery to repair the MCL in his left knee.
  • "I was so excited for that," Torres said of the PPL Park greeting when he came on the field. "I don't believe that. It's crazy. These are things that I love and never forget."
  • Antoine Hoppenot scored his second league goal, making his sixth consecutive appearance as a substitute. The rookie has also drawn two penalty kicks and scored the game-winning goal in Union's Open Cup quarterfinal win vs. D.C. United.
  • "He's a little electric coming off the bench, and today a game like today when there's a lot of tired legs out there, he has a lot of energy. It's fantastic to see," said Hackworth.
  • On Wednesday, Union missed out a chance to win a first trophy in club history, falling 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal at PPL Park. Jacob Peterson and Graham Zusi scored second-half goals to send SKC into the final against Seattle Sounders FC.
  • Here's the Union team: Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan; Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Gabriel Gomez 66); Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Lionard Pajoy (Antoine Hoppenot 64)

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact put an end to their three-game losing skid, coming back for a 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew on Sunday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 20 matches.

HIGHLIGHTS: Impact get back on track vs. Crew

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 64th minute. From a Nemanja Vukovic corner, Milovan Milosevic put a powerful header on goal that Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts got a hand to but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net.
  • But the Impact pulled level in the 78th minute, when Sanna Nyassi fed the ball to an overlapping Zarek Valentin, and the fullback coolly slotted the ball past Andy Gruenebaum from inside the area for his first MLS goal.
  • Then in the 89th minute, Impact midfielder Justin Mapp was bundled over in the box by the Crew's Chris Birchall, leaving Patrice Bernier to convert the spot kick for the match-winner.
  • Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made two changes to the team that went down to a 3-1 defeat by Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo. Lamar Neagle came into the team Sanna Nyassi in place of Davy Arnaud and Felipe.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin, Shavar Thomas, Hassoun Camara, Jeb Brovsky - Collen Warner, Patrice Bernier - Lamar Neagle (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 71), Justin Mapp (Justin Braun 90), Sanna Nyassi - Marco Di Vaio.

TEAM NEWS

Impact preview Union matchup

  • The Impact put an end to their losing streak after three games, which matched their longest of their first MLS season (also March 24-April 4). They have not won back-to-back games since April 28-May 5.
  • "This can be a bit of a turning point for us, or a mark in the season, a time when our backs were against the wall and we responded," Impact head coach Jesse Marsch said. "We absolutely responded."
  • For the first time in their inaugural MLS season, the Impact came back to win a game after conceding the opening goal. They had lost their first six games after allowing the first goal.
  • We showed guts towards the end. We played well enough to get a result and we showed a lot of character," said Davy Arnaud. "After three losses, we could have easily folded up again after allowing the first goal, but we were able to push for the win."
  • Fullback Zarek Valentin scored his first professional goal to pull Impact level. "We asked Zarek and Jeb [Brovsky] to push a little higher in the second half to support the attack, which would put them in a shooting position instead of a cross, and that's exactly what happened on Zarek's goal," said Marsch.
  • Designated Player Marco Di Vaio was credited with an assist on the Valentin goal, his first since coming to MLS. Di Vaio was starting his third match.
  • "We felt like we were maybe forcing the final play a little too much," Marsch recalled. "I asked Marco to be more patient with his runs. As a team, we're still getting used to playing with him, the timing of plays. Second half, he adjusted really well."
  • Since May 19, when Marsch went to a lone striker and three midfielders in the center of the park, Patrice Bernier has scored four of his five goals and recorded every one of his five assists.
  • "It's going well, I can't complain," Bernier said. "Statistically, I think it's my best season yet as far as goals and assists go. I keep on working well. I try to push myself to stimulate the others, so that we can maintain our rhythm all season."