CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union captain Carlos Valdés didn’t know he was going to score in Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact. But he knew good things were going to happen.
“I felt before the game today could be a great game for me,” Valdés said. “I had a good feeling today.”
Union fans can only hope their captain has positive pregame premonitions like these more often.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 2, MTL 1
With the game tied and time dwindling down Saturday at PPL Park, Valdés netted his first goal of the season – and his second in MLS – to lift the Union to a thrilling 2-1 victory.
The center back’s stoppage-time goal came after Sheanon Williams’ long throw in was headed down in the box and Valdés slotted home a tough-angle shot past Montreal ’keeper Donovan Ricketts.
“I want to say my goal was a blessing from god,” said Valdés, noting that the few goals he’s scored in his career have always come in victories. “Nobody expects a goal in the last minutes but I’m very proud and very, very happy for this opportunity.”
Perhaps the most unlikely part of the goal was that it came just minutes after Montreal tied the game at 1-1 on a Keon Daniel own goal.
But instead of feeling deflated and settling for one point – which would have certainly been a disappointing result after they took a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute – the Union made sure to push hard for their third straight league victory.
“The character and strength of these guys, they are amazing and I can’t say enough,” interim manager John Hackworth said. “Even the guys on the bench, they were saying we’re going to win this game [after Montreal's goal]. I think that is something pretty special on this team right now.”
It also helped that Williams, whose made a habit of providing instant offense with his powerful throws for Philly, picked up the ball on the sideline with the outcome of the game hanging in the balance.
“I remember last week I tried to do a short one and kind of messed it up,” Williams said. “This time I thought I might as well hoof it into the box and Carlos got a great bounce in the box and he put it away like he normally does.
“Any time a defender scores, you have to be happy for him. We don’t get many opportunities, so when we get a chance, we have to bury it.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.