MONTREAL – It ended ugly, but the Montreal Impact made a big statement with a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
Andrew Wenger headed in his fourth goal of the season off a set piece for the Impact’s fourth straight victory at home, and Felipe added a second to ensure Montreal remain in the race for a playoff spot.
Montreal now have 30 points and sit in sixth place in the East – just two points out of the fifth and final playoff spot – but the seventh-place Columbus Crew still have five games in hand on them. The Union, meanwhile, remain in ninth with 23 points.
Lionard Pajoy almost gave the Union an away lead in the 21st minute as center back Carlos Valdés embarked on a lengthy run down the middle. Valdés, once surrounded by the Montreal players, passed to Pajoy who beat defenders Nelson Rivas and Matteo Ferrari but hit the woodwork to Donovan Ricketts' right.
HIGHLIGHTS: MTL 2, PHI 0
The Union tried to add to the Impact’s set piece woes in the 28th minute when Jack McInerney headed a free kick coming from the right of the box. Ricketts, however, threw both his hands in the air and made an impressive reflex save.
Montreal got into some set play fun of their own in the 44th minute, when Justin Mapp played a short corner kick to Patrice Bernier outside the box. The No. 8 crossed for Wenger, who beat Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath with a header low to his right.
An energized Philadelphia team in the second half will rue their 48th-minute miss, as Pajoy, who had switched sides with Freddy Adu, found himself alone in the box after playing a one-two with Michael Lahoud but skied his attempt over the bar.
The game took a violent turn in the 68th minute when Rivas head-butted Antoine Hoppenot to the ground after the forward went in hard on him. McInerney came in to defend his teammate, and was ejected from the game as well.
With two fewer players and increased space, the rhythm of the game picked up, and it was Felipe who sealed the win for Montreal. Hassoun Camara’s cross from the right found the Brazilian, whose scissor-kick volley beat a helpless MacMath.
Both teams will be back in action at on Aug. 12, as Montreal travel to New England to battle the Revolution at Gillette Stadium, while the Union host the Chicago Fire at PPL Park.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Alessandro Nesta (MTL)||Veteran center back stymied any sort of Union attack and preserved the shutout for Montreal at home.|
|2||Felipe (MTL)||Brazilian playmaker was creating all over the field and his scissor volley was world class.|
|3||Sheanon Williams (PHI)||Solid on both offensive and defensive sides of the ball, one of league's best young fullbacks showed well again.|