Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union
2017 MLS Regular Season
Stade Saputo – Montreal, Quebec
Wednesday, July 19 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE (USA) | TVA Sports (CAN)
Both the Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact could really use three points out of this one. Only one can take that prize, though, and a split would not do much for either side as both try to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Union sit eighth in the East, five points back of sixth-place Columbus, going into Wednesday's match at Stade Saputo. The Impact are ninth, two points back of Philadelphia but with a game in hand.
And with both sides dealing with key international absences as a result of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, this will once again be a test of depth.
Is the glass half full or half empty? The Impact have lost only twice in their last seven games, after all. Then again, they've won just one of their last five – and that against D.C. United, the East's bottom team. Throw in a 3-2 aggregate loss to Toronto in the Canadian Championship finals last month, and that's a rough early summer.
Montreal clearly miss injured playmaker Ignacio Piatti, who continues to sit with a groin injury, and midfielder Patrice Bernier, on Gold Cup duty with Canada's suddenly-resurgent national team. Without those two in the middle of the park, the Impact are far less dangerous in both directions.
And if the Union get after them early – as Houston did two weeks ago in a 3-1 Dynamo victory before the Gold Cup break – Montreal could find themselves nearer to the brink of a lost season.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: D Daniel Lovitz, M Ballou Tabla, M Hernan Bernardello
- International Duty: M Patrice Bernier (Canada), GK Maxime Crepeau (Canada), F Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Canada)
- Injury Report: OUT – D Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery), M Ignacio Piatti (groin injury), D Victor Cabrera (undisclosed injury); D Daniel Lovitz (knee injury), M Louis Beland-Goyette (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Evan Bush – Hassoun Camara, Kyle Fisher, Laurent Ciman, Chris Duvall – Marco Donadel, Hernan Bernadello – Dominic Oduro, Blerim Dzemaili, Ballou Tabla – Matteo Mancosu
Notes: Though the team as a whole is looking for better results, Swiss international midfielder Blerim Dzemaili has been a smash hit through his first seven MLS games. Though he was held off the scoresheet in the Impact's loss at Houston, he already has 3 goals and 4 assists through 626 MLS minutes and two games with one goal and one assist.
Remember the end of April, when the Union were 0-4-4 and everyone was using the word "when" in conjunction with the possibility of coach Jim Curtin getting fired? Seems like forever ago, doesn't it?
Curtin's side still face a fight to get into the postseason, but after that woeful start the Union have been a more than respectable 6-3-3 – and they've found a way to scrap out results when the run of play is against them, as evidenced in their 1-1 away draw to Sporting Kansas City on July 6, their last match before the break.
Even with Montreal's key absences, the Impact can still generate opportunities – especially at home – so the Union will need another big performance from John McCarthy, who was nails in goal against Sporting with six saves in relief of Jamaican international Andre Blake.
Alhough US international Alejandro Bedoya has been released from Gold Cup duty, he is unlikely to be available for this contest as his wife Beatrice is expecting the couple's second child in the coming days.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: M Alejandro Bedoya
- International Duty: M Chris Pontius (USA), GK Andre Blake (Jamaica)
- Injury Report: OUT – M Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery); QUESTIONABLE – F Fabian Herbers (right adductor partial avulsion), M Warren Creavalle (right hamstring strain), D Jack Elliott (left tibia contusion); M Brian Carroll (lumbar disc herniation), D Riche Marquez (knee tendinitis)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): John McCarthy – Raymon Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Oguchi Onyewu, Giliano Wijnaldum – Derrick Jones, Haris Medunjanin – Ilsinho, Roland Alberg, Fafa Picault – CJ Sapong
Notes: Philadelphia's CJ Sapong matched his career high for goals in a single season when he scored No. 9 on the year on July 2. He is now looking to set a new personal best and is also two assists away from matching his single-season best of five, set during his 2011 rookie campaign.
- Overall: Montreal 5 wins (25 goals) … Philadelphia 3 wins (18 goals) … Ties 6
- At Montreal: Montreal 5 wins (16 goals) … Philadelphia 1 win (7 goals) … Ties 1
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik