CHESTER, Pa. — The Montreal Impact may be getting hot at just the right time. The Philadelphia Union may have just seen their already-tenuous playoff hopes slip away.
In a game with major postseason implications, the Impact beat the Union on the road for the first time ever Saturday while passing them in the standings and into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
“This stage for us, with these teams that are below the red zone, it’s survival mode,” midfielder Patrice Bernier said after Montreal’s 3-0 victory. “We’re all close to each other in terms of points. … This was a very important win.”
The Impact, five points out of the sixth and final playoff spot, still have some work to do to sneak into the postseason. But Saturday’s result marked their second win in a row before they return to Montreal for a make-or-break four-game homestand.
“Look, it’s two good performances,” Impact coach Mauro Biello said “We’re not where we want to be yet. Obviously there’s still work to be done and we have important games now at home. We have to be ready for all these games. But I think the confidence is growing, especially after a big win like tonight.”
The Impact (8-8-6) certainly put in a solid road performance Saturday, almost lulling the Union to sleep before erupting for three goals in the final 21 minutes to pick up their first two-game winning streak of the season.
The visiting locker room after the game was filled with laughter and screams, indicative of a team that’s perhaps coming together.
“This is the perfect time to get going,” Bernier said. “We know we have a few home games and it’s vital for us to be peaking at the right time.”
The Union (8-11-5) could have felt similarly good about themselves if they followed last week’s 3-1 drubbing of FC Dallas with another victory. But instead, they saw a four-game home winning streak end in crushing fashion, putting only two shots on target and failing to generate any kind of momentum on the night.
Now in 10th place in the East in points per game, the Union play four of their next five on the road, where they’re a woeful 1-7-3 on the season.
“Very disappointed,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya told MLSsoccer.com. “This is a definitely a missed opportunity for our playoff hopes. We’ve just got to keep pushing and try to get some results away, like we haven’t been able to get the whole season.”