The Philadelphia Union welcomes CF Montreal to Subaru Park on Saturday aiming to build some momentum following their “biggest win of the year” in their last match.
The Union entered Wednesday’s clash with New York City FC on the back of defeats to the New England Revolution and Club America in MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League, respectively, but picked up a 1-0 win thanks to Alejandro Bedoya’s goal.
Having previously been looking over their shoulder, the reigning supporters’ shield winners now have a seven-point gap on the chasing pack in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
With another big match against Montreal up next, Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin has talked up the importance of his side’s midweek victory.
“That was our biggest win of the year. Those three points could be the difference between being out of the playoffs, finishing fourth or hosting a playoff game – it’s going to be that crazy,” Curtin said. “Obviously, you see the New England Revolution running away with it so there is separation, but the rest, whether it’s second place or 11th place, is going be a real scrap or every point.”
Highlighting Curtin’s point, opponents Montreal are down in seventh but just four points behind the Union and five points adrift of second-placed Nashville SC.
The Canadian side followed up a 2-1 win against New York Red Bulls with a stalemate at draw specialists FC Cincinnati, but that can perhaps be considered a positive point as they were reduced to 10 men and were late arriving due to a plane delay.
“We lacked energy and freshness in the last match, but that was to be expected,” Nancy said. “We wanted to control play but our decision making in the final third wasn’t perfect. We had chances but didn’t shoot enough.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Philadelphia Union – Alejandro Bedoya
Veteran skipper Bedoya chose the perfect time to score his first goal of the season and help the Union to all three points against New York City in what was his 19th appearance of 2021. A clearly frustrated Bedoya let out a roar of relief when heading home Kai Wagner’s cross, ending his longest run without a goal in his MLS career at 25 matches.
CF Montreal – Sebastian Breza
Breza made three saves to help his side retain a point against Cincinnati, keeping a first MLS clean sheet in the process. Montreal has struggled when it has come to keep out opponents this term, but Breza will take a lot of confidence from his display in midweek on his third appearance for the club.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Union won both matches against Montreal last season, the first time they have recorded back-to-back wins in the series. The Union have won four of their last six against Montreal (L2) after winning three of the first 16 meetings (D6 L7).
– Philadelphia is unbeaten in eight straight home matches (W6 D2) after a 1-0 win over New York City on Wednesday.
– Curtin’s side has won 15 regular-season home matches since the start of last season, more than any other team in the league.
– Montreal’s scoreless draw at Cincinnati on Wednesday extended its run of games decided by one goal or fewer to 15 (W5 D4 L6). The last team with a longer streak of games decided by one or fewer was San Jose, which played 17 straight from September 2013 to May 2014.
– Montreal failed to record a shot on target in its scoreless draw with Cincinnati. It was the fifth time in club history that Montreal had failed to hit the target in a match and the first in which it avoided defeat.