Recap: Late game drama for Union again in 2-1 victory over Impact
CHESTER, Pa. – In the clubs’ first ever matchup, the Philadelphia Union handed the Montreal Impact a dramatic 2-1 defeat in front of a sellout crowd at PPL Park behind an 82nd-minute goal by forward Lionard Pajoy and a stoppage time game-winner from Carlos Valdes.
Philadelphia and Montreal saved the best for last, grinding out 80+ minutes of scoreless soccer before Pajoy's strike, a Daniel own goal, and Valdes' winner brought the game to a thrilling conclusion.
It was a promising start for the Union, who entered the match on a two-game winning streak in league play, outscoring opponents 5-1 in that span. Less than two minutes in, Josue Martinez, getting his third start of the season, sent a pass to midfielder Freddy Adu. Adu blasted a lefty shot on goal, but Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was there to make a diving save.
The Impact did well to shut down the Union attack, which generated only one additional first-half shot on goal after Adu’s second-minute try.
Montreal nearly broke the deadlock midway through the first half, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath kept the away side off the scoreboard with a great save and a little luck. MacMath cut down the angle and made a big stop on Impact forward Marco Di Vaio in the 35th minute, and then got some help from the woodwork two minutes later when Felipe Martins' header bounced off the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal kick.
The Union threatened in the 79th minute, when Gabriel Farfan beat his defender on a nice move and put a shot on frame. Ricketts made the initial save and managed to come out and stop Pajoy's attempt on the rebound, keeping the game scoreless and seemingly headed for a nil-nil draw.
The two expansion teams produced plenty of drama in the waning moments, however, as all three goals were scored in the later stages of the match. Pajoy looked to have a winner in the 82nd minute, when a give and go between Antoine Hoppenot and Gabriel Gomez played Hoppenot into the box. The speedy striker put a ball into the area, where it took a few deflections and bounced to Lionard Pajoy, who buried the shot and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The mood changed quickly, however, when a corner kick from Montreal's Patrice Bernier in the 89th minute bounced off of Union midfielder Keon Daniel and into Philadelphia’s goal, tying the game 1-1 and appearing to end the Union’s chances of getting three points.
Just one minute into stoppage time, though, Philadelphia got the game-winner. Defender Sheanon Williams tossed a long throw-in into the Montreal area and the ball fell to Union captain Carlos Valdes, who sent a shot through the legs of Ricketts into the far netting.
Tonight's win against Montreal is the third straight MLS win for the Union, with two of those three victories coming on stoppage time game-winners. The Union (6-9-2, 20 points) are now just one point shy of the Impact (6-12-3, 21 points) for eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.
Philadelphia return to action on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., when they host Aston Villa for a midweek game at PPL Park. They'll resume league play next weekend, when they travel to New York to face the Red Bulls in a nationally televised Saturday matinee (2:30 p.m., ESPN).
WATCH: Match Highlights