Match recap: Dominant effort from Union amounts to point against East leaders Montreal
When a team stews all week over an injustice, sometimes the best thing to do is take out that frustration on the next opponent.
The Union took the sting from a tough loss against New England and funneled it into a dominant performance against league leaders Montreal Saturday night at PPL Park. Creating numerous chances, the club kept the Impact on their heels for much of the match.
Disappointing however, was the fact it amounted to a lone point as the Union battled to a scoreless 0-0 draw in an affair that saw Philadelphia edge Montreal in attempts on goal (12-4), shots on target (4-1) and corners (6-1).
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“Yeah it certainly was a little disappointing not to get the three points,” said Union manager John Hackworth, postgame. “We executed our game plan, got the chances and didn’t put them in the back of the net that happens. But overall we played a good game. Montreal is a very attack-oriented team and are a dangerous team. It’s disappointing [to not come away with three points] but you have to take it up with stride. “
The Union got things rolling as early as the fifth minute, as a counterattack in the box had to be slowed due to what originally looked to be a serious injury to midfielder-forward Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux did play the full match and later said the knock was a shot to the jaw as he attempted to crash the box on a ball played into traffic from midfielder Danny Cruz.
What was great about this match was that the Union exhibited a complete 90-minute effort en route to the point. Many times this season found a sluggish first half followed by a furious second stanza. Not the case in this one as the first place Impact chased the Union’s attack up and down the flanks for much of the night.
“In my opinion we had the better chances,” said defender Sheanon Williams. “We could have snuck that one away with them but we got to take what we can and move forward. We’ve got another game on Sunday, a long road trip and something that we need to get points out of.”
Much of the Union’s attack started out of the back on this night. A major catalyst for attempts on frame derived from the play of Fabinho, the Union’s crafty left back. Fabinho created space with his speed delivered a slew of perfect balls into the 18-yard-box. In the 77th minute, he provided perhaps the biggest chance for the Union to go ahead playing a driven ball into the box that just missed the run of forward Jack McInerney. The play froze Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins momentarily but both McInerney and an awaiting Conor Casey back post narrowly missed putting the Union up, 1-0.
I thought we created some really good chances in the first half and the second half,” said Hackworth. “The hardest thing to do in this sport is to score a goal. As long as we’re creating [good chances though] then I know they’re going to come. We did that in both halves. You know, they were really good defensively too. Got to give Montreal a lot of credit, Troy Perkins made a great save on Sebastien [Le Toux]. Defenders were throwing themselves in front of the goal and blocking stuff. So credit to them as well."
With the draw the Union continues a streak of not losing back-to-back matches this season, improving their mark to 4-0-4 after a loss. The confidence that comes from pulling points from the league leaders will be tested next Sunday when the club takes its final West Coast jaunt this season to take on San Jose (11 p.m., ESPN2). The Union remained locked in a playoff spot, but as the season comes to a dramatic conclusion in the Eastern Conference, it’s imperative the Union to put forth efforts like the one displayed under the lights at PPL Park Saturday night.
"This was a good warm up for San Jose," said Williams. "It's never easy going across the country and San Jose is a really good team. It was a good effort all around and we need to continue that."
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org