Keeping the lid on Montreal is collective mindset of Union for Saturday's match
Philadelphia's #playoffpush goes through Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m., Comcast SportsNet), which is where the Impact defeated the Union 5-3 back in May.
No doubt there will be a renewed sense of urgency from a Montreal team that spent much of the season on top of the Eastern Conference.
"I think they're a team that has a ton of experience," manager John Hackworth told reporters this week. "Their whole roster is pretty deep. When we played up there in the first game I thought they had one of their best performances of the year. But I think when we played them here we were able to do a lot of things to counter what they do well. I think it leads into this next game that it's going to be interesting for both of us."
The Union drew 0-0 with the Impact in last month's return trip to PPL Park.
This time around, they'll face a Montreal side that's hasn't scored a single goal in October. You'd have to go all the way back to Sept. 8 to find the last victory for the Impact, a 4-2 result against New England.
"The advantage for them is that they're at home, and that's a good advantage," Hackworth continued. "But it also puts a little more pressure on them and we can come out and maybe be a little more conservative and while they're pushing forward maybe that opens up some opportunities for us."
"For us, we know where are right now. We have to go to Montreal and we feel like we have to get points. There's no other alternative for us right now."
Montreal did not travel a full strength squad to Los Angeles and will return a number of rested players to the field on Saturday.
Starting center backs Matteo Ferrari and Alessandro Nesta were both absent, in addition to regulars Justin Mapp, Patrice Bernier, and Davy Arnaud.
"Either way it's going to be a playoff game (atmosphere), as many of these games have been," said Hackworth. "The only difference is that there's no 'next game' after this really, for either one of us. There are scenarios that would knock us out of the playoffs if we lost and other results go right, and they're in the same boat. For them in particular, they were a team that was at the top of the standings and everyone's been talking about them as an MLS Cup contender all year long. I don't think many people have talked about us that way but now we could be in the same exact boat."
What are your thoughts on this Montreal team? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org