Match preview: Union out to keep lid on slow-boiling Eastern Conference foe Montreal
Philadelphia Union at Montreal Impact
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Where: Stade Saputo, Montreal Canada
TV: Comcast SportsNet with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno
Radio: None; Online: Watch streaming video via MLS Live
Game notes and other information: Click here
Two matches, six points, one potential playoff spot.
Those are the vital numbers for the Philadelphia Union, who are aiming to secure their second consecutive playoff berth in the club’s four-year history.
The Union (12-10-10) will play their second-to-last regular season match against the Montreal Impact (13-12-7) Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. The last match will come against Sporting Kansas City Oct. 26 at PPL Park.
As of now, the Union (46 points) are in sixth place and out of the playoff picture. Montreal also has 46 points but remain ahead of the Union because of tiebreakers.
While there are so many playoff scenarios, the Union can help themselves most by simply winning. Get three points at Montreal and their chances improve that much more heading into the regular season finale.
“It's tight and it's crazy,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “The feeling within our locker room is pretty confident. If we go take care of business our next two games, we have a great chance to be in the playoffs. If we don't do it, then that is on us. We are in a good position because we are in the fight. So are a lot of other teams. There are all kinds of scenarios out there right now, but we can't control what other teams are doing, we just have to control ourselves.”
Montreal lost 1-0 against the LA Galaxy Wednesday night at The Home Depot Center. So it will be a short turnaround.
At this stage of the season, it’s about winning. Whether you’ve had one day off or two weeks off, three points are up for grabs.
The Union are coming off a gritty 1-1 draw at D.C. United.
“We feel like we can play better, and that is what we have to do in Montreal,” Hackworth said. “Whatever else happens in the league happens. But if we do what we are supposed to, then we still have to fight for that last game against Sporting Kansas City here.”
Philadelphia plans on competing just like it has all season. It has proven to be a very resilient club.
“We are certainly a team that likes to have a little edge to us, a little chip on our shoulder,” Hackworth said. “(The club) likes to read things about how we are not going to be successful. That fires these guys up. When you tell them they can't do something, they certainly try to rise up.”
Now is the time to rise up with just two regular season matches remaining and a coveted playoff berth waiting.
“We know where we are right now,” Hackworth said. “We have to go up to Montreal and we have to get points. There is no other alternative for us."
What should the Union do Saturday to ensure success? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org