Match recap: Dominant second half from Union not enough to bypass Impact at Stade Saputo

Union hold edge on stat sheet, Martins goal deems Impact winner

 

A spirited second half gave Montreal fits, but the Philadelphia Union were unable to shake off a first half goal from the Impact, who secured a 1-0 win, its first victory of the Major League Soccer season.

The Union once again had a plethora of chances, but it was a clear chance in the 15th minute of play for Montreal that put the listless Impact up one for good. A blistering shot on a slick surface from Montreal’s Patrice Bernier was initially saved by MacMath, but the rebound was put home by midfielder Felipe Martins.

The goal was Martins’ first of the season.

“It’s frustrating because we only gave them a couple of opportunities in that first half and they capitalized on one of them,” said Union manager John Hackworth, postgame. “And then we do a lot of good things but don’t capitalize in the most important moments of the game. Now we walk away frustrated and lose a game like that 1-0.”

The stat sheets again portray the Union holding edge in almost every metric. Shots, attempts at goal, passing accuracy, possession and more all in the Union’s favor dominantly conveyed in a second half in which the Union kept goalkeeper Troy Perkins on his toes. In all, Perkins was forced to make five saves on the day, but the chances in and around his 18-yard-box made for some wild scrambles.

“I hate to keep saying it, but it’s a process, you know?” said defender Amobi Okugo. “We are still trying to get the chemistry right and once those wins start to come and start building the confidence and the team chemistry we are going to roll. It’s about sticking to the basics now and the coaches’ gameplan and philosophy it’s going to start working. We have to clean up other aspects of our game, you know, and play pretty attractive soccer. This is MLS, it’s no La Liga or the Bundesliga or the EPL, every game is a battle in MLS and we need to be ready for that every game.”

The Union will hope to get back on the right foot in seven days’ time when they travel to Seattle for a meeting with the mighty Sounders (10 p.m., The Comcast Network) who have been on a tear after – much like the Union – started off their first few matches a bit rough. It’s a trip that a positive performance can do a lot for the collective psyche of a team eager to be the class of MLS’ Eastern Conference. In addition, the Union would love a positive result as that match precedes a return to PPL Park to host rival D.C. United at PPL Park (4 p.m., purchase tickets).  

“We have to start a good run of form, we have to stop the bleeding, said Union defender Amobi Okugo. “I feel like if we can turn it around and get a good result against Seattle it will give our team a ton of confidence.”

What should the Union do to ensure a good result in Seattle? Leave a comment below.

Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com