Philadelphia and Montreal have only played against each other twice, so this will be the shortest “Series History” ever posted on Philadelphiaunion.com.
Two of the youngest franchises in the league, the Impact and Union didn’t meet on the field until July of last year. Montreal’s history dates back to 1992, but the club played at the NASL level for nearly 20 years before joining Major League Soccer.
The season series was split in 2012: one win for each side. Montreal was one of the few Eastern Conference teams that the Union only played twice in 2012, but there are three matchups on the calendar this year.
Despite the lack of history, last year’s meetings weren’t without storylines and entertainment. Philadelphia and Montreal will be separated by just a few points in the standings when they meet in Quebec on Saturday (7:00 p.m., The Comcast Network).
1. July 14, 2012 - Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1 (PPL Park)
Goals: Pajoy 82’, Daniel 89’ (own goal), Valdes 90+’
Philadelphia was on fire coming into this one.
Just five games into John Hackworth’s tenure, the team had won three of the last four, scoring 10 goals in the process.
Montreal had the better of the chances in the first half, with Felipe heading off the crossbar just minutes after Zac MacMath’s stop on a tight-angle Marco Di Vaio shot.
Philadelphia’s first great opportunity came in the 55th minute, but goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts did extremely well to keep the ball out after Jack McInerney’s header deflected off Hassoun Camara’s hand en route to the far post.
The drama started in minute 82, when Lionard Pajoy broke the deadlock. Antoine Hoppenot muscled his way to the endline and flicked the ball at Ricketts on the near post. The initial save was made, but Pajoy was on the doorstep to roof the follow-up into the net.
Montreal looked to have earned a point when Patrice Bernier’s corner kick went in off Keon Daniel in the 89th minute. It was a busted play with MacMath caught behind two of his teammates.
But defender Carlos Valdes sealed the victory in stunning fashion. The center back challenged on a Sheanon Williams long-throw just into stoppage time. The ball took an initial deflection, then fell to his feet for a point-blank shot. Valdes made no mistake and beat Ricketts to earn the Union a third straight win.
2. August 4, 2012 – Montreal 2, Philadelphia 0 (Stade Saputo)
Goals: Wenger 44’, Felipe 78’
The Union and Impact met just three weeks later at Stade Saputo in Montreal.
Philadelphia had recently lost in New York, but rebounded at home with a win over New England. Montreal was fresh off a 3-1 home win against the Red Bulls.
Pajoy had the best first half chance for the Union, but was denied by the post after splitting center backs Alessandro Nesta and Nelson Rivas following a great forward run by Valdes.
Jack McInerney had another chance just minutes later, but it was Ricketts replicating his July form, able to keep the free header out of his net.
Montreal’s luck and resistance paid off in the 44th minute, when Andrew Wenger got the opener on a short-corner. Justin Mapp had set up Bernier, who hit a first time cross into the box. The rookie was first to the ball and found the upper 90 with his flick.
The most memorable event from this game was Rivas’ headbutt on Hoppenot, which resulted in dual red cards in the 69th minute. The Colombian defender was sent off for the infraction, while McInerney was ejected for shoving Rivas to the ground after the incident. Hoppenot fractured his nose and Rivas received a multi-game ban.
Take a look for yourself: Rivas’ headbutt on Hoppenot
Playing 10v10 for the final 20 minutes, Philadelphia couldn’t equalize. Felipe scored a brilliant goal in the 78th minute and Montreal earned the 2-0 win at home.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at email@example.com