Barnetta free kick

Preview: Philadelphia clashes with Montreal for the third and final time in 2016

Philadelphia Union are back in action this Saturday when they return to Talen Energy Stadium to take on Eastern Conference foe Montreal Impact. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on The Comcast Network. A victory would tie a franchise record for wins in a season with 12. 

This will be the third and final meeting between the two clubs this season, but the first match-up in Chester. Philadelphia drew with Montreal 1-1 in the first meeting north of the border on May 14. In the most recent clash, the Impact finished with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Union. Montreal leads the all-time series 5-3-4. This contest will serve as a pivotal match for both clubs in their playoff push as each team remains above the red line. Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin spoke at his weekly press conference about the importance of a win for the playoff push.

“For me, it’s no secret: You don’t want to just get in at the six or five spot because you put almost nine or ten months of work together to have, all the sudden, get thrown out there on a Wednesday and it can be over in a second on the road,” Curtin said. “That’s not what we want to work towards. Again, I think we have the quality in our team, and the belief in our team, that we need to push for those top spots because the value of a bye is incredible in our league.”

Philadelphia enters the match with a record of 11-10-7 and 40 points, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. The club is coming off a 3-0 road loss to Chicago Fire on Saturday. This was the club’s first road loss since July 23. Andre Blake and Alejandro Bedoya were not present in the match. Both players were called in for World Cup qualifying duties by their respective countries. Chris Pontius will be the man to watch for Philadelphia. Pontius is the team-leader in goals with 10, just two shy of tying a career-high set in 2012. He is also an assist away from setting a new career-high with six.

Montreal finds themselves just above the red line in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-8-10 and 37 points. The Impact are coming off a 4-1 mid-week loss at home to Orlando City SC.  The Union will have to keep a watchful eye on Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti who has started in 25 matches for the Impact this season. Piatti leads the club with 14 goals and four game-winning goals. Piatti has done a lot of his damage on the road with nine goals away from Montreal.

Saturday is the only home match in the month of September for Philadelphia. The club will begin a three-week road trip where they will travel to Portland, Toronto and New Jersey. The Union will have traveled 6,947 miles round trip when it is all said and done.

 


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