Ilsinho made his first regular season start since the opening match of the MLS Is Back Tournament group stage and set up both Union goals as Philly remained undefeated at Subaru Park in 2020.
Jack Elliott, another goalscoring substitute from Wednesday’s match against FC Cincinnati, started for the first time since September 2.
As a light rain sprinkled the teams, Ilsinho nearly created a stir before the first minute had gone by. Dancing into the box from the right, he picked out Aaronson in the center and the homegrown’s first-time shot forced Clement Diop down to his left.
Following that breathless start, the match grew tighter as the wet field made technical play difficult. Montreal tested Andre Blake with sighters — Rudy Camacho’s from just outside the box was by far the closest of the bunch — and the Union goal responded by calming watching each drive flash past his goalframe.
Then Ilsinho decided it was time for some action. Taking the ball from Olivier Mbaizo on the right touchline, he slipped his man with ease and picked out Monteiro knifing into the box unchecked as Luis Binks stepped to Ale Bedoya’s wonderful run from deep.
Monteiro placed the ball low and hard, and Diop let it through.
As the second half began, Warren Creavalle was replaced by Sergio Santos as Jim Curtin looked to create space in midfield with a deep threat.
The first threat, however, came from former Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Victor Wanyama. With a free look at goal from the top left of the box, he tested Blake’s reflexes and discovered they were up to the task. The Jamaican flies through the air and lifted the ball over the goal.
Philly replied with a spectacular counterattack that doubled the lead. Aaronson took off up the left before pausing so Ilsinho could run past him. A perfectly timed pass from Aaronson meant Ilsinho was through, and he centered for Santos to tap in with ease.
Amar Sejdic put the Impact back on the long-distance train with a look from deep but Blake was once again untroubled.
However, the 34th overall pick in the 2019 SuperDraft got another look in the 65th minute and delivered. Elliott and Mark McKenzie were pinned deep as Sejdic rounded Santos and found space in the center. A laser through the defense found the far corner and cut the lead in half.
But Thierry Henry did not have the horses to call on to mount a final push. Romell Quioto’s dangerous run in behind in the 86th was the closest the visitors came to evening the scoreline but even then Blake threw up his palm and beat the chance away.
In the end, Jim Curtin had pushed the right buttons once more. His team now has 34 points and is only three back of Toronto FC for the Supporters’ Shield lead heading into the home stretch of the 2020 MLS season. Every point counts with home playoff games on the line in November.
Philly is back in action on October 14th when they travel to DC United for a midweek showdown at 8:00 p.m. ET on PHL17