After an unfortunate turn of events in Toronto, the Union picked up their first loss of the season. Regardless, they returned to Chester still in first place. Up next, the Boys in Blue looked to win the rematch against CF Montreal.
Harriel, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner
Bedoya, Martinez, Gazdag, Flach
Waterman, Camacho, Miller
Johnston, Kane, Wanyama, Lappalainen
First Half Summary
Although the Union spent a few early moments in Montreal's half, it was an overall quiet ten minutes of play. Montreal's first good chance at net came in that tenth minute, when they earned a free kick after a foul from Glesnes. Thankfully, the ball was kicked wide right of net, away from any danger.
The Union missed an extraordinary opportunity in the 13th minute. Leon Flach was wide open on the left side of the box, and he received the ball with options. Either take a shot at net, or send a close pass to Uhre. Unfortunately, Leon's cross was behind the running Mikael, and Montreal dodged a huge bullet there. Personally, that's one that Leon needs to shoot. As good as Flach can be defensively, his offensive limitations can be a bit frustrating.
Thankfully, Philly was still able to secure the first goal of the match in the 21st minute. Julian was taken out in the box, and he was elected to take the kick. Julian took a confident right-footed shot, which went away from the diving Breza. Carranza now has three goals this season, which is huge for a team that is currently struggling to score. If you compare Julian's tenure with Miami and his short time here in Philly, it's amazing how much production we are currently getting for such a limited price.
Unfortunately for the loud and proud fans of Chester, the remainder of the first half was fairly quiet. Even with two minutes of stoppage time added on, neither club could test the opposing keeper. With that, we entered intermission with a 1-0 Union lead.
Second Half Summary
The first notable activity in the second half came in the 55th minute when Captain Bedoya was shown a yellow card. Jose was chasing down a Montreal attacker, when Ale came into the picture with a leaping slide tackle. Bedoya' effort ended up taking out both players, but it initially appeared like just a hard foul. Regardless, the head official disagreed and was quick to show Ale the book.
The game then turned in Montreal's favor in the 59th minute. Johnston sent a deep pass to Quioto along the right side of the pitch, and Elliott did his best to obstruct his view into the box. Regardless, Quioto was able to find Kei Kamara surging toward Blake, and his accurate pass was enough for Kamara to thread it passed Andre. From watching the replay, Glesnes was initially in position to make a play, but a slight change in direction by Kamara was enough to get the space needed for the shot. Solid defense here, but better offensive production.
Jim then began to field his subs to help regain the lead. Just a few minutes after the goal, McGlynn and Burke replaced Leon and Carranza.
Once again, the goal in this half did not spark any offensive production from either team. Blake's job was fairly routine over the final 25 minutes, as he corralled any cross or ball that came his way. For Breza, his task was not much more difficult. The Union seemed to struggle within the final third. Even when something of positivity was building in Montreal's half, they were not able to piece together the finishing blow on any of their possessions. This felt like the same song and dance from past Union squads, which should give everyone an uneasy feeling entering the month of May. For those who are not yet aware, we play Nashville, LAFC, Orlando (Open Cup), Red Bulls, Miami, Portland, and New England. It will be a tough test, both because of opponent and travel, and the Union sitting in this offensive slump gives me concern.
Ultimately, Curtin brought on Paxten for Uhre, but it was really too late for any significance. The final whistle blew after four minutes of stoppage time, and the Union let three points slip through their fingers. Next up, Philly travels to Nashville for, what should be, a difficult road match. Doop!
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)