By BRYAN ROBISON
One pattern had to end on Saturday night, as the Montreal Impact welcomed fellow Eastern Conference foe Philadelphia Union to Saputo Stadium for the first time. The Impact, winners of their last three home matches, faced off against the Union, winners of three of their last four. The Canadian club was able to successfully continue defending their home turf, taking out Philadelphia 2-0 in a physical match that saw both teams fall to ten men during the match.
After stunning the New York Red Bulls last Saturday, Montreal continued their dominance inside their home stadium, improving their record to 6-2 inside Saputo Stadium.
The match began with the Union taking charge, as they held possession for much of the first half. They nearly capitalized early with a Jack McInerney back heel in the 5th minute, but it was called offsides. Fifteen minutes later, Union defender Carlos Valdes made a full-field run into the Impact box, setting up Lionard Pajoy for a shot, but the Colombian forward knocked the ball off the post.
But just before the break, Impact rookie Andrew Wenger created another play to add to his strong first year campaign as he knocked in a header in the 43rd minute. The goal, Wenger's fourth on the year, was the MLS 2012 Superdraft first overall pick's first goal since June 16th, as he had been dealing with a hamstring injury for the last two months.
The second half saw more action, as Montreal looked to close the game out. The match got out of hand, though, as Nelson Rivas headbutted Union Forward Antoine Hoppenot after both fell to the ground in the 68th minute. Rivas sprung up and lunged forward, headbutting Hoppenot, and starting an immediate scuffle between the two clubs. Union forward Jack McInerney shoved Rivas to the ground in retatliation, causing the referee to show both a red card, and dropping both teams to ten men.
After the break in action, Montreal continued their solid play, finishing the match off with a goal of the week candidate by Felipe Martins in the 78th minute. The Brazilian scissor kicked a Hassoun Camara cross inside the box to put the Impact up 2-0 and put the game in hand.
With the win, the Impact now stand just five points out of the playoff chase, as Montreal will look to continue their play against teams alongside I-95, traveling to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution next Sunday. Meanwhile, Philadelphia will return home to take on the Chicago Fire.
Here are the match's highlights:
What did you think of the match? Think the referee made a mistake on McInerney's red card? See the Impact making the playoffs? See the Union making a serious playoff push?
Share your thoughts below.