Philadelphia Union Battle to 2-2 Draw against Montreal Impact
It was everything a fan would want in a game; there were goals, cards, wet, wild weather, and sending offs. Yet, there was some inconsistent officiating that didn’t lead to any major scoring chance or goal, but affected how the game was play and ended. Under a constant, steady rain and high winds for most of the game, the Philadelphia Union battled to a 2-2 draw against the Montreal Impact. The hosts would get off to a fast start on a soggy PPL Park pitch, but eventually had to fight back to secure the equalizer.
From the start, the Union secured most of the possession and pace of the game as both teams tried to play in a downpour. They would strike first only eight minutes in on a rocket shot from Eric Ayuk. Christian Maidana sent a looping ball into the box to CJ Sapong who flicked the ball back to Ayuk. The shot navigated through the crowded box and got the Union fans on their feet early on.
After the goal, Ayuk celebrated his second MLS goal by entertaining the crowd with flips and using the field as his personal slip and slide. Philadelphia continued to press for a second goal, but weren’t able to take advantage of their other first half chances.
Yet, Montreal would find an equalizer 20 minutes after the Union took the lead. Ignacio Piatti beat Maurice Edu before finding space near the top of the box and fired on net past a diving Brian Sylvestre.
The Union were lucky not to be down a man after Maurice Edu tugged at his opponents shorts. It was determined that Richie Marquez was behind the play and Edu wasn’t the last defender and didn’t deny the Impact an obvious scoring opportunity. Thus, Edu was only giving a yellow card for his foul.
The score remained tied 1-1 as the teams headed into the break.
In the second half, both teams battled for possession and chances and each saw a man sent off. Patrice Bernier, who picked up a yellow card in the 22nd minute, was sent off in the 67th minute for taking down Vincent Nogueira near the center circle.
With the Union up a man, it appeared that the game’s momentum was on their site, but the game took a turn for the worse. Four minutes later former Union striker Jack McInerney showed his flair and accuracy as he got by Edu before beating Richie Marquez. His shot found the net and shocked those in the seats at PPL Park.
Yet, those shocked fans would quickly be back on their feet as the Union found life. Off a corner kick taken by Maidana, the ball fell to Fabinho outside the box. The left back fired a missile towards Evan Busch who could only get the ball to deflect off of him. Edu found the rebound and slotted the ball home to find the equalizer.
The drama was not over, however, as Ayuk, who found the game’s first goal, would be sent off for a second yellow card in the 77th minute and one minute after the Union equalized. Unlike his first card, the second was warranted as Ayuk went in dangerously for the ball.
“Ayuk’s first yellow card wasn’t a yellow card, but you have to play smarter when you are on a card,” Jim Curtin said during his post-game press conference.
For the remainder of the game, both teams played with 10 men and each had golden opportunities to find the game-winning goal. The Impact’s Piatti was served a ball on a golden platter, but fell down at the last second and couldn’t send the ball into the open net. As the ball found his foot, Sylvestre was drawn out towards the ball but it was out of his reach.
Moments later Zach Pfeffer had his own opportunity to find a late game-winner, but he was just off on his attempt. The Union looked to have found the sure game-winning goal when Sapong sent the ball into the net. However, he was ruled for being in an offside position and his goal scoring streak ended at four straight games.
All in all, it was a wild, wet, and thrilling matchup between Eastern Conference opponents. The Union will look back on this game wishing they could have secured three points, but also know Montreal almost took all three points. They next take the pitch on Tuesday, June 30th in US Open Cup play against DC United. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 pm.