Miracle in Montreal: Impact 0-1 Union RECAP

When the Union travelled to Montreal to face the Impact at the Saputo Stadium, a stadium they are yet to win at, hopes of three points were slim. But even more so when Didier Drogba was set to make his MLS debut..however, as we have learned so often in this league, not everything is set in stone.

This game was always set to be a fierceEastern conference matchup, but with the return of Nogueira and a debut for international keeper and number one overall MLS SuperDraft pick Andre Blake, it was a game the Union could easily  have snatched something out of.

We predicted the formation and lineup almost entirely correctly so take full responsibility for what transcended…only kidding, but what did go down was something beautiful.

Montreal were able to control the tempo of the first half but never really established any chances. Andre Blake’s notable appearance was a little less exciting than anticipated..purely because he only had to make one save! The Union’s chances weren’t exactly in an abundance either with their only notable opportunity coming from C.J Sapong who couldn’t quite curl a shot in at the far post.

The teams went into the half as many expected, tied goalless. Montreal had 67% possession but the Union’s Defense was not to fall victim to some crafty moves by the Imact’s midfield. the back four looked solid, but if the Union were take more than a point out of this, they had to up the tempo.

And that they did. Barnetta played a great ball into the Union’s top scorer on the 57th minute but the ball bobbled past the keeper and the post, resulting in a goal kick. An early sign of pressure that simply had to carry on if the team were to win.

However two minutes later, it felt like a scene from The Lord Of The Rings…just as everything starts to go well, an army of elephants storms its way onto Pelenor fields..or in this case Drogba marching onto the pitch. Dilly Duka made way for the Champions League hero who was set to endure a 31 minute MLS debut.

Drogba made his presence known with two shots in his debut followed by two free kicks..but it wasn’t enough. I think Montreal expected The Union to throw all of their men back to try and prevent the Ivorian from scoring..a way of stopping the pressure the away side had created thus far..but the tactic failed.

With just 12 minutes remaining in the game, C.J Sapong looped a ball into the box to find youngster Eric Ayuk. Ayuk went for a volley but it was frenchman Sebastien Le Toux who picked it up and slotted it into the net to give the Union a 0-1 lead, a lead that would not change for the remainder of the game. Le Toux has found hot form as of late, finding his fourth goal in five games. This is the sort of flow we expected from the winger who struggled to find his flow at the start of the year. All those worries are long gone now though!

A very late attack from the Impact certainly had the Sons of Ben scared after what happened at Chicago, who else but former the Union midfielder Justin Mapp got himself into space and fired a shot from outside the area. Andre Blake maintained his composure to snatch the ball into his grasp and earn his first ever clean sheet in his first ever game!

The main stars of the game were without a doubt Barnetta and Sapong. The Union’s striker continued to be the teams biggest threat in front of the goal whilst the teams latest signing continues to settle in to the pace of the MLS and indeed flourish. He linked with the midfield way and his runs down the sideline were impressive. He played a big part in the Union’s win and deserves a lot of credit.

From here though, The Union will return to PPL Park to host the New England Revolution. From one game with a win unlikely to a game where the team are on the brink of doing something extraordinary. Another East Conference battle is certainly going to have some fireworks, but for the Union, they will be hoping that the fireworks will be celebratory ones after taking six points from two games!