Impact-Union Preview

AP - Sports

After missing out on a chance to try to gain the franchise's first trophy, the Philadelphia Union must get refocused for a quick turnaround against one of the league's worst road teams.

The Union can record a third straight MLS victory Saturday night when they host the expansion Montreal Impact.

There is still hope for both these teams to make the playoffs even though Montreal (6-11-3) is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points and Philadelphia (5-9-2) is ninth with 17. The top five reach the postseason.

The Union, however, will have to recover from Wednesday's 2-0 home defeat to Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals in a testy contest that featured 38 fouls and six cards.

"This is a great game for us to learn from," coach John Hackworth said. "There are a lot of things that we can use from this game to go forward. When you dissect this kind of game, and you look at it, you can get better from the mistakes we made. And that's what we'll do. It's terribly disappointing, but this is one of those very teachable moments."

Philadelphia's attack looked vastly different from the one that produced five goals over its previous two games. The Union have also outscored opponents 7-0 in their last two MLS home games.

"I feel like we need to be more aggressive when we play," midfielder Freddy Adu said. "We move the ball well but we need to be more aggressive in going forward and not be shy to shoot the ball as well."

Montreal brings the East's worst road mark at 1-8-1 to PPL Park as these teams meet for the first time. The Impact have a much worse defense, conceding 1.8 goals per game for the league's second-worst ratio.

Midfielder Justin Mapp will return to Philadelphia for the first time since he was selected by Montreal in the expansion draft. Mapp joined the Union in the middle of their 2010 expansion season.

"I enjoyed my time there, about a year and a half, met some good friends, a lot who are still on the team and everything," Mapp said. "When I was there, they were in a similar position to us being an expansion team."

The Impact ended a three-game slide Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Columbus. Goals from Zarek Valentin and Patrice Bernier gave them their first come-from-behind win.

Marco Di Vaio, a former star in Italy's Serie A, played the full 90 minutes for the first time in four appearances with the Impact and recorded his first assist.

Another star from Italy, Alessandro Nesta, will not make the trip after he officially signed with Montreal on Thursday.

The Impact will get two suspended midfielders back in Felipe and captain Davy Arnaud, who has drawn 52 fouls to lead the league. Forward Sanna Nyassi, however, is out due to yellow card accumulation.

This will be a homecoming for Valentin, who hails from nearby Lancaster.

View Comments (0)