Montreal Impact equalize late to earn draw against Philadelphia Union
Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

On Saturday night, Philadelphia Union took on Montreal Impact in a possible preview of Major League Soccer Playoffs and shared the honors on the night with a 1-1 draw in front of 18,500 at Talen Energy Stadium.

The first 45 minutes featured a back and forth affair with neither team able to grab the leg up on each other.

One of Montreal’s best chance of the half came in the 8th minute when Ignacio Piatti hit a hard cross into the box. Patrice Bernier, wide open inside the six-yard box, looked nearly certain to score a goal but missed the easy goal opportunity.

Montreal forward Matteo Mancosu nearly put his team ahead in the 30th minute, but, as he has done all season, Union goalkeeper made a great play to deny the striker and Impact of the opening goal.

Tranquillo Barnetta opens the scoring in first half

However, after battling the entire half, Philadelphia would be the one to open up the scoring on the doorstep of halftime. In the 45th minute, Union midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta received a pass in the offensive half from Fabian Herbers. Barnetta turned the ball and foul space towards the middle of the field. From about 20 yards out on top of the box, Barnetta hit a curling shot past Impact goalkeeper Eric Kronberg for the 1-0 Union lead.

In the second half, Philadelphia had numerous opportunities to add the second goal. Herbers had a couple of quality opportunities to add a second Philadelphia goal in second half, but could not put the ball on frame.

Impact head coach Mauro Biello makes offensive subs to salvage match

Sensing possible points slipping away, Impact head coach Mauro Biello made a couple of key offensive substitutions. In the 61st minute, Bernier made way for the always dangerous Didier Drogba. To add to Drogba, Dominic Oduro came into the match in the 69th minute.

Both men added to Montreal’s already talented offensive attack. The Impact’s misfortunes changed for the better in the closing minutes of the half.

In the 88th minute, the Impact took a short corner and played the ball back into the box. The ball ricocheted off an Impact player in the box toward the back post. On the back post, Mancosu waited and headed the ball past a diving Blake to level the score at one.

After the late Montreal equalizer, referee Armando Villarreal blew the whistle not soon after as the score line still leveled at one.

Where do both teams go from here?

With the tie, Philadelphia will stay in fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference. Their next match will be a tough away fixture as the Union will have to travel to Providence Park to take on Portland Timbers on September 17th. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM EST.

The Impact, with the draw, stay in fifth place with one game in hand on the fourth place Union. Montreal will look to continue to build on this draw when they return to Stade Saputo to take on New England Revolution next Saturday.Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST.