Impact Defeats the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in Third Preseason Game
ST PETERSBURG, Florida -The Montreal Impact continued its preseason with a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union, Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, as part of the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational. Newcomer Maximiliano Urruti scored the game winner and goalkeeper Clément Diop earned the clean sheet.
"I'm satisfied for the players, who put in a big effort," said Montreal Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "It wasn't easy, and it was quite hot as well. Despite everything, the individual level of focus from each player regarding our game plan was very satisfying. The players respected the game plan, and it was important for us to repeat what we wanted to see."
Fluid passing in the first half
The Impact broke through in the 17th minute, when Matthieu Choinière recovered the ball and found Harry Novillo on the opposite side of the field, but his cross to Urruti was deflected by a Union defender.
The Bleu-blanc-noir opened the scoring in the 27th minute thanks to a goal from newcomer Maximiliano Urruti. The sequence started on the right flank, when French international Bacary Sagna received a pass from Micheal Azira before beating his opponent with a burst of speed and crossing for the Argentine, who scored on the volley with his right foot.
"Micheal was close to me, and the coach always tells us to destabilise the other team by playing quick, one-touch passes between each other, and that's what we did," said full-back Bacary Sagna. "I tried to a strong cross to the first post. We have a quality striker in Maxi, and he managed to flick the ball and score."
The Impact had broken through in the 17th minute, when Mathieu Choinière recovered the ball and found Harry Novillo on the opposite side of the field, but his cross to Urruti was deflected by a Union defender.
The Impact's forwards continued pressing, and in the 42nd minute, Azira found Urruti again on the right-hand side. The Argentine made his way to the touchline, but his cross was once again deflected by a Union defender for an Impact corner.
In the beginning of the second half, Designated Player Saphir Taïder recovered the ball in midfield and made his way towards goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, before being fouled just outside the box by Jack Elliott. Novillo stepped up to take the free-kick, but his effort was stopped by the wall.
Philadelphia had an opportunity to tie the game in the 55th minute, but defender Kai Wagner's shot hit the post on Diop's left.
Three minutes later, a nice passing play between three Union players allowed midfielder Brenden Aaronson to take a powerful shot from outside the box, but his effort went just wide.
"We're getting into the thick of things, because the team is closer and readier to start the season," said Harry Novillo. "We're satisfied. We managed a clean sheet. We're leaving with a victory and that's the best we can ask for to finish off this weekend."
Upcoming preseason games
In its final two preseason games, the Bleu-blanc-noir will face the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, February 20 at 7pm, and D.C. United on Saturday, February 23 at 7pm. Both games will be played at Al Lang Stadium and available live on impactmontreal.com.
The team will then kick off its regular season against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 2, at 10pm EST at Avaya Stadium (TVA Sports). The Impact will open its season at home, at Stade Saputo, on Saturday, April 13, at 1pm against the Columbus Crew SC.
MTL - GK-Clément Diop; D-Bacary Sagna (Zachary Brault-Guillard 86'), Víctor Cabrera, Zakaria Diallo, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Micheal Azira (Ken Krolicki 69'), Saphir Taïder (Shamit Shome 77'); F-Harry Novillo (David Choinière^ 82'), Maximiliano Urruti (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 73'), Mathieu Choinière (Clément Bayiha 90')
Subs not used - James Pantemis, Jonathan Sirois*, Rudy Camacho, Émile Legault^, Amar Sejdic^
*Montreal Impact Academy player
PHI - GK-Carlos Coronel; D-Ray Gaddis, Mark McKenzie, Aurélien Collin, Kai Wagner; M-Haris Medunjanin, Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya, Marco Fabian; F-CJ Sapong, Fafa Picault
MTL - Urruti (Sagna) 27'
PHI - Elliott 46'
PHI - Fontana 89'
PHI - Accam 90'
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