Three ways to separate the Union

Philadelphia will be without Auston Trusty and Marco Fabian

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Good? OK. The Impact, currently on a sequence of three consecutive clean sheets, hasn’t lost in Philly since 2014, five games during which Montreal has won twice – both coming in the last two games actually – and drawn three times. Also, homegrown centre-back and pillar of the Union’s backline, Auston Trusty, will be suspended for the Impact’s visit, this Saturday at 1pm at Talen Energy Stadium (TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5, TSN 690), while Mexican Designated Player Marco Fabian will be out with an injury, two absences that will certainly cause head coach Jim Curtin some headaches.

Now, the bad. Nacho Piatti remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Orlando, while Omar Browne, the Impact’s newest recruit, won’t have all the necessary paperwork in time for the trip to Pennsylvania. Will things go as planned for Montreal in the land of cheesesteaks? Here are the three things to look for in the City of Brotherly Love.

  1. Dribble in midfield

The Union, as mentioned earlier, will be without attacking midfielder Fabian, out with an injury. Still, the home team will be able to count on Haris Medunjanin, who’s completed almost 100 more passes than any of his other teammates, and young Brenden Aaronson, 18 years old, recently added to the mix in midfield. Defensively, you wouldn’t describe the pair as stingy. Only one tackle out of two is successful, and they’ve been dribbled past 21 times in seven games. Thankfully for them, Alejandro Bedoya continues his strong defensive work, but watch out for Saphir Taïder or even Zakaria Diallo, who may be able to do some damage when in possession.

  1. Beware of speed up front

Both of Philadelphia’s strikers are fast, real fast. Fafa Picault and David Accam are quick to occupy spaces left open on the flanks and love playing in the corridor between the centre-back and the full-back on each side. And since the Union often scores on quick transitions, the Impact will need to keep an eye out on these two sprinters even when the away team is in possession.

  1. Take advantage of a young defense

Homegrown defender Auston Trusty has become irreplaceable in the Union’s XI. Since the beginning of last season, he’s played every single one of his team’s games. Saturday, he’ll be suspended. His absence will most probably make itself felt in this young defensive unit: the other centre-back, Jack Elliott, is 23 years old, Mark McKenzie, who replaced Trusty, is 20, and left full-back Kai Wagner is 22. Automatisms in central defense won’t be on point and a lack of experience may make itself felt, especially if the Impact presses and attacks the backline.