Union seek first win, goal on the road vs Impact

The Philadelphia Union would like nothing more than to claim their first road win of the season. To do that requires another first: scoring on the road.

Philadelphia’s struggling offense will try to do just that when it caps a three-game road stretch against the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium.

The Union (2-5-2) dropped their second straight on Wednesday against Columbus, shut out for a second consecutive match and for the fourth time in their past five games. They’re also winless in their last 16 MLS road games.

“We need to get a win by any means necessary, that is as simple as I can put it. That’s it,” defender Raymon Gaddis told reporters after Wednesday’s game.

Offense has been dry since the season started and is currently languishing in last place in MLS with just six goals. Three of those were scored in one game. Two belong to leading goal-scorer C.J. Sapong, but Philadelphia might be stuck without him against Montreal. Sapong, who has played all but five minutes so far this season, took some hard hits in the second half against Columbus.

“It’s not one player at this time. It’s everyone. We all can do a better job,” coach Jim Curtin told reporters after Wednesday’s loss. “We can all stick together as tough as it is right now after a tough loss on the road. The good news is we have an opportunity to turn it around (on Saturday) against Montreal and get back on track.”

For the Impact, the struggle has mostly been in their own end, allowing an MLS-high 24 goals. There has been improvement of late, though, on that front, with just three goals conceded in the past two games.

After a big win over New England last weekend, Montreal (3-7-0) fell 1-0 to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. The Impact held the Fire off the board until the 88th minute when Kevin Ellis‘ shot deflected off midfielder Samuel Piette into the net, leaving a sour taste after an otherwise strong performance.

“The game was within our reach and we had the opportunity to win it on numerous occasions,” defender Rod Fanni told the team website. “At the end, we’re leaving with a loss. We’re frustrated, me especially, because we know we didn’t give them many chances and we worked hard. At the end of the game, we gave the ball away and it cost us. We’re disappointed, everyone gave a big effort today.”

Montreal will be hoping the comforts of home will bring its offense back to life against Philadelphia. The club is averaging 2.7 goals on its own pitch, compared with 0.9 per game as the visitor. And while a quick turnaround with travel won’t be easy, the Impact are confident after what they showed in Chicago.

“That’s the beauty of football,” Piette said. “We have opportunities to bounce back quickly. We have a game this weekend. It’s a good chance for us to turn this around and offer a good performance. If we play like we played today and last week, we’ll be successful.”