The Philadelphia Union will aim to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings when they visit a CF Montreal team also in the thick of a crowded East playoff race.
The Union abandoned hopes of replicating their Supporters’ Shield-winning form of a season ago, but after slipping beneath the Eastern Conference playoff line, Philadelphia (12-7-9, 45 points) has scaled up to third after winning four of its last five and recording a draw in the other.
Kacper Przybylko has scored four goals in those five to bring his team-leading total to 10, including the opener in a 2-1 win at FC Cincinnati last weekend.
The victory eventually came through 18-year-old Paxten Aaronson’s second goal, despite Philadelphia missing seven players between international call-ups and Kai Wagner’s red-card suspension.
“I’m really proud with the all-hands-on-deck mentality of everybody, guys asked to play out of position, young guys stepping up and playing big minutes,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said.
Montreal (11-10-7, 40 points) is coming off a crucial 2-1 home victory over Atlanta United two weekends ago to move back into the seventh and final playoff spot in the East entering the weekend.
“One of the things about this group is we understand situations. It was important that we got our minds right,” midfielder Djordje Mihailovic said after the win. “We knew Atlanta was in good form. It was the same situation as Columbus where a win would give us breathing room and a loss would put us in a difficult spot.”
Romell Quioto has scored five goals in his past five matches, including both in the win over Atlanta to bring his team-leading total to eight.
That matches the Honduran striker’s total from a season ago, despite combatting earlier injuries and international commitments this season.
These sides drew 1-1 on Aug. 21 in Philadelphia, with Montreal nearly pulling off a narrow victory before Quinn Sullivan’s 87th-minute equalizer.
They both have six returning international call-ups to evaluate for use on the weekend.
Philadelphia’s Jose Andres Martinez seems the least likely to play, since Venezuela played its final match of the October window on Thursday night.
–Field Level Media