Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Venue: Stade Saputo, Montréal, Que.
TV: Comcast SportsNet (J.P. Dellacamera and Alejandro Moreno)
MONTRÉAL - Is it really late May? You wouldn't know here at Stade Saputo. Today's high temperature barely cracked 50 degrees, and it will be cold and rainy throughout the evening.
The Union have been no strangers to foul weather this year, both at home and on the road. This game is a big test, as a win would vault them over the Impact and into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
One big factor in the Union's ability to come away with a result is the fact that Montréal's faces a midweek trip to Vancouver for the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup final. The Impact really want to win the tournament, as it would qualify them for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time since 2008.
Yes, you read that right - they've been there before. Even though Montréal is new to MLS, they're quite familiar with North America's premier competition.
In 2008, when they were still in the USL First Division, the Impact beat Toronto FC to the Voyageurs Cup. At the time, it was played as a six-game, home-and-away round robin with the Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC. Despite being a division below TFC, the Impact snatched that year's title with a draw at BMO Field.
That got Montréal into the 2008-09 Champions League. They made a surprising run to the quarterfinals, and their home leg against Santos Laguna (yep, they were good back them too) drew a crowd of 55,571 fans to Olympic Stadium.
If you haven't heard of the USL First Division, here's a quick explanation. It was the official second-tier league in North America from 2005 through 2009, after the USL re-branded the long-running A-League (1997-2004). This was where the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps played before they joined Major League Soccer.
The USL ran into financial problems after the 2009 season, and the current NASL launched at the same time. To say they didn't get along would be an understatement. In part because of that, U.S. Soccer refused to sanction either league in 2010, and ran the second division under its own banner. That league included the Timbers and Whitecaps for one year before they moved to MLS.
In 2011, the NASL took the second-division sanction on its own, and the USL First Division became the third-tier USL Pro. That's where well-known teams such as the Rochester Rhinos and Charleston Battery now reside.
So back to the present. This year's Voyageurs Cup final will be the first since the Impact's last triumph that will be won by a team other than TFC. So it's a very big deal, especially for longtime Impact fans.
Though Montréal had last weekend off, it wouldn't be surprising if they rest some starters to keep them fresh for Wednesday night. That could play to the Union's advantage.
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I am not posting an injury report for this game because neither team has updated its official information this week.
Montréal Impact (4-4-2, left to right)
Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins
Defenders: Dennis Iapichino, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky
Midfielders: Justin Mapp, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier, Andres Romero
Forwards: Marco Di Vaio, Andrew Wenger
Bench: GK Evan Bush; Ds Wandrille Lefèvre, Karl Ouimette; Ms Sanna Nyassi, Blake Smith, Collen Warner, Sinisa Ubiparipovic
Philadelphia Union (4-1-3-2, left to right)
Goalkeeper: Zac MacMath
Defenders: Raymon Gaddis, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams
Midfielders: Brian Carroll; Danny Cruz, Kléberson, Michael Farfan
Forwards: Sébastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney
Bench: GK Chris Konopka; Ds Don Anding, Matt Kassel; Ms Keon Daniel, Leo Fernandes; Fs Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistants: Corey Rockwell (bench side), Mark Cahen (far side)
Fourth Official: Mathieu Bourdeau