After four closed-door scrimmages to start the preseason, the revamped Union went on public display for the first time Saturday. They didn’t look good, losing 1-0 to the Montreal Impact at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Marco Fabián made his Union debut in the contest, playing the first half. Lined up at the top of a four-man midfield diamond, the Mexican didn’t do much. He notably had to drop deep to get the ball on a few occasions.
After a brief glimpse of the Union’s high-pressure defense in the opening minute, Montreal had most of the possession and most of the positive play in the half.
The Impact’s goal came in the 27th minute. Bacary Sagna and Michael Azira played a one-two on their right wing, then Sagna crossed for Maxi Urruti, who flicked a first-time shot past Union backup goalkeeper Carlos Coronel from a tight angle.
Montreal spent much of the half on that flank of the field, going at new Union left back Kai Wagner repeatedly.
The Union looked sharper in the second half, highlighted by a pretty buildup in the 58th minute involving Alejandro Bedoya, Ilsinho (who replaced Fabían), Sapong and Brenden Aaronson. The Medford native had a good look from 19 yards, but hit a rasping shot wide right.
In the 60th, Union manager Jim Curtin made wholesale changes – including taking out Sapong, whose few good touches were outweighed by long stretches of ineffectiveness. Picault also exited. They were replaced by Kacper Przybylko and David Accam.
The most impressive of the substitutes was Derrick Jones, who brought some bite to central midfield that was missing in the first hour. The best Union player in the game overall was probably Aaronson, whose attacking forays produced some of the team’s only bright spots
Forwards: Fafa Picault (David Accam 60′), C.J. Sapong (Kacper Przybylko 60′)
Midifielders: Marco Fabián (Ilsinho HT') / Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya (Anthony Fontana 60′) / Haris Medunjanin (Derrick Jones 60′)
Defenders: Kai Wagner (Matt Real 60′), Aurélien Collin (Auston Trusty 60′), Mark McKenzie (Jack Elliott 31′), Ray Gaddis