Union-Impact Preview

Jim Curtin hopes Philadelphia Union can make the most of the "unique" circumstances that see opponents Montreal Impact making a long journey to a neutral stadium for a home game.

Canadian teams are again facing American opponents, but the coronavirus pandemic means those from above the border must set up temporary camp down south.

Thierry Henry's Montreal are hosting the Union at New York's Red Bull Arena, having played in Vancouver in midweek.

The Impact were dealt a damaging loss by the Whitecaps and the amount of travel required meant a scheduled Henry news conference had to be canceled.

Philadelphia are in a better state after beating New England Revolution in stoppage time last weekend, and Curtin acknowledged the situation this week is a strange one.

"It's important - whether there's fans or no fans - that we continue to make our home field a tough place to play for other teams and take as many points as we can there," he said, reflecting on the win against the Revs.

"We obviously have a tough task on our hands now to go on the road for two.

"Against a Montreal team that just played in Vancouver in midweek and had some travel, we'll be playing in a unique situation where it's not their stadium."

That is not to say Curtin foresees a straightforward task, however, insisting the Union must be at their best.

"Thierry Henry obviously has them very organized, very tough to break down," he said. "They have been dangerous also in the attacking parts of the game.

"We'll have our hands full. It's a difficult task against Montreal and, in order to take points on the road, you need to be at your best."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Montreal Impact - Victor Wanyama

Saphir Taider has been a key creative force for the Impact in recent weeks, but in order to maintain a balance in midfield, Wanyama must also play well. The former Tottenham man should have the physicality to dominate such a game even after the long trip.

Philadelphia Union - Kacper Przybylko

Five-goal Philadelphia top-scorer Przybylko was slightly less reserved than his coach as he discussed the "advantage" created by Montreal's travel and claimed the Union would be "more fit". After he failed to score last week, actions will speak louder than words.

KEY OPTA FACTS

-- The four meetings between Montreal and Philadelphia over the past two seasons have been split with each team winning twice. The Union had won just three of their first 16 MLS games against Montreal before recording wins in two of the past four.

-- None of Montreal's most recent nine MLS matches have ended in a draw (W4 L5) as they have alternated win and loss in their past six matches.

-- The Union have won four of their past five games and have collected 21 points after 11 matches, the most they have ever had at this stage of a season. Their 10 goals conceded are second-fewest after 11 matches as they allowed just nine goals at this stage of the 2011 season.

-- Taider has been directly involved in four of the Impact's past five goals (one goal, three assists). Taider (four goals, five assists) is one of two players in MLS with at least four goals and four assists this season (also Jordan Morris - six goals, four assists).

-- The Union have scored seven goals from outside the box this season, the most in MLS. Six different Union players have scored from outside the box (Kacper Przybylko has two) while no other team has more than four scorers from distance.