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Union-Impact Preview

By MATT BEARDMORE

STATS Writer

(AP) -- The Philadelphia Union are taking care of business at home, but they need to start playing better on the road if they're going to make a push up the Eastern Conference standings.

That could be a challenge Saturday night, given the Montreal Impact's recent success at Stade Saputo and their potential use of a new defensive alignment.

Jack McInerney's 90th-minute goal in a 2-1 victory over New England on Sunday completed the club's first come-from-behind win this season, lifting the Union (7-10-2) to a franchise-best fourth consecutive home win.

Philadelphia, tied with the Revolution with 23 points, is four points back of seventh-place Montreal (8-13-3) in the East, but it has five games in hand on the Impact.

"It's huge winning here, especially since we're behind in the standings and we need to win some games to move up in the standings," McInerney told the Union's official website. "We need three points in as many games as possible. We have to be very good at home and then go and play well on the road, too."

Philadelphia, though, is 2-6-1 away from home and has scored six times in those contests.

Making their first appearance in Montreal, the Union will face an Impact club that could go with a back-line trio of former Serie A standouts - Alessandro Nesta, Nelson Rivas and Matteo Ferrari.

Nesta made his MLS debut in a 3-1 victory over New York last Saturday and did a nice job on Thierry Henry, while Ferrari came on for Rivas as a second-half substitute. Ferrari and Rivas were returning from injury.

The Impact have surrendered a league-high 43 goals.

"We are seriously looking at playing all three of those guys together," said coach Jesse Marsch, whose team last won two straight April 28 and May 5. "They are all very smart, so it shouldn't be that difficult an adjustment for them. We've tried to tilt it a little bit so Matteo is not an outright left back in order to use his strengths. I would call it a modified center back position. I'm very confident he'll be able to adjust."

Montreal, 5-2-0 at Stade Saputo since it reopened June 16, will have to adjust to not having forward Marco Di Vaio available. The club's first designated player scored his first MLS goal against the Red Bulls off a pass from former Union midfielder Justin Mapp, but he is in Italy for hearings on a match-fixing scandal in Serie A.

Rookie Andrew Wenger is expected to start in Di Vaio's place. Wenger was sidelined with a hamstring injury in the first match between these clubs, a 2-1 Philadelphia home win July 14.

Union defender Carlos Valdes scored in the first minute of injury time following an own goal by Montreal in the 90th minute.

Updated August 3, 2012

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