The question on most Philadelphia Union fan’s mind going into this season was how they would replace star youngster Brenden Aaronson and it seems Jamiro Monteiro might have the answer.
The Philadelphia Union are advancing to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League. In their first home match ever in the competition, the Union left little doubt that they belonged amongst Concacaf’s elite, thrashing Saprissa 4-0 to advance.
Jamiro Monteiro was the best player on the pitch, with a true masterclass performance that saw the Cape Verdean international assist on two Union goals, find the back of the net twice himself and disrupt play seemingly in nearly every part of the field. Monteiro stepped up his game when it mattered most, just like coach Jim Curtin said he would.
“When Jamiro (Monteiro) is at his max he’s not defendable. You can’t stop him.” Curtin said after the game. “We’re lucky to have him in Philadelphia, we want to bring the best out of him… his talent (level) is he can play at the highest level anywhere in the world.
The Union were on the attack for most of the first half, but were not able to score despite numerous good chances. Monteiro would give the Union their first goal in the 47th minute, banging in a penalty set up by a nice run in the box by Anthony Fontana. Monteiro would pay Fontana back in the 54th minute, setting the Newark, Del. native up with a perfect pass into the box to give the Union the 3-0 lead.
Monteiro’s first assist of the night came as a result of a lovely passage of play between Olivier Mbaizo and Alejandro Bedoya that went out for a corner. Monteiro’s pass found Kacper Przybyłko, and the ball found the back of the net.
Monteiro, after banging on the Saprissa door a few more times, found the net for a second time in the 90th minute. A great pass from the Saprissa defense sent Miro in on goal, and he capped off the big night in Chester with a big finish.
The talking point all offseason was how the Union could possibly replace their star attacking midfielder Brendan Aaronson. The 20-year-old’s move to RB Salzburg left a bit of hole in the Union’s starting 11, losing one of the most instrumental pieces to the Supporters’ Shield-winning squad. With performances like this against Saprissa, stepping up in the club’s biggest game to date, it looks like Monteiro is poised for a big year.