Union match reports

Match Report: Toronto FC 0-2 Philadelphia Union

Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger scored in the first half and the Philadelphia Union topped Toronto FC for the second time this week. The win moves Philadelphia back into a playoff spot (at the time this report was written.)

It only took 8 minutes for Casey to put the Union ahead, who headed home  a lovely floated ball from Sheanon Williams. Williams also got the helper on Wenger’s 44th minute goal with a composed header back across the face of the Toronto goal for the winger to guide into the net.

Zac MacMath was forced into several key second half saves, and Toronto twice rattled the crossbar in the second half, but the Union goal was never breached and the team claimed their second clean sheet in a row.

Jim Curtin said after the game, “We knew Toronto, with the coaching change, would have a lot of energy in both games and they were missing some guys and so are we, we have three guys away with international duty as well, but we played very good today. I actually thought today we were better than on Wednesday to be honest. I’m happy with the guys’ performance.  Toronto is a very good team who are missing some pieces right now and we are a little bit fortunate to get them at the time we did.”

First half

Coach Jim Curtin made one change to the team that beat Toronto on Wednesday, with a healthy Vincent Nogueira replacing Brian Carroll in the central midfield.

The Union were on top inside the first ten minutes through a counterattack down the left side. Cristian Maidana laid a great ball into the path of Ray Gaddis, who was sprinting down the touchline. The defender’s low cross was cut out but fell to the feet of Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux then played a pass into Conor Casey’s feet. The striker looked to have a loose touch off his right foot, but did well to slide and recover the ball, pushing it to the right side to a wide open Sheanon Williams. The right back then lofted a delicate first time cross and Casey was back on his feet quickly to meet the ball, powering into the left side of the net past a stranded Bendick.

Toronto would look to get back into the match through Gilberto in the 20th minute. After Dominic Oduro drew a soft foul call 25 yards from the Union goal, the Brazilian stepped up to take the free kick. His shot appeared to be on target but Casey did his job in the Philadelphia wall, deflecting the shot behind with his head.

Le Toux would have a chance to double the Union’s lead in the 32nd minute that began with another good counterattack orchestrated by Maidana. Le Toux, receiving the ball on the top of the Toronto box with time and space to shoot, struck a powerful drive that goalkeeper Joe Bendik did well to save.

Maidana would have a chance of his own to score shortly after that in the 35th minute. Bendik did well to punch an attempted long ball to Le Toux, but the clearance fell straight to the feet of the Argentine. His left footed shot from the top of the box was on target, but Colin Warner was able to get his head to it to clear.

The Union would double their lead before the half with Wenger’s 44th minute tally. A low corner kick from Le Toux’s was half cleared and ended back on his foot. His second cross was flicked on at the near post from a Toronto defender and straight to Sheanon Williams on the back post. The defender was again composed, nodding the ball back across the goal to an unmarked Wenger, who guided a header of his own past a screened Bendik. Maurice Edu originally looked to get a touch before the ball crossed the line, but the goal was eventually credited to Wenger.

Second Half

Toronto would ratchet up the pressure in the second half, and Zac MacMath was called into action on 55 minutes to push a shot from Mark Bloom onto the post and out of play. A few minutes after that, it was Michael Bradley forcing a save from MacMath, with the Union goalkeeper doing well to parry away the US international’s powerful shot from distance.

Toronto substitute Jackson was lively after coming on in the 70th minute. Shortly after entering the game, his shot from 30 yards just missed the near post of MacMath’s goal. He was again involved in the 77th minute, heading a cross onto the crossbar from 6 yards that was then pulled from the air by MacMath.

The Union would bring on an effective sub of their own with Pedro Riberio joining the fray in the 69th minute. The big youngster was involved straight away, almost finding Wenger with a cross on the 71st minute, but the ball drifted just beyond the winger.

A strong tackle from Maurice Edu in the 82nd minute led to a another Union counterattack. Edu stayed with the attack and the ball eventually found its way to the center back, who fired a strong shot that Bendik again did well to save.

Ribeiro almost had his first league goal for the Union in the 87th minute. The youngster did well to create space to shoot from the right side, 14 yards from goal. But his well struck, left footed drive was again parried away by the impressive Bendik.

Michael Bradley almost gave Toronto hope late on, but his left footed volley rocketed off the crossbar on 89 minutes with MacMath beaten.

“It’s huge,” Conor Casey said of the win. “Sometimes you play well but don’t get the results but we’ve had both. Every guy on our roster right now is pulling in the right direction and we just want to keep improving and getting points.”

As of this writing in 4th place in the Eastern Conference, with a full slate of games still to come this weekend, the Union will have an opportunity to get more points next Saturday when they host New York Red Bulls at PPL Park at 3 pm in a nationally televised game.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Ray Gaddis, Maurice Edu, Ethan White, Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger, Cristian Maidana (Brian Carroll, 89), Sebastien Le Toux (Danny Cruz, 81), Connor Casey (Pedro Ribeirao, 69)
Unused substitutions: Andre Blake, Fabinho, Brian Brown, Fred

Toronto FC
Joe Bendik, Bradley Orr, Doniel Henry, Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund (Warren Creavalle, 78), Collen Warner (Kyle Bekker, 44), Dominic Oduro, Dwayne De Rosario (Jackson, 70), Michael Bradley, Gilberto, Luke Moore
Unused substitutions: Chris Konopka, Ryan Richter, Daniel Lovitz, Andrew Wiedemann

Scoring Summary
PHI: Connor Casey (Sheanon Williams) — 8
PHI: Andrew Wenger (Sheanon Williams) — 44

Disciplinary Summary
TOR: Doniel Henry (Foul) — 28

Referee: Alan Kelly
Attendance: 22,591

Philadelphia Union Toronto FC
12 Attempts on Goal 16
7 Shots on Target 3
2 Shots off Target 7
3 Blocked Shots 6
8 Corner Kicks 5
18 Crosses 24
0 Offsides 1
14 Fouls 8
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
335 Total Passes 452
71% Passing Accuracy 77%
42.5% Possession 57.5%
36 Duels Won 45
44.4% Duels Won % 55.6%
13 Tackles Won 10
3 Saves 5
42 Clearances 13



  2. The Union will remain in a playoff spot at least until Wednesday and the only way they lose it the is if Columbus beats Chivas by at least 2 AND New York beats both Sporting KC and DC United.
    Good day all around for the Union as their game followed a penalty kick thriller that saw an undermanned Union front office beat the Sons of Ben team to reclaim the River Cup.

    • After what seemed like too many games this year where the Union were the tired leg team playing multiple games in a short span, I’m loving the schedule now. Toronto had to be gassed today, and now NYRB will be playing Wednesday too. Let’s get another one on Saturday!

      • Yes, NYRB will be the 4th straight game where the Union are the more rested team. (Yes, both teams were coming off the same amount of rest today but it was Toronto’s 3rd in 7 compared with the Union’s 3rd in 13. Unfortunately, after that, they play Houston as the less rested team for the 3rd time this season (thanks to the Open Cup.

  3. It was Maidana who got the ball back from casey and saw an open Williams on the first goal. Casey did well to recover and to go to rhe right spot to receive Williams cross and score the U’s first.

    Maidana really brings a strong offensive dimension to this team. They definitely look more dangerous and with more options when the ball passes through him.

  4. Glad to see Ribiero (instead of Brown) getting on (and almost scoring his first goal!)

    • Agreed. I thought Ribeiro was contributing nicely. Certainly better than Brown last Wednesday. He looked interested, got involved, and helped as he could. He did well to mark and slow up attacks as well.

  5. Love Nogs and Chaco on the pitch together. My heart sank a bit when I first heard the U would face Seattle in USOC final but this team can compete and I’m feeling much more hopeful. I’m not ready to officially hand Curtin the keys yet but I’ve got to give home credit. The boys In blue are playing their best at just the right time. I can’t wait to get back to PPL.

  6. Is it wenger or edus goal?

  7. In the post game, pappas made it sound like a forgone conclusion that Edu goes back to midfield when Valdes returns. Who makes way? I disagree, and think white would have to be the odd man out. An Edu and Valdes pairing sounds great to me.

    • The choice is essentially between having White start (with Edu in the midfield) or having Wenger start (with Edu in the back). Honestly, that’s a tough call. Bringing Edu into the midfield changes the formation, assuming you want Okugo, Maidana, Nogueira, Le Toux, and Casey with him.

      • With three games in eight days, the key is rotation. And while I would hope everyone remains healthy by the end of that period, odds are is that one or two guys will need a game off due to a knock once everyone is back and rested.

  8. Today we saw a major difference between Curtain and Hackworth. On Wednesday, Curtain brought in Fred and Brown as the substitutes (or was that just one guy, Fred Brown :-). Neither added much to the team. So Curtain adjusted and tried Ribeirao and Cruz, both of whom worked better. I think Curtain has shown the ability to see his mistakes and adjust.

    • I thought the same thing. I was happy to see Ribeiro get the sub after Brown’s bad showing the previous game. I hope it was because Curtin saw what we saw. I’m also happy with the Cruz sub. Those are the situations where Cruz should be utilized. He has improved this year and been a coachable player. I’m fine with him going out to pester, defend, and look for a counter.

  9. This team is rising at the right time. I have not one negative to offer. Well played. Well coached. Well earned 6 points. They need 2 more wins now though: NYRB and Sounders. Make. Make. Be your future as Ty Webb says.

  10. Nice win. Toronto can’t be as bad as they looked this week, can they?

    • It’s TFC, this is what they do. Plus 3 DPs and a bunch of nobodies doesn’t make you a playoff team. They also have the problem we had at the beginning of the year. A rotating back line, unfortunately they will not have a WC CB returning to their lineup!

  11. Very good blog


  12. Williams ? See him do this his whole life but always so underrated the guy is money…

    • It was great to see Williams get 2 assists. He had a stellar year last year, but this year hasn’t been quite as good with his injuries. I hope he’s back in full form now.
      We need to get Gaddis back to his lock down self. He’s seemed a little off the past couple games.

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