Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Daniel Studio

Toronto FC cruised to a 2-1 win over a listless Philadelphia Union side Saturday afternoon at BMO Field in Toronto. The Canadian side scored twice in a three minute span late in the first half and the Union created few chances after going behind.

Sebastian Giovinco skill and form showed through as he set up Marky Delgado to open the scoring and grabbed the eventual winner moments later Conor Casey tallied a late consolation goal for Philadelphia.

First Half

Jim Curtin made only one change to the team that defeated Portland last Saturday. With Maurice Edu suspended, Ethan White partnered Richie Marquez in the center of defense.

Philadelphia started the match strong and limited Toronto’s time on the ball. CJ Sapong had a half-chance in the 7th minute after a good throughball from Vincent Nogueira found the striker behind the Toronto defense. Sapong beat goalkeeper Joe Bendik to the ball, but couldn’t turn his shot on frame from a very tight angle.

Toronto took the lead with their first good chance of the match in the 29th minute. Jonathan Osario found the feet of Sebastian Giovinco 30 yards from the Union goal. Giovinco took one touch to settle and played a deft throughball to Marky Delgado with his second. Delgado appeared to push the ball too far away, but when Richie Marquez slid over to clear, the ball ricocheted off of Delgado and past Brian Sylvestre into the net.

Toronto doubled their lead just three minutes later. It was Giovinco at the center of things again as he took Jozy Altidore’s flicked header and hit a powerful half volley from 25 yards that Brian Sylvestre beat away. However, the rebound was out in front of the Union goal and Giovinco beat three defenders to the spot to score his 12th of the year. Sylvestre will be disappointed with his rebound control, but with four players back to defend, Jim Curtin ma direct more ire at his defense than his goalie.

After taking two knocks to the head during the first half, Andrew Wenger was forced off with an injury and replaced by Eric Ayuk in the 39th minute.

Giovinco almost had his second when he latched onto a well-timed Altidore pass in the 40th minute. The crafty Italian beat Sylvestre with his shot, but watched it roll just wide of the left post.

Second Half

Toronto entered the second half determined to slow the pace to a crawl. The Union did little to affect that plan.

Ayuk had the ball in the back of the Toronto net on the hour mark when he turned in Sebastien Le Toux’ cross from the right side. But the midfielder was correctly ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.

Zach Pfeffer replaced Chaco Maidana in the 61st minute and Conor Casey replaced an injured Richie Marquez in the 71st minute as the Union looked to get on the board. Philly switched to a 3-5-2 setup with Ethan White patrolling the back alone.

Though it seemed that Toronto would do enough to see out an easy 2-0 victory, Conor Casey made things interesting when he scored a fine 91st minute goal. Casey latched onto a flick from Sapong near the top of the box and beat two defenders on the dribble before firing a low shot with his left foot into the lower corner of Bendik’s goal. The tally was too little too late, however, and Toronto held on for the 2-1 win.

The Union travel to New Jersey to take on the Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday (4 pm) before heading to D.C. to face the Eastern Conference leaders on Sunday (5 pm).

Philadelphia Union
Brian Sylvestre, Fabinho, Richie Marquez (Conor Casey 71′), Ethan White, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana (Zach Pfeffer 61′), Andrew Wenger (Eric Ayuk 39′), Sebastien Le Toux, CJ Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Sheanon Williams, Steven Vitoria, Fred

Toronto FC
Joe Bendik, Justin Morrow, Eriq Zavaleta, Damien Perquis, Ashtone Morgan, Collen Warner (Jackson 67′), Marco Delgado, Benoit Cheyrou, Jonathan Osorio (Daniel Lovitz 88′), Jozy Altidore (Jay Chapman 84′), Sebastian Giovinco
Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Warren Creavalle, Clement Simonin, Daniel Lovitz, Robbie Findley

Scoring Summary
TOR: Marco Delgado (Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osario) — 29
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco — 32
PHI: Conor Casey (CJ Sapong) — 90+1

Disciplinary Summary

Philadelphia Union Toronto FC
7 Shots 13
2 Shots on Target 4
3 Shots off Target 7
2 Blocked Shots 2
 3 Corner Kicks 8
 14 Crosses  12
 2 Offsides 0
 9 Fouls 18
0 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards  0
 447 Total Passes 282
 82% Passing Accuracy 76%
 61% Possession  39%
 41 Duels Won 48
 46% Duels Won %  54%
7 Tackles Won  21
2 Saves 1
11 Clearances 21


  1. WSSM

  2. I kinda want a Curtin cam. Because I am sure his facial expressions throughout the end of the first half would have been priceless.

    • The same expression we saw last season and most of this season thus far that says: Letoux is not shooting, Wenger’s back, where are the runs, why can’t this team finish, how is it that an 18 year old can come and have the only nose for goal,I 2nd guessed myself again and should have started Williams, most of my starters are really not on even remotely mediocre MLS teams,why don’t any of our so called big signings ever work, I’m becoming a company tool,another press conference no one will believe, thank God we’re not in the western conference,why is the ownership and CEO so cheap and FOS? Yes the Union are a run on sentence!

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Toronto had been leaking goals so the Union figured they would score a few without bothering to shoot the ball. They are a team with absolutely no fast break. Any time they get the ball, they seem to want to play fair and let the other team get their players back. Every time they had what looked like a good chance it was mishandled. And then they stood around and watched Toronto put their balls in.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Mike, I think you have the passing accuracy and possession numbers backwards. I believe the Union won both of those.

  5. 1. Back to baseline
    2. Sebastien Giovinco
    3. Where did my joy go.

  6. – Why no Williams?

    – Is it tactical, or do Wenger & LeToux not understand that wings are supposed to make runs to the box?

    – Hope all the injured are not serious. Especially Maidana, because no replacement for him on the roster.

  7. I’d really like to hope that Marquez is only going to miss a week or two like Curtin said, but between Lahoud, Vittoria, and Aristigueta I’m thinking the U has hired the Flyers medical staff and we won’t see him until September.

    No wonder they sag at the end of every year- same guys playing MLS, friendlies and Open Cup games week after week. Curtin doesn’t have much choice really though. I guess we’re all just assuming no reinforcements on the way? Probably a good assumption.

  8. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    Why play a unnecessary friendly during the week against a good team and get smoked 4-1 when you’re in the midst of turning your season around?
    Any kind of loss like that can ruin a run of good form whether its a friendly or not. This team has a very fragile mindset, and that match was simply unnecessary.
    Maintaining confidence is really important for this Union team IMO.

    Either that or this team isn’t that good, and I get sucked into false, short-term optimism when they start playing better.

  9. At the beginning of the game they had really good possession but lacked the final pass near the goal, they kept passing it around until someone lost the ball. Then after TFC scored the first goal they completely fell apart and were completely un-coordinated in the final third. Very disappointing.

    • This is every match except for a few anomalies like Portland home and Red Bull away. Going on 18 months of this.

  10. That seemed to me a very winnable game… So many chances bungled in the box. So many passes to stationary defenders. Toronto didn’t play that well. Just had the ability to finish when they needed to. Lack of good shots was really frustrating.
    Kudos to Casey for his goal there in the 91st. Dude is old and slow but can ball.

    • Their big money men are Altidore, Giovinco and Bradley, ours are Edu, Vitoria and M’Bohli. This is what happens in this league when you spend your money on playmakers rather than defenders.

      This team needs finishers. We have a good enough midfield and backline to compete. We have Next Man Up to put the ball in the net. Sapong could be that guy but if I took a boot to the nuts I wouldn’t feel like scoring either.

    • The Little Fish says:

      @Pete Great post totally agree.

  11. Great One says:

    Idk what people are surprised or saying “they’re back”. Last week was the exception, not the rule.
    first off, Williams has to start. Curtin must eat his ego. I love Ray I really do, but Williams’ skill set is what this team needs. You can clearly see that missing piece when he’s not in this year. Wenger is who he is most of his career. Le Toux has no touch. Please let Mbolhi go and bring in a real winger.

    • Great One says:

      I bet the people who were “glad” Altidore was back are eating their words now. Not fit enough for the National Team is one thing, beating up the Union CBs is another. Btw, those are the backup CBs, while the $1.1 million worth of CBs are suspended and on the bench.
      The real bottom line here, beyond anything else, is their money players destroyed us, while ours didn’t play. Obviously Toronto is not the best franchise to follow after, but in reality the Union will not only continually fail to compete with this ownership, they will fall further and further behind every year as other teams want to win and spend actual money.

  12. The Little Fish says:

    It’s obvious we need Williams in the lineup to help link up the right side of the field otherwise you see what we got yesterday offensively: A MARSHMALLOW SWORD!
    Sucks about Marquez but kinda looking forward to seeing Vittoria. He appeared pretty slow before getting hurt and now he’ll be rusty too but I’d like to see him in action in order to gauge our heavy investment in him this year.
    Congrats to Casey. I really like that Dude. Class.

    • Yes. A marshmallow sword, indeed. Also eager to see Vittoria on Tuesday.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Am I missing something? Why do we expect to see Vittoria on Tuesday rather than Edu and White?

      • The Little Fish says:

        Vittoria is healthy. He’s gosh darned expensive. He’s a weapon on set pieces and more importantly he can pass out of the back (unlike Ethan White) which could really help our anemic offense. Let’s take a look. Maybe get some ROI from that very hefty investment we’ve made in Vittoria.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I understand all that, but in that case, why was White playing yesterday rather than Vittoria. Based on Curtin’s history, I would be surprised to see Vittoria rather than White.

      • Not me. I think Curtin has Vitoria over White on the depth chart but did not play him over White this last game since he was just coming back from injury.
        I think Curtin has trended toward caution when bringing players back from injury, electing to wait an extra game or two.

      • What do youmean he’s a weapon on set pieces he can’t jump over a friggin rock and runs like a baby giraffe no reason to be excited for him just another expensive bench player

  13. The difference in that game was Giovinco. Not much use crying over spilt milk on that: the Union will NEVER have a multimillion dollar DP. But we could compete if our incompetent FO and training staff didn’t sign 3 big hold up strikers who all want to play the same position (Casey, Sapong, Aristeguieta) and no striker to play off of them. Curtis and Albright need to go. This franchise needs a plan. Wenger needs to get sent down to Harrisburgh or lower. And Curtin needs to apologize for and explain his idiotic declaration that Gaddis is his starting R back, when Williams has been playing so much better than Gaddis.

    • Vision. Philosophy. Plan


      Whim. Sidecar. Soufflé.

    • The difference in that game was our one top level player (Edu) was suspended, and Toronto had 2 of its 3 top level players (Giovinco and Jozy). Period, end of story. There’s not really a whole lot that Curtin can do here…he can only work with the tools provided to him. You have an underfunded ownership group that won’t spend any kind of $$ on talent / technical director and is protected publicly by a two-faced moron in Nick Sakiewicz. This has nothing to do with Curtin. As for Sheanon Williams, he’s clearly a better offensive option than Ray and has a higher ceiling. However, his marking this year has been atrocious, and it’s directly led to multiple opposition goals. A defender’s primary role is to defend…that’s why Gaddis is starting. Either way, the Red Bulls game on Tuesday is the game to be focused on. U are not making the playoffs, but they have a chance at the Open Cup. That would save the season.

      • Curtin brought in Vittoria and Aristiguieta. He didn’t start Maidana in the first game of the season. Hackworth brought in Chaco and Nogs. Curtin is in over his head. Nice guy. But in over his head. Oh yeah and I’ll eat my Connor Casey jersey if the Union beat the Red Bulls Tuesday. If they lose Tuesday, this team needs to give up on the year, give Rais away for nothing, and hire a sporting director who can hire his own coach.

      • The Nando / CJ combo looked pretty damn good for a half before CJ got the awful concussion vs the Rapids. Nando was a good get and has had some bad luck here in the first half of the season. Injuries and inexplicably no respect from the officials. Nothing Jim can do about that. Vittoria has been hurt for most of the season. How is that Curtin’s fault? Richie got an opportunity and has played great…no way you’re taking him out of the lineup, so Steven sits as of now. Rais was 1000% Sakiewicz. And, you better get some hot sauce for that jersey, because the U have a very good chance at winning on Tuesday.

      • John Ling says:

        Others have said it, so I won’t take credit for the idea. But I believe not starting Maidana in the first game was done to light a fire under his ass. Maidana is never going to win any awards for his defense, but it’s miles better than it was last year. He also seems to be more fit than last year, overall.
        So, I’ll go with the theory of lighting a fire; because Curtin is a lot of things – inexperienced, loyal to fault (in some cases), and so on. But what he’s not is dumb. He knows Maidana is his best playmaker, despite all the praise he heaped on Pfeffer in the offseason.

      • Agreed 1000%. I commented the same before as well.
        Maidana has been putting in more work this year then last and I think it is all because Curtin made it clear that he has to if he wants to get on the field.

  14. Dallas, DC and NYRB are the ones playing moneyball. Union lead the league in pay to players not over 400k (or not in the top 2 earners on a team) and in pay to players outside the top 5 earners on a team. Sak and Jay need to re-evaluate what moneyball means.

    team total rank w/o >400k/top 2 rank w/o top 5 rank points/game rank
    TOR $22,774,567 1 $3,204,011 10 $2,831,511 4 1.5 9
    LA $19,475,300 2 $3,092,788 13 $2,742,788 5 1.55 5
    NYCFC $17,860,368 3 $3,184,674 11 $2,852,174 3 1.05 17
    ORL $11,478,788 4 $3,266,288 8 $2,686,788 6 1.2 14
    SEA $11,368,381 5 $2,972,772 16 $2,378,439 15 1.52 7
    NE $6,566,090 6 $2,606,715 19 $2,145,715 18 1.23 13
    CHI $6,341,788 7 $2,665,684 18 $2,394,684 14 1 19
    VAN $6,150,227 8 $3,848,477 2 $2,948,907 2 1.57 4
    KC $5,610,976 9 $2,976,874 15 $2,614,687 8 1.83 1
    PHI $5,578,401 10 $4,009,651 1 $3,309,647 1 1.05 18
    POR $5,312,916 11 $3,098,916 12 $2,501,583 11 1.52 8
    HOU $4,988,492 12 $3,304,658 6 $2,612,575 9 1.2 15
    COL $4,939,919 13 $3,344,919 5 $2,508,752 10 1.2 16
    SJ $4,785,381 14 $3,070,381 14 $2,226,781 17 1.32 10
    DC $4,349,764 15 $3,450,931 4 $2,460,647 13 1.59 3
    MTL $4,336,786 16 $3,535,119 3 $2,640,327 7 1.24 11
    RSL $4,328,254 17 $3,258,254 9 $2,323,170 16 1.24 12
    DAL $4,098,292 18 $3,281,642 7 $2,485,642 12 1.75 2
    NYRB $3,884,228 19 $2,686,728 17 $1,864,228 19 1.53 6

    • (maybe) easier to read:

      team total (rank) w/o>400k/top 2 (rank) w/o top 5 (rank) points/game (rank)
      TOR $22,774,567 (1) $3,204,011 (10) $2,831,511 (4) 1.5 (9)
      LA $19,475,300 (2) $3,092,788 (13) $2,742,788 (5) 1.55 (5)
      NYCFC $17,860,368 (3) $3,184,674 (11) $2,852,174 (3) 1.05 (17)
      ORL $11,478,788 (4) $3,266,288 (8) $2,686,788 (6) 1.2 (14)
      SEA $11,368,381 (5) $2,972,772 (16) $2,378,439 (15) 1.52 (7)
      NE $6,566,090 (6) $2,606,715 (19) $2,145,715 (18) 1.23 (13)
      CHI $6,341,788 (7) $2,665,684 (18) $2,394,684 (14) 1.00 (19)
      VAN $6,150,227 (8) $3,848,477 (2) $2,948,907 (2) 1.57 (4)
      KC $5,610,976 (9) $2,976,874 (15) $2,614,687 (8) 1.83 (1)
      PHI $5,578,401 (10) $4,009,651 (1) $3,309,647 (1) 1.05 (18)
      POR $5,312,916 (11) $3,098,916 (12) $2,501,583 (11) 1.52 (8)
      HOU $4,988,492 (12) $3,304,658 (6) $2,612,575 (9) 1.2 (15)
      COL $4,939,919 (13) $3,344,919 (5) $2,508,752 (10) 1.2 (16)
      SJ $4,785,381 (14) $3,070,381 (14)$2,226,781 (17) 1.32 (10)
      DC $4,349,764 (15) $3,450,931 (4) $2,460,647 (13) 1.59 (3)
      MTL $4,336,786 (16) $3,535,119 (3) $2,640,327 (7) 1.24 (11)
      RSL $4,328,254 (17) $3,258,254 (9) $2,323,170 (16) 1.24 (12)
      DAL $4,098,292 (18) $3,281,642 (7) $2,485,642 (12) 1.75 (2)
      NYRB $3,884,228 (19) $2,686,728 (17) $1,864,228 (19) 1.53 (6)

  15. Philadelphia Collins says:

    One step forward, two steps back.. That’s how it’s been for the Union since day 1.

  16. I think the best incarnation of this team is Gaddis and Williams as OB. Fabinho as LW. Wenger on the RW. And Le Toux as fresh leg sub. I’m grateful for Seba but he is not a good enough technical player to warrant a starting spot on outside.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but this team tends to trend towards bad when Wenger and Le Toux are on the field together.
    This is a game I would have been thrilled to earn a point in…keep things positive for 2nd half and what it showed is what the Union always show and always have shown…they just aren’t good enough week in week out.
    Maurice doesn’t make the difference in that game.

    • I think you hit it on the head. I don’t understand if something isn’t working why keep doing it! Good post.

    • Well, none of us know for sure if Mo makes the difference…it’s impossible to say, but it’s pretty clear that he wouldn’t have hurt out there. If you look at the Preview article comments, I said the same thing re: earning a point. Adam predicted the U would win 2-1, and I said that earning a point would be a very good result.

      Gonna be interesting to see how Jim lines up going forward now that Richie is hurt. Number of different ways that you can go.

  17. My only question is why take out Maidana, and leave in Le Toux. Le Toux was HORRID. Bad pass, after bad pass. Bad runs. Lack of runs. Was Maidana stellar? No. But he seems to heat up in the second half of games. He’s way more skilled than LeToux. I don’t get it.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed on that. I said that to my dad when we watched the game. That sub makes no sense, unless of course he saving Maidana for Tuesday.

    • Curtin said post game Maidana got kicked in the foot in the first half and was out of sorts after. Not sure if it’s a serious injury but that was the reason he gave for the sub.

  18. OneManWolfpack says:

    That was a winnable game, or at least maybe a draw. Toronto subscribes to the “we are gonna score more than you” philosophy, and the Union just didn’t score. I’d rather win Tuesday at this point, since the playoffs are a long shot anyway.
    They MUST unload M’Bolhi and spend that money wisely. HA. Yes, I realize what I just typed, and no I’m not drunk.

  19. One other thing that no one has brought up here…Sylvestre didn’t help yesterday. That 2nd goal was as much on him as it was on Nogs. You cannot under any circumstances give up a rebound like that. If you cannot hold that shot, you must parry to the side if you are going to use an open palm deflection technique (which he attempted to do, but executed poorly).

    • Valid point.
      But let’s remember that he started the season as a backup in the NASL.
      The shot stopping talent is there and he is young at only 22 but is far from a complete keeper as far as positioning, rebound control, and distribution. The strongest part of his game IMO is going up for crosses/corners/ect.
      The most complete keeper on the U’s roster is currently wearing a Colorado kit.

      • And there is the Nicky Sak rub. There was ZERO reason to replace MacMath last year, none. He was progressing nicely as a 22 yr old GK, coming nicely into his own. Just mind-boggling that the U spent those kinds of $$ on a position that was about 8th or 9th on the most important to improve list. Terrible decision.

      • That falls under…. No Plan part of the triumvirate.

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