Union / Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union

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Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore were both on target and Richie Marquez scored a late own goal as Toronto defeated the Union 3-1 at BMO Field.

Steven Vitoria netted his first MLS goal for Philadelphia, but it was not enough as a visibly tired Union couldn’t muster much fight against a hungry Toronto team.

First Half

Jim Curtin rung in the changes after Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup loss. Fernando Aristeguieta came in up top, with CJ Sapong switching out to a wide position. Brian Carroll and Eric Ayuk also started in place of Tranquillo Barnetta and Sebastien Le Toux. And in the most interesting move, Andrew Wenger came in to start at left back, with Fabinho on the bench.

The opening 20 minutes saw little action either way. Toronto did well to maintain possession but chances were hard to come by, with the Union defending deep in their own half.

After a solid period of pressure in which Toronto won three free kicks and two corners, the hosts took the lead in the 28th minute. After CJ Sapong fouled Jozy Altidore on the corner of the Union box, Giovinco stepped up to take the free kick and struck it against a spinning Ray Gaddis. The ball deflected into the far corner of the goal with Andre Blake wrong footed.

Toronto had a chance to double their lead just a minute later. Robbie Findley broke down the right side and crossed for Altidore, who appeared in on goal. But Ray Gaddis retreated back and to poke the ball away before the striker could get a shot off.

Andre Blake made  a sensational save on Giovinco as the half wore down, pushing away the Italian’s free kick at full stretch as he dove to his right.

Second Half

Jozy Altidore doubled the Toronto advantage in the 63rd minute. Marco Delgado found time and space to cross from the Toronto right side. Ray Gaddis tried to cut out the cross but mistimed his run and the ball fell to Altidore at the back post. The striker easily picked out the corner from five yards.

Steven Vitoria answered back for the Union three minutes later. Cristian Maidana floated in a lofted cross from 40 yards out that Vitoria rose and flicked with the back of his head. It was the center back’s first career MLS goal, scored in the town where he was raised.

Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, and Tranquillo Barnetta were all introduced at the expense of Eric Ayuk, Michael Lahoud, and CJ Sapong respectively. While the trio did well to jump start the lackadaisical Union offense, chances were still hard to come by and a second goal always seemed out of the cards.

Toronto added a little gloss to the scoreline at the expense of Richie Marquez in second half stoppage time. Jonathan Osorio fired in a hard cross from the Toronto left that Marquez misplayed and deflected into his own goal.

The Union play their last road game of the season at the New York Red Bulls on October 18 before finishing the season hosting Orlando on October 25.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Richie Marquez, Steven Vitoria, Andrew Wenger, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Vincent Nogueira 57′), Eric Ayuk (Sebastien Le Toux 65′), Cristian Maidana, CJ Sapong (Tranquillo Barnetta 61′), Fernando Aristeguieta
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Ethan White, Warren Creavalle

Toronto FC
Chris Konopka, Justin Morrow, Damien Perquis, Josh Williams, Jackson, Jonathan Osorio, Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Robbie Findley (Marco Delgado 45′), Jozy Altidore (Collen Warner 82′), Sebastian Giovinco (Luke Moore 90+2′)
Unused Subs: Joe Bendick, Ahmed Kantari, Ashtone Morgan, Herculez Gomez

Scoring Summary
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco — 28′
TOR: Jozy Altidore (Marco Delgado) — 63′
PHI: Steven Vitoria (Cristian Maidana) – 66′
TOR: Richie Marquez (OG) – 90+2′

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Steven Vitoria (foul) — 25′

Philadelphia Union Toronto FC
5 Shots 21
3 Shots on Target 4
2 Shots off Target 10
0 Blocked Shots 7
 1 Corner Kicks 12
 5 Crosses  38
 3 Offsides 2
 11 Fouls 9
1 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards  0
 298 Total Passes 477
 72% Passing Accuracy 86%
 37.3% Possession  62.7%
 43 Duels Won 38
 53% Duels Won % 47%
43 Tackles Won  38
2 Saves 2
18 Clearances 13


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    If I were one of Longshanks’ henchman…I would be tempted to use a medieval torture devise to disembowel this team and it’s manager for the utter ineptitude I saw today….
    …If it was any other day…the children would sit upon their daddy’s shoulders slack jawed in utter disbelief…but I will take the high road this evening in an effort to maintain morale, in an effort to recognize the need for rest and experimentation; consider this the last such gift.
    As such – –
    1. Andre Blake is the real deal. A general in the making with uncanny spring in his legs and puma like reflexes. We suspected this – -with far minimal opportunity than practice reps to see. He will make mistakes, but he is an out and out stud and I venture to say the mistakes will be nominal.
    2. Andrew Wenger at OB is a very legitimate solution going forward with more cumin, two dashes of chipotle pepper and tomatillo — also duly noted upon these pages numerous times previous to the actual experimenting.
    3. Chaco Maidana is ONLY as good as the midfield #6 or #8 providing him with service – otherwise he is virtually incapable of affecting change in a game. This is not to be dismissed passively when considering who stays and who goes.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Oh but I sure can skewer the other team today. Shame on you Toronto fans for such apathy. Michael Bradley. Sebastien Giovinco. Jozy Altidore. Robbie Findley. A chance to secure a playoff spot and maybe the Toronto Blue Jays were playing at the same time but that stadium was quieter than Sleepy Hollow on All Hallow’s Eve and the Jays have clinched anyway.
      And then of course some will look to today’s game and his form recently and think to themselves, Jozy is playing good, 4 or 5 goals in 6 or 7 games is hard to argue with. Right? Well I can.
      What I saw today highlights how much better he could or should be with Robbie Findley and Giovinco surrounding him. Jozy doesn’t have a 1/3 of the futbol intellect as Giovinco which probably isn’t saying much but he should be near the top of goal list not sitting on 11 as though that is any good.
      For me he brings into relief why American’s have a difficult time unlocking a defense…on mulitple occasions Altidore was a 0.5 second slow in realizing a run was available and then when he would make the run it was too late…unable to see into the future which is the true hallmark of the european and SA player – many missed opportunities for the mediocre at best striker.
      So so so much to learn with a player like Sebastien Giovinco in our midst – the little dude is brilliant – MVP and easily best player in the league that I have seen.

      • I chuckled at the word apathy with regard to Toronto. That’s what I saw from the Union today. At this point, why not play the kids? It was clear to me in the bit I watched that the Union players just didn’t give a crap. Let’s see some of the young guys. The season is over. Get some experience and start planning for next year.

        On Maidana, I don’t think the Union keep him. I really don’t think he’s a favorite of Curtin’s and with the Bedoya rumors, it’d probably be Maidana’s job he’d take. I like Chaco, but I’d be curious to see how Bedoya does. Just don’t play him at defensive mid. lol.

      • I don’t think you saw apathy from the Union, to be honest. You saw exhaustion. And that was coupled with a midfield trio that couldn’t connect legos together, let alone a string of passes.
        I do agree that Maidana is likely to not be here next year if Curtin is. I think that would be a shame. I understand he’s a defensive liability; I understand he’s a step – maybe step-and-a-half – slower than you’d like for your #10. I understand he gets – or appears to get – lazy sometimes. And yet, with all that, and with this group of players around him, he’s tied for the league lead in assists with the likely MVP.
        My guess is Curtin prefers to move Barnetta center and find another wing – whether Bedoya, another signing, or riding an existing player such as Ayuk.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        ‘Couldn’t connect Legos.’ Magic.

      • John Ling has not called it a season yet. Well done, sir.

      • We loaned out the “kids” (Fernandes)….

      • And Giovinco is a beast. I’ll be cheering for Toronto in the playoffs.

      • Giovinco is a beast…..especially when you just let him do whatever he wants….let him play between the lines without anyone near him……I think he loves playing the Union….we just let him go!

      • Giovinco has some serious skill agreed but I just wish diving wasn’t one of them. His flopping anytime someone got near him was appalling. That he was getting away with it was worse. The ref was definitely favoring him because he’s a wee little guy.

    • I had to chuckle following the game on Twitter. Toronto fans couldn’t stop patting themselves on the back for how awesome and dominant they looked. Guess word didn’t get to Canada that the Union played 120 minutes 3 days ago and started 5 bench players (with a 19th place roster at full strength). This game told us nothing about them, but Giovinco could carry them through 2 rounds by himself. Every Toronto free kick within 35 yards is a 50/50 proposition at worst.

      A word of caution on Wenger- I like many others thought he looked like a promising winger coming into this season. Though I will concede that defending is probably a better match for his mentality. I have to look up how much he makes before I’d advocate bringing him back.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        From memory as I am away from my data base device this weekend, north of 140 k and south of 180 k in salary, and 60 k to 80 k more than that in total compensation. Google MLS Players salaries and go to the players union address. Under club listings you find the Union and Wenger.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Pretty small outlay of money for what could be a very strong piece to your backline. Just don’t choose him to shoot a PK in the ought16 version of Open Cup final.

      • WestmontUnion says:

        Wenger is making 282k!! This is a huge outlay for a player of his abilities. I am lukewarm at best to him coming back at all next year, but could be persuaded it is a good move if his salary is 150k and he publically says he’s a FB / defender.

    • I have really come around to thinking Maidana is not destined to remain with this team, too. Yes he can pass, but he’s a liability on defense and not a goal scoring threat. You can’t have a guy like that in your #10 spot (well, you can, but why not go for someone more dynamic?)
      I recall Curtin saying after last season that he had a talk with Chaco about the need for him to score more goals. I’m sure he’s happy with the assists, but wants much more from the player in that role.

      • Curtin said last season he would like to see more goals out of both Maidana and Nogueria.
        Nogueria has 5 goals, Maidana 1.

    • I don’t think JC likes Chaco……..JC wants ballers with an engine room….Chaco has no engine room!

  2. Andy Muenz says:


  3. I’m not mad. I just “enjoyed” watching the game today. Wednesday I was mad. It’s all about the next few moves from this team… both on the field and off. Not a bad effort… almost ruined Toronto’s day.
    But agreed on the apathy in Toronto. Sad. They aren’t good enough to win anything anyway… their D is non-existent. Then again the East is terrible, so you never know.
    I also don’t hate Wenger as a OB. He could really be decent once he learns a little more and gets comfortable.

  4. Oh, Johnny, I forgot you were still there. You may go now.
    Doc Holliday was in my head today when I realized the Union were playing. The season is over and is now all about what next year will bring.
    Keep playing Wenger at OB.
    Keep playing Nando.
    Keep playing Vitoria.
    Figure this all out before we start spending money again in January.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Interesting that Vermes and SKC also started a B lineup tonight. Starters on the bench, etc.

  6. In case you guys didn’t know, you don’t need a big money player, they absolutely are not hugely important. Again, just to repeat, you do not need a giovinco or Jozy or Bradley. Just ask JP or Pappas

    • OMG!! Could they have repeated that more? My wife and I were watching and at one point she suggested we turn it into a drinking game. Down a shot every time they said it. We would have been blind stinking drunk by halftime.

      • Pappas tried to say how Giovinco changes the game individually and JP jumped on him like “NO. NO Peter. We dont need those players!”

  7. I was trying to identify the feeling I had when I was watching this game. I fully expected we would lose but I didn’t feel that dread hopelessness that I usually feel watching this team at the end of a failed season. I think that I now actually believe it’s possible this team could acquire some kind of identity and direction over the next six months ( that vision philosophy and plan thing). I don’t think the union has had that since the second season. I hope that Sugarman understands that unless the new CEO and sporting director are in place relatively soon we will likely be facing another lost season next year

  8. Sapong is NOT a winger. He proved that in KC. He needs to play up top. You can’t get him and Aristeguieta on the field together. Choose one, Curtin. And then go get a fast finisher so you can play with 2 guys up top sometimes.

    Wenger is not a soccer player. He stands around until the ball comes into his little area then tries to do something cute with it. He has no vision and
    can’t pass or cross. He’s perfect for the USL. Or for the NFL.

    One of the primary objectives for the new sporting director will be to make the Union attractive for our developmental players, like Darius Madison. Right now, with Pfeffer’s, McLaughlin’s, and Hernandez’s failure to grab hold of a spot on the 1st team, the Union have NO track record of successful player development. So no one wants to play with the Union even if they came through the academy. And we have NO players on the Olympic qualifying squad. Pretty sad for a team that always points to its academy and player development as a success and emphasis.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      ‘Things that make you go hmmm.’

    • I agree Sapong isn’t a winger – even if he can move there for 15 or 20 minutes every now and then. I’d actually love to see them run out some semblance of a 4-4-2 with both Sapong and Fernando up top. I think there’s some potential with that pairing. I also think Sapong or Fernando plus Le Toux up top could be magic, too.

    • I really hope Darius stays as far away from Philly as possible……..for his own good.

    • Look in this past fourfourtwo’s interview with Gary Neville about developing youth. Gary basically says that young players need 40-50 matches under their belt a year to develop properly!!!!!! We do the exact opposite here….how many matches has Pfeffer played since he was 16? I don’t think he has even played in that many through his whole career…..and he’s what 21 now? We don’t give our youngins any matches to test themselves….we wrap them in bubble wrap and have them train 6 days a week with the first team….then repeat the following week……..its ridiculous!

      • This better improve with the USL team right? Growing pains of a new league and slow to react ownership unfortunately (i hope…).

  9. I was going to watch the game, but I helped a neighbor uninstall Windows 10 instead.

  10. WestmontUnion says:

    All great points el Pachyderm. Following the match (and basically the season, with my conclusions drawn about 2 months ago) is that –

    1. Gaddis cannot be the starting RB next season. He is a not an MLS 2.0 player, and isn’t up to starting on a competitive team, or the worst team in the league (us). If we can’t trade him, I’d only be accepting of his place on the team if he was a best option and depth cover. Sugerman’s newly found ambition and Curtin’s coaching abilities has to be judged in how they handle situations such as this.

    2. Wenger – we called for him to be given a shot at FB all season, and it took Curtin until the last few matches of the season to realize this was the best move. Sadly this reflects really poorly on Curtin, but also has me intrigued to see how they handle this in the off season. Wenger at $150k salary (nearly half his current salary) as a FB/Winger depth would be a good move. Anything more (I.e. keeping him on the books for $250k+ would be a sad state of affairs).

    3. Vitoria has to go. Glad he scored in front of his family (Hugs!), but he isn’t worth 400k. Use the money to poach a player within the league who is capable of shoring up a defense (see: Chad Marshall type signing/player).

    4. Blake is our #1. Announce it now he’ll be the starter in 2016.

    5. Nando is an exciting prospect but only at $200k salary and not at current wage. Does he like it here enough to sign? Probably not after enduring the Sak-show that this season has been.

    • Westmont – Agreed on #1 (Gaddis can be part of a rotation, but there has to be someone else who can at least be a legitimate challenger for that spot). I also agree with #3, #4, and #5. I do disagree with #2 though – well, the part about it reflecting poorly on the coach. First, Wenger missed a good chunk of the middle of the season with a concussion and other injuries. When he was playing, he was out of form and arguably suffering some confidence issues. I don’t see you how you experiment with a player like that at a new position during games that (at the time) matter. Now’s that time. Curtin should be using these last two games to learn everything he can about players who may or may not be here next year (Vitoria, Fernando, etc.) and to answer any positional questions outstanding (Wenger at fullback, Barnetta versus Maidana at CAM, etc.)

      • WestmontUnion says:

        Agreed Scott E. I will say though that the Wenger experiment (Curtin stuck with him through 20 games where he was terrible, truly, game in game out and didn’t adapt), was all on Curtin. Assessing a players best traits and skills, and deploying them in a position to succeed is ultimately the Coaches primary job. Curtin has all season long failed to do that – See: playing White when he was in terrible form, allowing Edu to be undisciplined in the midfield, trading Williams over Gaddis and then continuing to play Gaddis, mismanaging Nando, Wenger’s extended run in the first team etc etc.

      • Well, to be fair it seems Curtin is getting better at it so hopefully he continues to progress. I also wish they never traded Williams (big mistake in my book), but after he was gone who else was going to play but Gaddis? And I fail to see how they mismanaged Nado, dude got hurt and then completely out played by Sapong. Can’t argue with White or Wenger though, they were terrible

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