Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Jozy Altidore lost his cool when he didn’t get a penalty call just before the final whistle, but the big Toronto striker’s temper tantrum did nothing to change the 1-1 scoreline. Playing in an advanced role with Tranquillo Barnetta injured, Alejandro Bedoya put Philly ahead with an exquisite chip in the first half. Jonathan Osorio’s strong work in the box set up Justin Morrow for the equalizer in the second frame, and neither team could snag a winner before the controversial ending ensured that any playoff meeting between these teams will be a fiery one.

First half

Tranquillo Barnetta did not travel to Toronto after sustaining a knee injury against Portland last week. Jim Curtin moved Alejandro Bedoya forward and used Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle as a double pivot protecting the back four. Ken Tribbett stepped in for the suspended Joshua Yaro and the rest of the team remained unchanged from a week ago.

Toronto was without the recovering Giovinco so Jordan Hamilton partnered the Hansel-hot Jozy Altidore up front. Benoit Cheyrou replaced Marky Delgado in a narrow diamond midfield with Michael Bradley at the base and Jonathan Osorio roaming in front.

Led by Bedoya, the Union came out in a high press, looking to emulate New York Red Bulls’ success against Toronto last week. It worked, and in the seventh minute Fabian Herbers was firing a low shot that Clint Irwin parried away from the home net.

Toronto had trouble getting out of their half, and Philly was ascendant along the wings. In the 25th minute, Warren Creavalle created a turnover in the Union half and Sapong advanced the ball up the left. He played Herbers inside, and the rookie twisted away from Michael Bradley and zipped a pass to Bedoya as the US international tightroped the defensive line. A wonderful turn opened the field for Bedoya and he delicately chipped Clint Irwin from the edge of the box.

It was truly a goal of sublime skill.

The home side responded by pushing fullbacks forward and looking to find Altidore through the center, but it was Philly who had the best chance to score before halftime.

Warren Creavalle’s pass into the right corner went to nobody, so Creavalle decided to run it down himself. Philly recycled play and Bedoya looked to thread Herbers through the middle. The ball was deflected but fell to Herbers six yards out, but his left-footed blast nicked Irwin’s foot and spun wide.

Second half

The Union continued to control the wide areas but Toronto started gaining control of the center. Michael Bradley found more and more time in deep areas, particularly after Alejandro Bedoya collided with a TFC defender near midfield and was slowed considerably.

Still, it was Philly who should have notched a goal. Herbers stripped Jonathan Osorio 35 yards from Toronto’s net, and Bedoya played Brian Carroll behind the defense. Carroll slid a ball through the box to Sapong, but it was too far in front of the striker and he could only slide a shot into the side netting.

By the 62nd minute, Toronto was walking the ball into Philly’s half, and Marky Delgado had replaced Will Johnson and pushed Cheyrou to the left wing. Cheyrou began pushing past a tiring Herbers, and little changed when Ilsinho replaced the rookie in the 67th minute.

In the 70th minute, Toronto pulled even by advancing up the left and attacking the box through Osorio. The Canadian international skipped past Keegan Rosenberry before cutting the ball back to an overlapping Justin Morrow. The fullback’s low shot flew past Andre Blake into the far corner.

From that point forward, the Union were simply surviving. In the 85th minute, Cheyrou’s long floated ball bounced around the box until Altidore found space to volley it toward the far post. The ball rebounded back into play and the Union were able to clear.

In the last minute of extra time, controversy arose when Altidore felt he was fouled in the box by Sapong. Both players were chasing a lose ball, but when their feet collided Ismail Elfath called Altidore for the infringement.

Toronto’s star striker lost his cool, punting the ball and receiving a caution for his efforts. It made no difference, however, and the match ended in a tie.

The Union next travel to New Jersey to face a team nominally from New York, with a showdown against the Red Bulls scheduled for 7pm EST in Harrisonburg.

Scoring Summary
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (Fabian Herbers) — 25′
TOR: Justin Morrow (Jonathan Osorio) — 70′

Disciplinary Summary
TOR: Will Johnson (unsporting behavior) — 24′
PHI: Richie Marquez (unsporting behavior) — 66′
TOR: Jozy Altidore (tantrum) –90+4′

Toronto FC Philadelphia Union
10 Shots 9
2 Shots on Target 4
5 Shots off Target 4
 3 Blocked Shots  1
 4 Corner Kicks 2
 19 Crosses 15
4 Offsides 2
6 Fouls 12
 2 Yellow Cards 1
 0 Red Cards  0
 596 Total Passes  352
82% Passing Accuracy  72%
 62.2% Possession 37.8%
44 Duels Won 38
 53.7% Duels Won % 46.3%
 9 Tackles Won 17
 3 Saves 1
 13 Clearances  20


  1. Lucky Striker says:

    scoring summary is off a bit Adam, though the percentages always favor Pontius scoring when it comes to the finishers on this club.

  2. If you had told me we would get a point out of this game, I’d have said “GREAT! I’ll take it and move on.” Its just frustrating to see the last 20 minutes turn into a full on bunker and hope and not even see all 3 subs used. Curtin absolutely must get a 3rd sub on, even if its just to waste a minute.
    Also, loved the explanation of Jozy’s card. He took some notes from Jesse “crybaby” Marsch.

  3. As soon as Ilshino came on for Herbers, I found myself saying: “Are you kidding me?”
    In my gut, I knew Toronto would equalize. In the replay, you can see Ilshino lagging outside the defensive third of the field.
    So frustrating… and preventable.
    Having said this, Toronto was absolutely robbed of a PK at the end, so Union is very lucky to come away with a point.

    • Jim only knows how to make one sub first… Ilsinho for Herbers… smh, when will you learn :(. Haha

      • In fairness, I can’t hold Ilsinho responsible for that goal. Still, our defensive shape suffers when he’s on the pitch.

      • Actually when the goal went in I thought Herbers would have been more likely to be back helping shut the play down than Ilsinho was.

      • I thought that Rosenberry steps to the ball and if Ilsinho had been tracking back properly, he would have either stepped to the ball or tracked back to help on the pass.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        You gentlemen have summarized why I would not protect Ilsinho in the expansion draft, in addition to age and cost.

    • I thought herbers was excellent again today, possibly best player on the pitch on either side (aside from Bedoya’s ridiculous finish of course). The workrate, movement, even defensive instincts were all excellent. I get bringing on the fresh legs, but that kid can ball and I find myself wanting much, much more of him every game.

    • I had the same thought. Ilsinho is great for skill highlights, worthless for actual results. Herbers has what…2 goals 7 assists to Ilsinho’s 1 and 1? I knew Toronto would score too, the immediately started attacking down the left and where do you think the goal came from? If you saw in the replay he’s literally just standing near midfield watching. And Jim has made that sub again and again, Toronto knew it was coming. He is far too predictable with his subs and tactics.

      I completely disagree about the PK, that was never a foul. Altidore doesn’t play the ball, he lunges at Sapong, lands studs on Sapong’s ankle which sends him to the turf and since Altidore is standing on his ankle he goes down too and then before the whistle goes grabs at the ball with both hands. That’s too yellows on Altidore there. Then he kicks the ball away after the whistle and screams at the ref. Another two yellows. Toronto were the lucky ones, he should have seen red twice.

  4. Fair result. It would have been nice to get the second goal (or even a third) when the Union were the better team but Toronto outplayed the Union for most of the second half and easily could have won it as well.
    Union’s biggest problem is still maintaining possession and avoiding bad turnovers.

  5. Honestly we left points on the board. But in reality getting a point is totally fine. Bedoya goal was world freakin class… Hope he’s ok… He looked off a bit after the hit he took in the 2nd half.
    The call at the end was the correct one. Crevalle was fouled first… which caused the “foul” on Jozy. It’s the kind of call that goes against the Union (and other teams too often). Happy the ref made the right one.
    And yeah you need to at least waste time with a 3rd sub… Edu anyone?! Just to get him in a game… and take some pressure off the team since Tornoto was down their throat for basically the entire 2nd half – especially at the end

    • GORGEOUS goal by Bedoya.
      I’ll have to watch it again, but I thought the ref completely blew that non-PK call at the end.

      • I was watching the TFC feed on MLS live, and their broadcast team thought Elfath got it right, the foul was on Jozy. By all means though, watch the replays and decide for yourself.

      • Interesting that the official MLS game highlight does not show the non-call sequence, but does show the post-whistle arguing.

      • I thought it was clearly not a PK call. Sapong was fouled, you can’t just stick your leg in the path of a player who is playing the ball. Same concept as a trip.

  6. So tired of watching Sapong post up and win the ball maybe 25% of the time.  It’s not working and/or teams have figured it out after a few months.  Alberg not being subbed in at least by the 75th minute is inexcuseable.

    • Sapong doesn’t even play other players in anymore. Whenever he does get a head or chest to a kick, he sends it to no one.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I actually think CJ’s hold up play is first rate… I just tire of seeing it… as half the time its being provided by a route 1 ball.

  7. I like to get on CJ, and he needs to find a way to contribute to the score sheet, but he was getting abused with no help.from the ref.
    Game changed after Bedoya took that knock. He lost pace and Delgado in for Toronto made things worse for the Union.
    I get the Ilsinho sub. It was an effort to add a goal, which almost paid off right away. I might have thrown Edu into that game for extra defense in the midfield. Guess that’s too much to ask if him yet?
    It’s funny. Union are creating chances at a good rate but not getting that finish. Toronto gets two shots on target and one goes in. From a tough angle, too. Anyway, not gonna bitch because the team got a result against an excellent team on the road and played well (particularly for 60 minutes).

    • el Pachyderm says:

      the finishing has always been a problem save the brief period when el Pescadito was here.

    • Yeah I’m starting the feel that CJ is just not the answer anymore. He has got to get confidence to just turn and shoot. Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it’s golden, but you gotta keep doing it. Even if it seems like half a chance. I was watching Liverpool earlier and a cross came into Mane and he took what I thought was a terrible touch, but he managed to turn and fire it home for a nice goal. Would love CJ to find that kind of confidence.

      • That comes from confidence and skill. What I wouldn’t give for a Firmino on the Union. And a Coutinho. CJ is just not fast enough. He’s always a moment late. I’m sure poor luck has something to do with it, but you gotta make your own luck.

  8. Old Dueteronomy says:

    I wish, I had a dime to put atop the stylus on the Gramophone…. keep the broken record from skipping.
    “it wears me out it wears me out. If I could be who you wanted all the time…time..time..time…time…time…”

  9. People were complaining at Montreal why we didn’t bring in Carroll and go defensive. Now people complain we went defensive.
    Did we deserve to win? Sure we played well enough and should have closed out this game.
    Did we deserve to tie? Yea Buddy! We didn’t close out and they caught us.
    Did we deserve to lose? Oh yea. That was totes a penalty.
    Thats soccer for you.

    • Being penned in your own end for most of the 2nd half and subbing a poor defensive player in (Ilsinho) isn’t really going defensive though, is it?

      • he is arguably one of your best offensive players. So you should theoretically be going for it.

      • You were saying that people were complaining that we went defensive. My point was, much like the MTL match, we didn’t go defensive at all with either our two subs or tactics.

  10. Old Soccer Coach says:

    My take on the Altidore foul is that it was a foul because Sapong was bring his foot forward to strike a clearance, and the foot was caught from behind, by Altidore. And Altidore was striking Sapong’s foot from behind Sapong. Sapong was in front of Altidore and not playing Altidore at all.
    Altidore is extremely lucky his temper tantrum did not earn a yellow when he kicked the ball away in frustration. Would have meant his later yellow for dissent would have been a red. The Disciplinary committee will not like his actions.

  11. 67 minutes and Curtin subs Ilsinho for Herbers. Again. 70 minutes and Toronto easily advances up the Union’s right side and scores. Does anyone out there miss the early season ability to sub LeToux in on the right at the end of the game to provide some tireless pace? Well, now we have a slow, out-of-shape Ilsinho to do fancy tricks, give the ball away, and not play defense. Not to say one Union goal was ever going to win this game or should have, but the personnel decisions and substitutions this season have been head-scratchingly bad. (Draft and picking up Pontius obviously were before the season started.)

    • I agree about LeToux. Also, there was some steam taken out of this playoff run when the most popular player in club history was traded. Did they not do their research and see Davies was not fit enough to contribute this season?

  12. He gets beat up a lot (oftentimes deservedly), so I think it’s worth saying: Warren Creavalle had himself a hell of a game, I thought. He had a few sketchy turnovers toward the end, but so did everybody else on this team so it’s hard to single him out for that. Dude brought his A game to the Great White North. Wish he’d bring that game more often…
    I would’ve preferred Ilsinho come in for Bedoya to be honest. (Of course, better yet would’ve been Alberg for Bedoya.) It was clear the knock he took slowed him down, and that gave Bradley far too much time to get his head up and pick out the long pass out of the back. A move to get Bedoya off and put some fresher legs on to chase Bradley would have been preferred to taking out Herbers.
    Oh hell, I wish Brian Carroll took the shot there instead of trying to slide Sapong through. I get that he has Irwin rushing down his throat and all, and I’m quite sure if he takes the shot and misses we’re all saying, “Man, I wish BC slid that ball over to Sapong.” Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but with the positioning of Irwin and the TFC defenders, it was going to take an inch-perfect pass to get Sapong into a good spot. Chip it over Irwin or wind up and blast it. Either woulda been preferable.
    Lastly, I thought the ref got it right at the end. And I agree with OSC that Altidore is actually lucky because he could’ve received up to three different yellows – the foul itself on Sapong; kicking the ball away after the foul call; and then his Jesse Marcsh impersonation at the end of the match (which is what I believe he was actually carded for).

  13. Six fouls committed by a team chasing the game at home is ridiculously low. Toronto doesn’t commit many fouls as a team (2nd to last in fouls committed with an average of 10.2 per match), but still, that’s a very low foul total.

  14. Definitely a penalty, but too close to call there and there were many other missed calls. I questioned the lineup before the game, but boy was I wrong. Excellent strategy by Curtin to start, put to play wonderfully, especially by Creavalles maybe best game for the Union. There were many positives to point out, but Herbers needs to be mentioned. He grows every game and looks to be a star going forward.
    However, as is the case in many games… Curtin got absolutely crushed in making adjustments. Vanney made his and Curtin didn’t and the game turned on its head. Toronto had taken control and flipped the script at least 5-10 mins before the goal and we did nothing. That Ilsinho sub was 100% decided before the game. If we have any chance at or in the playoffs, Jim must be better adjusting and must learn how to use his subs.

  15. OneManWolfpack says:

    LOVE Bedoya poop talking the TFC bench after the goal. Just wanted to add that. But hey, if I scored a goal like that and I’d run my mouth too 🙂

  16. What a beautiful chip from Bedoya! Herbers on the money with the service, but I was dumbfounded watching the control and confidence from Ale. Well done, gentlemen. I was disappointed with the defense on that surrendered goal, but have not been able to see a replay that would clearly tell me where Rosenberry’s inside help went. A zero angle shot like that is simply luck, opponent skill or divine intervention sometimes, but it seemed like goal side help for Rosenberry was missing as well. I see Marquez on the far post, and walking away after, but lost track of Tribbett. I also was wondering about the third sub, but cannot come up with a viable option to help burn the clock and protect the lead. Alberg goes to goal, and we have already seen him take the ball inside instead of the corner when possession is important. Maybe Edu or Gaddis for Creavalle to bolster the back line, but the defenders had a difficult enough job already with the Osorio and Altidore combination clicking. I would love to know Jim Curtin’s thinking there, and if I am close on his hesitation.

  17. Strong performance without Barnetta. Excellent chip by Bedoya. He is more then capable of replacing Barnetta if needed. Several chances to score wasted again. Unfortunately the Union lived down to their reputation by giving up a late goal and losing 2 points. In the next transfer window the Union must get a quality difference making striker. Jim Curtin proved yet again that his time and bench management leaves much to be desired. I know this is just wishful thinking on my part but I would love to see the Comcast Corporation take over ownership of this franchise. I just think this great fan base deserves more. In the meantime I live and die with the UNION.

  18. Can anyone explain to me the love of subbing in Davies for Pontious and then moving a gassed CJ to the wing? This does not help us offensively or defensively at ALL! CJ to his credit, was tirelessly playing defense at the end of the game and was there when needed to win balls and provide cover for Fabihno. I have never understood this sub and it continues to baffle me (I guess it shouldn’t since Curtin is so predictable).

    Side note: My take on the final sequence is not a penalty. You can not just step in front of someone while they are in the process of kicking the ball. Its a trip. Same thing as kicking at his heels. That being said, im shocked it was not called a penalty based on the strength of the refereeing and the homefield advantage perception that I felt was given TFC by the refs.

    • I think they have a very careful monitor on Pontius because of his injury history. He has played 90 a few times. But it’s working and he’s healthy so I can’t complain about subbing him. If you want to argue they should be putting someone other than Sapong there I wouldn’t argue.

  19. Was up in T-town for the game. BMO (sounds like Bimbo on the PA system) is a great park with great fans and I could not have had a better experience. I will say we were lucky to have gotten away with a point and every Canadian in the place knew it.
    The way in which the game shifted in the second half and the lack of variation in substitutes is so noticeable to everyone. A bunch of people around me had their Ilsinho jokes ready when he came in at his usual time (he looks particularly husky in the white kit). I wonder how successful Curtin can really be when his tactical plan is common knowledge.
    Shout out to CJ. He works so hard and beats his body up beyond belief. TFC supporters tried to hold it against their CBs but in the end had to give him props for bullying them.

    • Which goalkeeper was making crazy save (hint: it wasn’t ours). Better finishing and we are up 3-0 in the first half. Can’t say we got lucky to get a tie in my opinion.

  20. Still don’t understand Curtin and his lack of making a substitution. It was clear to me Bedoya was hurt and couldn’t do what he had been. Bradley got on the ball more and more cause Bedoya couldn’t keep up. To me this was a perfect time to bring in Alberg about 5 minutes after Bedoya’s knock (I think this was around 60-65 minutes) when you can clearly see he is limping and can’t full out sprint. This allows Herbers to stay on a few more minutes who was having a good game then I would’ve brought Davies in (at 70min) and then as a final sub you bring in some one to waste time if you need posession Ilsinho, if you need def bring on Edu for 5 minutes if he is on the 18 you assume he can bust out 5 minutes of holding a scoreline.

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