Union / Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio, and Jozy Altidore were all on target as Toronto FC dispatched the Union 3-1 Wednesday in the first round of the MLS Playoffs.

Giovinco gave Toronto the lead in the 15th minute after mistakes from Ken Tribbett and Andre Blake. Osorio would double the advantage just after halftime, with the Union failing to defend a set piece. Alejandro Bedoya’s 73rd minute goal would give the Union hope, but Altidore’s 85th minute goal would seal the victory for the hosts.

First half

Jim Curtin named his standard starting 11 from recent matches, with the only real surprise maybe being Warren Creavalle, playing with three broken ribs, getting the nod over Brian Carroll in the holding midfield role.

The Union started strong and would have been content with the first 14 minutes of the match, possessing well and keeping Toronto pinned back. But a mistake by Tribbett would lead directly to Toronto’s opener in the 15th minute.

The Union center back failed to deal with a bouncing ball over the top, and his touch went toward his own goal. Blake attempted to come for the loose ball but was beaten to it by Jozy Altidore, who touched it centrally for Sebastian Giovinco to volley into an empty net from 12 yards.

Toronto would come close to doubling their lead just three minutes later when Giovinco latched onto a loose ball after the Union could not clear a corner kick, but Blake was down well to his right to deny the Italian a second.

Philadelphia struggled to find a way back into the match as the half wore on. Tranquillo Barnetta’s set plays gave the Union their best opportunities, with C.J. Sapong’s 36th minute header on target the closest they would come to troubling Clint Irwin in the Toronto net.

Second half

Toronto doubled their lead in the 48th minute through Osorio. Giovinco’s corner kick was flicked on by Nick Hagglund at the near post, and Osorio was completely unmarked at the far post to tap in and give the hosts the 2-0 lead.

Curtin looked to Ilsinho in the 59th minute, with the Brazilian replacing the ineffective Fabian Herbers. The wide man made an immediate impact with some clever dribbles down the right side.

Roland Alberg was brought into the fray in the 70th minute, replacing Sapong. Chris Pontius moved into the center forward position temporarily.

The Union pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute through Bedoya. The midfield man, who had looked off the pace for much of the match, stayed onside after Toronto failed to clear a Union corner kick. Tribbett, Ilsinho, and finally Richie Marquez kept the ball alive, and Bedoya was able to find a touch and finish into the right side of Irwin’s goal.

Charlie Davies would be Curtin’s last roll of the dice, replacing iron man Keegan Rosenberry in the 83rd minute.

But it would be Toronto on the counterattack shortly after that would kill off the match. Giovinco latched onto the ball just inside the Union half and drive at the Philadelphia backline. He lofted a ball across to the left side for Altidore, who originally miscontrolled his touch. Tribbett again failed to deal with a bouncing ball, with this one coming off his foot and straight back to Altidore. Tribbett was able to just barely block the striker’s shot, but the ball tucked into the near post past Blake.

Toronto will go on to play New York City FC in the conference semi-finals this Sunday.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry (Charlie Davies 84′), Ken Tribbett, Richie Marquez, Fabinho, Warren Creavalle, Alejandro Bedoya, Tranquillo Barnetta, Chris Pontius, Fabian Herbers (Ilsinho 59′), C.J. Sapong (Roland Alberg 70′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Brian Carroll

Toronto FC
Clint Irwin, Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund, Michael Bradley, Steven Beitashour, Armando Cooper (Benoit Cheyrou 70′), Jonathan Osorio (Will Johnson 66′), Justin Morrow, Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore (Tosaint Ricketts 88′)
Unused Subs: Mark Bloom, Alex Bono, Josh Williams, Marco Delgado

Scoring summary
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco (Jozy Altidore) –15′
TOR: Jonathan Osorio (Nick Hagglund, Sebastian Giovinco) — 47
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (Richie Marquez, Ilsinho) — 73′
TOR: Jozy Altidore — 85′

Disciplinary summary
TOR: Michael Bradley (unsporting behavior) — 14′
PHI: C.J. Sapong (unsporting behavior) — 25′
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (unsporting behavior) –43′
TOR: Jozy Altidore (unsporting behavior) –45+1′
PHI: Ken Tribbett (unsporting behavior) — 90′

Toronto FC Philadelphia Union
14 Shots 8
5 Shots on Target 3
6 Shots off Target 2
 3 Blocked Shots  3
 8 Corner Kicks 4
 17 Crosses 23
2 Offsides 0
9 Fouls 16
 2 Yellow Cards 3
 0 Red Cards  0
 343 Total Passes  479
69% Passing Accuracy  75%
 41.9% Possession 58.1%
65 Duels Won 53
 64% Duels Won % 46%
 13 Tackles Won 17
 2 Saves 2
 34 Clearances  19


  1. For the last two months, the club has looked like they were tired of playing soccer. Hopefully they can use the offseason to find the fun in the game again. And hopefully the coach begins to realize that, for the players, knowing you’re starting or subbing or not playing every single game no matter what kind of diminishes the interest.

    • They haven’t been much fun to watch over the last two months either… little offense and poor defending. They didn’t bother to show up in many of those games.

    • This only applies to like 2 or 3 players on the team though. Most of the backups knew they were backups and were not going to play a lot. Maybe some should have gotten some time but we are honestly talking like 2 games. And the ones the team views as having potential were playing on Steel.

  2. A better effort than some of the games in the last 2 months, but no where near good enough.
    Toronto is clearly Tribbett’s kryptonite. A really poor game from him. That team ate his lunch all season long. But he is a backup and he must be treated as such next season.
    This team must be improved and I believe ES will do it. I look forward to what happens in the offseason.
    Thanks to Barnetta for everything he brought to the team. Enjoy home. And hopefully Blake is back next year but I’m thinking that might’ve been the last one.
    Not that it matters, but a criticism – Davies should’ve come on fro Crevalle or Tribbett – not Rosenberry. Keegan offers you something going forward. The other two don’t.
    As we say in Philly – there’s always next year.

  3. not a bad season, young players make mistakes and will improve, but the tip of the spear is dull
    can Earnie sharpen it for next year?

  4. Really missed Yaro tonight. Tribbett overperformed the first half of the season but then it caught up with him. The usual poor set piece defending on the second goal, that’s the number one thing to work on as a team next preseason (obviously with several new players).
    Definitely a hopeful spark in the last 30 minutes. 4.5 months until next season starts.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      With respect and a twinkle in my eye, next season has already begun.
      There are at least three ACademy U-18s who are trying to prove they deserve full time practice with the Steel and have been working at it for nearly a month.
      Now comes the expansion draft and the decisions about whom to protect.
      Now come player interviews and decisions about who is dismissed and who remains with the team.

      • I doubt the expansion draft is going to be hard to navigate this year with all the generation adidas/homegrowns and players leaving.

      • Well, for example could an expansion team grab the rights to a player? Lets say, Chris Pontius. His contract is up. I have no doubt the Union would like to resign him, given he scored 12 goals and appears to be over the injury bug. Could Atlanta grab his rights? If so, the Union would have to protect him.
        Now apply the same question to all the other players who are at least technically out of contract, and there are at least some decisions to make.
        Lastly, I expect Blake will come off GA, so they’ll need to protect him.

      • Yeah, but you don’t have to protect herbers or yaro, i’m not convinced blake is coming of GA after only 1 real year of play time. We don’t have to worry about barnetta or edu. I think it’s easy to make the list of players honestly.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    And now we wait….
    … the question is –
    What are we waiting for.
    Unpack that how you would like.

    • Not much. New #6, #10, striker, LB? Plus “2 deep!” Replace a too expensive Pontius. What to do with Roland? 2 keepers, too (sorry, John). When is Blake sold? Big Ern will earn every kroner this offseason.

      • I bet bedoya is going to be the 10 next year. Also, I think Pontius was on the last year of his contract so i bet they will re-sign him at a more reasonable number. They should, anyway

      • $425k for 12 goals was a steal. Too expensive Phil? A more reasonable number?

        Take a look at the MLS goals list. Pontius tied for 11th with Lampard / Kamara / Wondo. Maybe SJ will try and resign Wondo at a more reasonable number than his $650k or NER will try and talk Kei down from his $1M for the same output. If Pontius doesnt get $600k on at least a 2 year deal, I’d fire his agent. There’s plenty of $ once you dump Edu’s albatross contract.

      • Agreed, Pontius was a steal at that salary, given his production level.

      • What about keeping Edu if he’s willing to sign at a much lower cost and/or a heavily incentive laden contract based on playing time?

      • I meant looking ahead Pontius will be priced above our stated business model. Clearly he was a steal this year. My bad

      • I’m interested if we stick with our same nominal formation too or if we are playing to switching to something else or willing to play with different looks. Will definitely be an interesting off-season.

    • November 9th?
      a striker?
      just more players of varying quality to see if they can fit in better than the ones we currently (and some of whom may not for much longer) have?
      more “trust the process” statements?
      I am looking for more players promoted from within the club system. build a culture. takes more than a few seasons to do so, so lay off the ADD meds during this process. my eye doctor said to allow my eyes to rest by gazing in an unfocused way into the distance … a peaceful offseason to all.

  6. Thank you for the summary, Mike. I fervently hope/pray/dream next year’s playoff result is more rewarding task for you!
    And thanks to Ed, Adam, Tim, Staci, and Dan and rest of PSP crew for awesome job. Season was exciting to see the changes taking place…still work to do.
    Keep up the great news and coverage…and of course continue the terrific commentary…OSC, John ODonnell, omw, cszack, Pete, all4u, andy, doc union, el p and rest.


    Ps. Congrats, Ed!!!!!

  7. Lots and lots of work to do. Tribbett was doomed from the start.
    Biggest difference between the two teams tonight, really, they have players who can score. Period. I know we will be trying to keep or rebuild the entire midfield, but until we get a scorer it’s all for nothing.
    Young defenders will improve, hopefully Blake will stay.
    Man that end of this season, huge huge buzzkill, 3 months of the same old same old dirt. My hope lies in OSC and his view of the future stars.

  8. Two season-long bugaboos sealed fate tonight: set-piece defense, giving up a goal soon after intermission.
    IMHO reflects poorly on staff – before and during game. ES can’t be sanguine about either.
    (saved “bugaboo” all year, everyone).
    Peace Out

    • I would add one more bugaboo, individual mistakes, in this case physical ones rather than mental. On 2 of the 3 goals, it was a poor attempted clearance that left the ball for Altidore to tear the Union apart.

      • For sure. Is that to be expected with the youngest roster in the league? I will give credit to JC for handling the rookies. That’s one of his strengths and I would guess it’s partly his youth and playing experience. Blake, Rosenberry, Herbers, Yaro, Tribbett – not to mention BSFC in training – all thrived this year and credit to Jim’s style for that at least in part. Combine that with learning to do some things differently and Curtin could have a bright future in this league. I really hope so, but not at the expense of mismanaging the first team again.

  9. Agree with above sentiments. And I think Union staff has to be shaken up. Sideline reporter commented that Union bench was silent, assuming that meant they were pessimistic about chances. Little did she realize that Curtin and cronies are quiet and downcast for EVERY game. Curtin about as vibrant a sideline personality as a slug, and substitutions and tactical adjustments are sluggish too. On the other hand, PSP staff is awesome and makes being a Union fan a little less soul-wrenching. Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving and winter!

    • Steve the downer says:

      You just described Bill Belichick.

    • Being the loudest/most demonstrative/most obnoxious person in the room doesn’t have anything to do with being a good leader…at all.
      Maybe you’d better stick to picking on what Curtin wears Ben, it has about the same amount of credibility.

  10. Earnie – you have to get us some speed in the attacking half. Ilsinho, Alberg, Herbert have got to be the slowest attacking players in the league.

    • I do agree a fast winger is necessary, even if it’s only as a sub.

      • Did anyone see the LA game what about Emanuel Boateng looked like a mini version of Ayuk but faster and better on the ball. Maybe he is up for grabs?

      • I bet we could sign Antoine Hoppenot on the cheap… Or Danny Cruz, maybe? (tongue firmly planted in cheek…)

  11. The team put in a good effort. And they really weren’t that much Toronto’s inferior had it not been for the back line resembling more a Three Stooges routine than a top flight defense. Feel bad for Tribett. He really screwed up.

    I definitely noticed the lack of pace. Herbers and Alberg betrayed several counter attacking opportunities because they just don’t have the speed.

    Ernie impressed me last season. Hope he does the same before next.

  12. Scoreline doesn’t reflect the game I watched (at least 70 minutes or so). The boys held their own from what I could glean. But WC and KT did not play well and it showed. I expected nothing from the game and went to bed indifferent. Thanks for the playoff appearance.
    Onwards to [a Curtin-free?] 2017.

  13. All I can say is goodbye Trillo, you will be missed.

  14. So it was pretty much what was expected. Same lineup. Same story. Same outcome. Plenty of arguments have been made for changed lineups as varied as you like. For whatever reason, the manager felt none of those options were good enough. Either he’s right or he’s wrong, and it’s up to Ernie to decide. But for me, sitting on the bench like a lump on a log, and having the team do the same old things, is not really coaching. The team has plenty of flaws and we all saw that, but the lack of searching for solutions to problems that have been apparent for months is almost negligent.
    Once again it seems it will be an exciting off-season. Let’s see what Ernie can do with prep time and having his feet wet.

    • YES I AGREE.

      People can make excuses about lack of talent or overachieving all they want, but I can only look at it like Curtin was faced with a big problem at the end of this season. And not only did he fail in stopping it (or even slowing it down), he failed by doing nothing at all.

      Here are some options that DON’T involve crazy ideas or playing players out of position:

      – Sit Sapong – Probably for Herbers
      – That opens up RM – start Illsinho, maybe even Bedoya or Barnetta
      – That opens up the chance for Alberg to start at 10
      – Maybe give Alberg another shot up top with any combination of the above options


      • Too many coaching books, not enough out of the box thinking.

      • I’m about 60/40 or maybe 75/25 for keeping Curtin over dismissing him. I appreciate arguments for sacking him, but I think the Union’s greatest obstacles are roster related.

        That said, I think there’s a 0% chance Stewart fires him this season. I would bet a box of doughnuts he’ll be back next season, and I’m pretty confident he’ll get the entire year.

        Why? Stewart sang Curtin’s praise to T. Twellman yesterday before the game. Said he is really impressed by the way Curtin thinks about the game. Also, I think if this team looks to develop young talent more, Curtin is an excellent coach for young guys. Looks what he’s gotten out of this rookie class. If he bears responsibility for what went wrong, he also deserves credit for what went well.

      • Agreed, Pete. Curtin will be back. ES is at training every day and his comments to Twellman tells us that he’s happy with Curtin as his manager right now.

      • I do agree Curtain will probably be back. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t either.
        Maybe Curtain is good at getting the best out of young players. But why couldn’t he get his back four to hold a line the whole year? Then running C.J. out game after game when it was clear he needed a break. It’s clear he has no idea when to rest players.
        Does Curtain bring things to the table? Yes. Do I think he can/does make a difference on game day? No. I don’t see it. I don’t think what he brings can consistently win games.

      • Well…what kind of doughnuts? There’s a sliding scale of donut arbitrage. A box of timbits is > than a dozen from DD. Krispy Kreme is up there. Federal weighs in with their fancy and cinnamon. Are you offering odds? I’d bet a dozen DD for a dozen fancy Federal Curtin gets the sack.

      • Tasty thoughts there, scottymac. I’ll wager a dozen from Daryl’s on Keswick Avenue, Glenside. Good stuff. Curtin is here for the duration next season.

      • good donuts!

      • I think that we saw on Sunday that Herbers playing as a lone forward with Alberg behind him in the 10 doesn’t work. Plus, Herbers started on the wing and was pretty poor last night so I’m not sure how he would be a better option than Sapong when at least Sapong helps you keep the ball a little bit.

        If you’re going to criticize Curtin, you’re focusing on the wrong area. Our real problem is at the other end of the pitch. Defensively, we were all over the place and totally unorganized.

      • Herber’s touch is criminal. A buddy of mine has been in my ear about it for months and I finally objectively assessed it the last month or so and he’s dead right… the kid’s touch almost continually fails him….
        Regarding your other point about defense… cannot possibly begin to argue this point… on multiple levels: from Richie Marquez spending almost every chance on the ball lumping it up the field the last five months to Ken Tribute’s CLEAR overwhelmed state at this level… his mistakes led directly to 2 TFC goals because he is so totally overmatched at this level… please once and for let’s move on from Mr. Tribett. Swell guy…. that’s a 1-1 game with only moderate play from him and then just maybe CHAP CHAP Toronto gets a bit tight…
        When a Georgetown rookie is consistently the only player displaying advanced technical skill..we have problems.

      • Agree on Marquez and Tribbett.

        Tribbett seems physically overmatched from a speed and strength standpoint. Even when he did a good job vs Larin a couple of weeks ago, it was all desperation type of defending with him ending up on the ground constantly. He can’t improve his speed much, but can hit the weight room as well as improve his reading of the game. At best, he’s a back up centerback at this level.

        BTW – I’ve always viewed Herbers as a younger and less expensive version of LeToux. A runner who can finish at times, but is clearly not a technical, possession type of player.

      • I think an under discussed talking point is that none of our CBs or Goalie took change back there to organize things. That to me is needed. Probably need to bring a vet in at one of those 3 spots next year.

      • Agreed, we’ve lacked an organizer back there all year and it came to roost. Blake’s acrobatic saves early this season masked this deficiency.

      • How nice would it have been to have Edu there next to Marquez last night?

        I think in retrospect, shipping LeToux off was a mistake. Not a big mistake, but a mistake. The one thing he could give you is serious pace on a wing. He had a wooden touch, but was a good chance creator and always a threat.

      • Not saying there is a magic pill here, but that change was AFTER he trotted out the same starting lineup and watched it failed for the umpteenth time.

        And I agree on defense, but I cut him some slack and I understand Yaro was hurt. If I wanted to be picky though I would have wanted Curtin to committ to Yaro over Tribbett MUCH earlier.

  15. This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper
    T.S. Elliot “The Hollow Man”
    I couldn’t watch the game, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sad. I’ve suffered these past eight games watching a team I love waste the talents they assembled.
    I’m eagaerly awaiting my chance to stand in the River End and cheer next spring. A “new” team, as I feel there will be a bit of turnover this off-season.
    I’m sure we’ll spend the next few weeks/months speculating about and discussing the inevitable changes, so I’ll avoid that here, with one exception.
    As much as I like Curtin…Sigi is available, and Curtin has made enough questionable decisions from line-ups to substitutions, to warrant a look at alternatives.
    Is the hazard-tape up at the CUD? I feel we need it.

  16. First thing on the game that I saw not bad first ten minutes and I thought the team clearly looked like they had more movement without Sapong. Sapong while trying hard as his usual didn’t move on the offensive side of the ball not making space for the rest of the team. I think if you keep him you teach him how to play on the wing could be interesting to see Pontius and Sapong both on the wings as their better in the air than most wingers and they could easily cut in allowing for the overlap. I will miss Barnetta and his class ….one of my wishes for the offseason find a professional like this to bring to the team. Bedoya while I think he will improve just does not give me the same feeling and enjoyment that I got from Nogs, Barnetta, and even Mondragon. Also at least they finally put something in the net as it had been over 250 minutes since they scored a goal. While Tribbet made some mistakes can’t put it all on him he clearly had some very good plays and Toronto and him do not match up well. Blake looked off on the night and if I am Europe I’m not calling anytime soon, which could be good for us. There were some spurts of good play, but largely it was like what we had been seeing.

  17. The goals they gave up were still annoying me this morning.
    The first, Tribbet flubs a clearance. Not good, but Marquez is in good position to cover him meaning that Blake has no real need to leave his line. Horrific decision by one of our best players on the season.
    On the second goal both Marquez AND Tribbet decide to abandon their marks to go for the ball. Neither wins the ball and it trickles through to the now wide open Toronto players on the back post that they were supposed to be marking. If Osorio didn’t hammer it in Moor would have.
    Third goal, bad giveaway (and quite possibly a foul) gives Altidore a chance to play in Giovinco. Marquez recovers but Fabinho and Tribbet are so concerned with Giovinco they pay no mind to the fact that Bedoya has two players to deal with by himself on the back post. Altidore wins the header over Bedoya, Tribbet flubs another clearance and that’s all folks.

  18. Lucky Striker says:

    Creavalle on ribs:

    “Hey, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be”………

  19. For most of that game I sat there screaming at the tv about a couple things…
    1. Why are we playing like a team that has no identity in possesion, no outlet, no vision, no clear idea of what it wants to do when it possesses the ball
    2. Why is Jim at halftime announcing to the whole world who his first sub is going to be…..not like we didn’t know it but maybe keep something a little close to the vest.
    3. Why does bedoya look like he has no idea what hes doing out there for large stretches of time. He had on my count at least 3 turnovers that could have led to goals and that cant happen from your high price DP and supposed team leader.
    4. Ilsihno actually impressed me tonight for the first time since the redbulls game when they came back to tie it 2-2. He brought life to the game and actually seemed to sometimes give a crap. Imagine if he ever cared all the time and got into shape.
    5. Kenny Kenny Kenny….though not to be outdone fabihno with some otherwise horrendous defending decisions.
    6. Not that it affected the game but man does toledo let altidore get away with murder especially in the build up to that third goal…..also MLS reffing in general is just so LOL funny

    I loved the fight they started with and how they fought their way back in the second half…..we will miss and love you quilo for all you brought to this team and at times seeming to be the only one who gave a damn what happened late this season.

    Overall not the best not the worst but more of the same. Hoping for better next year.

    • It’s funny…the manager was quoted post game as saying essentially he thought the Union took the game to Toronto in the second half and while on appearance it would seem that way…. it was actually Toronto that took their foot off the pedal and allowed the Union to possess after they happened to bring in more possession type players in Ilsinho and A. Toronto when into prevent defense after displaying from the 20th minute on they were infinitely better.
      I said to my wife what the F is Toronto doing… don’t they know 2-0 is the most dangerous of all scoreline and sure enough they were getting a bit chappy chappy when Bedoya decided to be in the right place at the right moment and putting his stamp an otherwise totally irrelevant performance…. and of course again…until the total guffaw which led to 3rd goal… and lights out.

      • I remember being a U-10 player and our coach telling us exactly that about a 2-0 lead…..its amazing that they sat back and tried to absorb pressure. They had us dead to rights when on the front foot…if not for poor and slow play from cooper they would have had 3-4 goals in the first half.
        I feel bad calling for anyones job but im so sick of ‘the drape’ and his blocking off the light of the future and the beautiful game. His fundamental lack of trying something new or different and inability to adapt even simple tactical changes is infuriating.
        Funny thing about wives…..mine came walking in right after bedoya scored and said why arent you more excited, they are back in the game?? My answer Its so union to give us hope and take it away….to the Cliff of Union Despair i go

  20. The Little Fish says:

    Please find us a striker Earnie. Please. It would be so nice to put fear in an opponent. Let’s do that next year!

    • Agree. While we have many needs as listed before striker is #1 to me by a large margin. Spend the money on a striker. We need a legit one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *