Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 3-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union traveled north of the border, hoping to shock the best team in MLS.

They did not.

Sebastian Giovinco scored a magnificent free kick and right back Nicolas Hasler added a second as the Reds raced out to a 2-0 first half lead. Jozy Altidore provided the insurance in the second half as Toronto saw out the 3-0 victory with ease.

The Union were embarrassed by TFC, who remain unbeaten at BMO Field this season. The hosts cruised to a league-leading 53 points, and a Supporters’ Shield looks all but guaranteed.

Star goalkeeper Andre Blake returned to the Union starting lineup for the first time since he shut out New England 3-0 on July 2. The Jamaican international was a welcome sight after missing the last eight matches due to Gold Cup duty and consequent injury.

The first eleven also included center back Oguchi Onyewu and midfielder Ilsinho, both returning from injury. Rookie winger Marcus Epps earned his third start, and left back Fabinho made his first appearance since June 18.

Blake recorded his first save in the seventh minute. Giovinco made a run down the right side of the box with the ball at his feet, but the Union goalie showed no rust as he read the threat and came off his line to take away the net. The Italian could do nothing but send a shot straight at the keeper.

But it wasn’t long before Giovinco scored Toronto’s first of the night and his 13th of the year.

Dancing just outside of the 18-yard box, the diminutive striker found a lazy foot from Onyewu and earned a free kick 19 yards from net. With the ball placed slightly to the left of the center of goal, the setting felt eerily like the situation Giovinco scored on the Union from last season. The former MVP’s right foot curled the ball, quickly and powerfully, into the far right corner. Blake was frozen, as his view perhaps hampered by the wall.

Philadelphia’s only first half chance came in the 19th minute.

High pressure from midfielder Haris Medunjanin forced a turnover in Toronto’s half. With space in front, the Bosnian pushed forward and tried an audacious chip from distance just outside of the final third. Goalkeeper Alex Bono was off his line, but the shot sailed inches over the bar.

The Canadians doubled their lead in the 30th minute. After a Giovinco free kick struck the wall, Hasler found space on the resulting corner. The Liechtenstein international started his run from the edge of the box and was a clear target for midfielder Victor Vázquez as he delivered the ball. The clean header was not lacking in force as it deflected off the crossbar and into the net. It was the fullback’s second goal in his last two games, and second on the season.

As referee Armando Villarreal blew the halftime whistle, the Union were staring at a familiar stat line: The visitors once again finished a half without registering a shot on goal.

Philadelphia was better in the second half. The Reds, however, lacked urgency, sensing they could save energy for a weekend tilt in Montreal.

Despite this, the home side soon had their third of the night.

In the 57th minute, Fabinho cleared the ball to no one in particular. Toronto collected the ball 30 yards form goal and worked it to Altidore. A quick give-and-go with Vazquez sprung the striker to Blake’s right. As the keeper came forward the U.S. international lifted a cool finish into the far corner for his ninth of the year.

Philadelphia’s best moments came in the 62nd minute where they registered their only two shots on goal of the game.

First, Ilsinho found space centrally just outside of the box. The Brazilian unleashed a wicked shot that was met by and equally brilliant save. Bono dove to his left and, at full extension, used the tips of his fingers to deflect the attempt off the post and out of play.

For the resulting corner, head coach Jim Curtin introduced winger Chris Pontius for an ineffective Fafa Picault. Pontius rose to meet Medunjanin’s ball, but his first touch of the game was straight at Bono, who parried it away.

Denied twice, Philadelphia’s drive waned as they resigned themselves to another disappointing result. When the final whistle blew, the Union could only look ahead. They have another difficult contest this Saturday at home. It will be their first ever match with expansion side Atlanta United.

If it resembles tonight’s performance, the fans at Talen Energy Stadium will be vocal- and it won’t be “Doops” raining down on the Boys in Blue.

Three points
  • “Goalvinco”. Wow, is he spectacular! Giovinco is a wizard with the ball and a joy to watch. His free kick was pure magic. This most amazing thing: It was just another typical from the league’s best player (sorry David Villa).
  • Playoffs? That dream is officially dead. While the Union sit just six points out, the Red Bulls and Impact have two games in hand while Atlanta has three.
  • What’s next? It’s time for youth. While Onyewu was a nice story, Joshu Yaro needs game time to hone is raw talent. The same is true for Derrick Jones, Keegan Rosenberry, and Adam Najem.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Oguchi Onyewu, Fabinho; Alejandro Bedoya (Warren Creavalle 79′), Haris Medunjanin; Ilsinho , Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault (Chris Pontius ’62); C.J. Sapong (Jay Simpson 72′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, Roland Alberg

Toronto FC

Alexander Bono; Nicolas Hasler (Steven Beitashour 72′), Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow; Victor Vázquez (Jay Chapman 79′), Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Marco Delgado (Jason Hernandez 68′); Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Unused subs: 
Clint Irwin, Armando Cooper, Raheem Edwards, Tosaint Ricketts

Scoring summary

TOR: Sebastian Giovinco — 10′
TOR: Nicolas Hasler (Victor Vázquez) — 30′
TOR: Jozy Altidore (Victor Vázquez) — 57′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Fabinho — 28′ (unsporting behavior)
TOR: Nicolas Hasler — 67′ (unsporting behavior)

Toronto FC Philadelphia Union
8 Shots 13
4 Shots on Target 2
3 Shots off Target 9
1 Blocked Shots 2
4 Corner Kicks 7
10 Crosses 17
3 Offsides 4
5 Fouls 10
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
599 Total Passes 382
87% Passing Accuracy 83%
60.3% Possession 39.7%
36 Duels Won 33
52% Duels Won % 48%
10 Tackles Won 9
2 Saves 1
13 Clearances 17


  1. Not much to say, the difference in quality tonight was obvious. Union have a lot to do in the offseason just to be competitive.

  2. Started watching the match. Around the 7th minute, I was already flipping through the other channels. After the first goal, I went for a drink. After the second, I turned the game off. I can see I didn’t miss much.

  3. Not to be Mr Sunny about everything but let’s be realistic. Right now Toronto isn’t losing to many people and when they win they are doing it in style. The Union needs help , you don’t need a coaching certification to see it. I’m not going to criticize the coach since I think many of his ideas are good but the execution just doesn’t happen. Who’s fault is that? Everyone’s. I’m not signing any checks but I will continue supporting the team and there efforts. Bad or good. Last year the team had a decent year . It was exciting and gave a lot of people a fun time at the park. I enjoy watching soccer. I enjoy watching the Union . Sure when they play poorly it’s frustrating . The last game was a perfect example of frustration. Tonight I was hoping for something better but Toronto was just too strong and I felt the team was still disappointed about the San Jose game. Yes they get paid to be professionals but they are still humans. If you hate the team so much you are entitled to complain and stop attending . I will continue to go and watch . I will hope that the powers that be , make good decisions and players continue to grow and develop . We are not even in the top ten for franchise worth. Sure a financially modest team can excel . Maybe for a year or two but in the end the wealthier teams usually win out. We as a fan base can have an effect who gets involved with the team at the financial level. If it wasn’t for the SOB we wouldn’t even have a team. We have a nice stadium, it’s not the best but it’s good, it’s in a tough town but the organization has gone to great lengths to keep us safe, we have an academy that is just starting to produce athletes that are making marks. We even have a legit 2nd team. It’s giving a lot of area players an opportunity . Finally yes it would be great having a team that consistently excels in the league. The reality ( duh) we just don’t have that yet for many reasons. So complain away but my son and I will continue to cheer and hope for the best . We will be dissapointed for today but there’s a game on Saturday and we will cheer for the Union. It would be fun to,see a few balls go by Guzman !

    • Wow a positive comment? I’m usually the positive one but this was needed even for me. It’s frustrating as all get out but I agree with your points, thanks for the comment.

    • I don’t hate the team. I hate the way it is run. I hate the way it is coached. I hate the way it plays. I hate seeing the same issues year after year. I hate the inability to change formations because it’s too hard.( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJNDTfGRkmE )
      I don’t hate the team. I hate having my time wasted though. But by all means, if these things sound like fun to you, enjoy to your heart’s content.

    • Chupa Chup says:

      An academy producing athletes? Is that the goal?

  4. No shot im going to the last game in my package vs seattle in october. They’ll be lucky to get 6-7k at that one. Only going to game sat because im going with a group for free.

  5. This team is lost. Curtin’s abject demeanor can’t be helping. I understand that Fafa, Ilsinho, Pontius, Bedoya, Epps, Fabinho, Medunjanin, etc aren’t world-beaters. But are they really that bad? Can no combination of tactics, formation, coaching, and starters make this roster competitive in this league? Knowing that we’re not going to get a multi-million dollar man like Giovinco, shouldn’t the FO concentrate on getting a coach who will try something different and is minimally accomplished and experienced? And is a little less lifeless on the bench? Just a thought…

    • I totally agree Ben. I want a new coach with a record of success before he gets here. Toronto’s coach was standing and communicating with his players even when he was up 3-0. Curtin sits there unphased because I believe he doesn’t know how to adapt to situations. Although I’m glad to see Fabi and Ilsinho back in the line up. Epps is horrible , should never start. He should wear a superman cape when he plays since he tries to be a hero every time he has the ball. The Defense is not disciplined at all. Two games in a row our defense commits and fails to stay soft in critical spots. Every area on the field needs work. Bad , just bad. It begins with a new and EXPIERIENCED coach.

  6. Zizouisgod says:

    We will never going to beat TFC the way that they are playing, but I really hoped to see a better response from the team. This is where you give Yaro another run out to get him back on the field, same with Rosenberry and Jones. Try to get them back on the pitch, feeling productive and part of the 1st team. Perhaps their confidence returns and their performances turn around to give the team something to build on for 2018.

    Instead we ran out a bunch of late 20’s/30-something starters in a midweek game on the road where the team has been terrible this year and are playing the best team in the league. You want to renew ST holders? That’s not the way to do it when you preach how you want to build around youth. Do as you say and show some foresight in building a club for the future.

    Opportunity lost.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      FYI – Average ages of both teams’ starting XI:

      Union – 28.2 years

      TFC – 27.5 years

    • Curtin did what he was supposed to do for a midweek game, he rotated in 5 new players. Yes, some were older, but if he goes back to his “best” lineup for Saturday he’s correctly focusing on the two Saturday games where he has the best chance of getting a result.

      • I don’t disagree with that thought-process so why play Bedoya 79 min and Medujanin the entire 90?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Medunjanin the entire 90 because no one else can do what he does.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed, OSC, but he’s still a 32 yr old player who probably would have benefited from not going 90 in a match that the Union were highly unlikely to win.

  7. Disjointed, depressing drivel. Do we even watch the remaining games?
    Edit: Realistically, we’re stuck with Curtin at least into 2018, aren’t we?

  8. Jim Curtain lost me for good tonight. Outside of CJ, not a single player from last season has improved, and I doubt an old CB has influenced that a single bit.

    If you preach developing young players, but suck at developing young players, just what in the hell are we supposed to show up for? I have two games left in my flex plan. If I don’t see Najem, Rosenberry, Marquez, Epps, and Jones on the field, I’m going to be pissed.

    • Jones should def. be starting.

    • Epps played with courage his whole shift, don’t you think? He’s got potential.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        No, he seemed hesitant and indecisive to me. Even when he got into dangerous spots, he seemed to always be of two minds when figuring out his next move.

      • You play the kids and this is what you can expect from time to time

      • I was watching him and thought that he is too predictable, in taking the ball endline and crossing to the spot too regularly. In fact, what I saw reminded me of Freddy Adu much too much- squaring his shoulders and trying to beat the one man with a series of ball moves than cutting to the end too often. Maybe I am missing something, but it wasn’t particularly comforting to me. Even when he did fake a cut to the left, it was to set up the endline run. I was hoping for more, and will watch for him to be a bit more creative in his attack. As an old defender, I thought that he was too predictable by half.

  9. This team is really bad and the fans know it. Crowds have been very weak this year. 0 sellouts and the SOB area doesn’t even fill up which is sad. Big offseason for ES. Just adding a 10 won’t do anything because they currently can’t get the ball their. Need to replace the entire front 4 and yes that includes our striker who I know some love but one who can’t create his own shot or dribble by any defender.

  10. This team doesn’t gel at all. They don’t move off the ball at all. What the hell do they work on at practice ??? Toronto was so good because every player after a pass or releasing the ball would move and try to create space. They all knew what their next move would be. They also played to feet and rarely lofted a ball to the forwards to run on to. They were patient and didnt force the ball. Union, Cutin, take a note.

  11. I put on a union shirt and had intention to watch but not the heart. Not even later. The 4 min highlight reel I watched just now in laughable suspense was all I needed. I’d like have turned it off after goal 2.

    Let’s look good at home on Sat.

  12. Let’s hope boy’s at the academy will develop fast. Other than that Curtin and Sugar daddy (irony of the name) must go.

  13. I think this game should be the last for Curtin. It won’t be for no other reason than the quick turnaround to play Atlanta.
    I’m not going to argue his competence or non competence but I guess out of the philosophy of a lifelong Hockey fan that sometimes players just tune out a coach and a fresh face and fresh ideas help.

    I think we are at that point.

  14. 700 chopper says:

    The coaching is comical ,the management is clueless and the team is total shit except Blake I think that about sums it up

  15. The game last night was the example of MLS 1.0 vs MLS 2.0 !! This is the exact result of the ever changing & developing league with clubs willing to move to the next level and put up serious $ for the quality players and coaching that elevate their club to the next level, MLS 2.0 !! It is quite obvious the Union ownership is NOT & WILL NEVER be interested in winning in this league as they continue to squander the little bit of MLS allocated $ WITHOUT spending a penny of the ownership $ in order to be competitive in the MLS 2.0 !! So being stuck in the MLS 1.0 due to ownership investors who care NOTHING ABOUT WINNING, and are waiting for the right, best return time to sell “THEIR INVESTMENT” so they can walk away with possibly 10x’s their initial money they put up, is “EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE STUCK UNTIL THEY CASH OUT”!! You may be smart business men but you are HORRIBLE OWNER$!!! Give this club and it’s supporters a break and sell the club and take your big pile of well earned/invested $ and get out of town PLEASE!!! Do it in the dark of night if you must, we won’t care, because we as the repeatedly lied to fan base want NO MORE OF YOUR BULLSHIT OFF SEASON SHELL GAME you have fed us year after year after year after year. Just sell the club and leave, “JUST DO IT”(ha where’d I here that before?!) I will digress from another comment since I can not continue with another civil one… JUST SELL THE CLUB AND TAKE YOUR BAGS OF $ AND GO… UNION UNION UNION !!!

    • Needs more exclamation points.

    • Every other top tier team has figured it out in the era of 2.0 MLS.

      You need 1 stud player and at least 1 other player who would be considered a ” solid player ” at every 1/3 of the field. goal/defense midfield and final third of the field. The Union only have 1 who could be considered a stud in Blake. Sapong Harris Bedoya and Pontius are just a notch under the MLS solid player category. The rest of the team are too young too old or have not grown in quality to compete as starters on any team in the MLS. I agree completely the only hope for Philly is for Sugarman to sell the team to someone who cares about putting a winning team on the field today. The academy system is not going to do it.The Union will lucky to produce 1 quality MLS player every 3 to 5 years from the accademy. Its really a glorified travel team with an even higher price tag.

  16. I posted elsewhere that I saw an imaginative, always positive movement on attack, overlaps that varied inside to outside, creative use of the field and an optimistic, challenging and opportunistic use of ball movement. Unfortunately, it was TFC that was showing that. The Union was limited in its attacking thought process, as well as much too predictable in their methods. I cannot imagine why it is that defending set pieces is such a permanent problem with this team; if the Union was going to create a club culture, it could have been something other than that, I would think. The late breaking repeat surrender of fouls in the last third by the defenders has me very concerned, especially when combined with the abject failure on set pieces. (If one is going to commit last third fouls, then the defense of set pieces had best be superb, or a lot of goals will be surrendered.) Before the game, I was fearful that the lack of ability to hold possession would lead to difficulties. I did not foresee that it would be so painful to watch ball chasing all night. On to face Atlanta. Let’s see if something breaks in the favor of the Union.

  17. During the last townhall meeting Earnie mentioned we had been competitive all year and had not been played off the pitch this year (compared to last year). Since then we lost 3-0 against NE, Montreal and Toronto… Time to reevaluate whether the 5yr plan is really on track and make a change!

  18. And if you think departure of Nogueira and Barnetta was coincident think again.

  19. Since the end of camp I’ve been ringing warning bells. Something to the effect of if Gooch plays significant minutes then the Union are in real trouble. Also that the Union needed a real #10 and if they actually got one it would hide a lot of deficiencies. Now the Union’s record isn’t exactly all Gooch’s fault, but what it signaled was lack of playing time for “the future” CB’s or what was thought to be the future. Now as much as I love being right and hearing my own voice, I take no pleasure this time around. In fact I’m quite angry over being right. What makes me so angry, is that if I (not an ex US national team player or a Starter in MLS at CB for years) saw this, why didn’t the coach, staff, and front office see this. Why was the plan going into the season for Alberg to be the #10, when everyone but the Union knew he didn’t fit there? Why in their 8th year do the Union still do the same things and make the same mistakes as they did in year one? This is why I have no faith in the Union, Stewart, Curtin and staff. Call me a Missourian, cause from now on the Union will need to “show me” they’re worth my time.

    • All,
      I think you and I are on the same page for most of the stuff. The Union are not good. This is just a fact. The only thing I worry about is that even getting a #10 probably won’t help us much. There are too many other glaring holes. Heck, getting the ball to the #10 will still be a problem but I digress. There’s A LOT that needs to be changed in the offseason and it will be very interesting to see what contracts come off the books January 1 and what happens with the transfer window in January/February.

      • Oh I think next year is a whole new ballgame. What I talk about above was for this season. Next year is totally different. I expect tons of turnover. New #10, new striker(hopefully one that actually gives CJ competition), getting rid of a bunch of dead weight salaries.
        I think this off season will bring more of a clean slate (as far as the roster goes) for Stewart than his first season. Stewart needs to correct his mistakes this off season, and he will get the chance. The Union will just need to show me they’ve actually made progress instead of just believing they did, before I start believing in this team again.

    • Desacrate through Reverance says:

      Why in their 8th year do the Union still do the same things and make the same mistakes as they did in year one? This is why I have no faith in the Union, Stewart, Curtin and staff.

      You are missing the main ingredient… Sugar. This club is going to keep repeating itself until Sugarman is gone.
      Fans really need to stop going to games to put pressure on him. Your hard earned money is Jay’s easy money.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Sugarman has made it clear in so many words that no money has been extracted from the team. If there have been any profits they have been reinvested.

      • Desacrate through Reverance says:

        Do you really believe that OSC?
        He is a real estate guy. All he cares about is turning a profit. Show me one that doesn’t. If it’s as bad as he makes it out to be, then why isn’t there even whispers about him selling the club?
        Oh because he has always been a soccer fan? NOPE.

        He will only look to cash out when he feels MLS is close to the peak financially.

      • Yep, sugarman is a businessman not a soccer fanatic and it shows.

  20. OneManWolfpack says:

    Someone wrote this about the Montreal game and it works for this disaster too: I expected nothing and yet, I was still disappointed.

  21. Breaking news for season ticket holders! Our ticket prices went up again, while the play on the field just keeps getting worse! Where is our incentive to re-up?

    • To be honest, if we re-up at this point it really is on us. The team is a disaster, and there is little hope of any real improvement until the academy kicks in (and even then it’s in doubt). So, they are going to be really bad for the foreseeable future. All our complaints will do nothing to change this. If you choose to re-up, do it because you like going to the games and seeing your friends. Otherwise you just going to be angry and let down over and over again.

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