Union match reports

Match report: Toronto FC 3-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: F10 Sports, Prost Amerika

There was little expectation Philadelphia Union would waltz into BMO Field and beat Toronto FC.

In that sole way, the Union didn’t disappoint, falling 3-0 on Friday night.

It was a discouraging performance and felt destined after a deft touch from Toronto’s Victor Vázquez opened the scoring midway through the first half. Sebastian Giovinco and Jay Chapman cemented the result with second half goals, adding to Union fans’ misery.

The loss extended the Union’s winless streak against Toronto to eight games, dating back to Sep. 6, 2014.

Despite a 2017 championship, Toronto FC had been uncharacteristically poor in MLS this season and sat lowest in the league standings, having taken only one win from their first six matches. Those performances, though, were largely due to prioritizing a CONCACAF Champions League run over the domestic competition, along with a slew of defensive injuries.

While Toronto head coach Greg Vanney made no changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Chicago Fire, by no means was the manager able to field his first choice lineup. U.S. international forward Jozy Altidore was out with a strained hamstring. The real issue was at the back, where Vanney’s top four center backs all missed out due to injury. It forced the coach to deploy a natural midfielder and a natural right back, Michael Bradley and Gregory van der Wiel, at the heart of his defense.

Conversely, Union head coach Jim Curtin had no players absent due to injury, save for Richie Marquez. He was able to select the same 11 starters that earned a 3-2 win over D.C. United.

It was difficult to tell who had a stronger start to the contest, Toronto or the howling wind. Yet in the 10th minute, Union captain Alejandro Bedoya nearly gave Philadelphia the lead from nowhere, but his headed effort from Haris Medunjanin’s corner kick clanged off the crossbar.

The Union stabilized after a shaky opening, seemingly awoken by Bedoya’s near miss, but costly giveaways and loose passing continued to mar their performance.

Eventually, Toronto got their breakthrough in the 28th minute. In the end it didn’t come from a bad turnover, but poor defending. The hosts patiently probed the Union defense, working the ball to Giovinco centrally about 40 yards from goal. The Italian superstar picked up his head and exploited a lapse in Philadelphia’s back line. Right midfielder Nicolas Hasler was streaking down the right wing with the nearest defender, Raymon Gaddis, 20 yards away. The Liechtenstein international collected the pass in the far upper right edge of the box and drove unencumbered toward goalkeeper Andre Blake. Hasler had ample time to find the onrushing Vazquez, whose run Gaddis failed to track, compounding his initial mistake. With the deftest of touches, the Spaniard gave Toronto the lead with his first touch finish.

For the Union, it was again Bedoya who nearly found the equalizer in the 35th minute. Union attacking midfielder Borek Dockal identified Bedoya’s run and played a lovely curled pass over the head of Bradley. Bedoya’s volley scalded the hands of a diving Alex Bono.

When the referee blew for halftime, the captain had his club’s only two shots of the game.

Just as they did after the opening whistle, Toronto dominated after the restart. And they didn’t allow the Union to regain a grip on the game.

Giovinco made his impact, doubling Toronto’s lead in the 65th minute, finally getting the better of Union center back Jack Elliott. One-on-one, the Italian beat the Englishman off the dribble and fired a shot from a tough angle on the left side of the box. Blake was able to get a piece of shot, but not enough to keep it out of the back of the net. Overall, Blake won’t be happy to have let that one slip past.

With the game well in hand, two of Toronto’s substitutes combined for a third goal. In the 89th minute, Jordan Hamilton played a pass to Jay Chapman who raced by a sleepwalking Gaddis. The 24-year-old blasted a low shot into Blake’s right corner from just inside the box, sealing an abysmal night for the Union.

The Union went down with a whimper, managing just one shot on goal in the second half.

It was never likely the Union would garner a point on the road against one of MLS’ best, but their display inspired no confidence that this group can right the ship in Columbus this Wednesday.

Three points
  • Union (and MLS) killer. With his sixth goal, Giovinco has now scored the third most goals of any individual against the Union. Unlike the others, he’s done it in just seven games.
  • Defenseless defense. Much has been made of the youth the Union have at the back, but it’s tough to claim they are playing well. (It should be said Gaddis, the sole veteran, had a horrid performance at left back.) They’ve now conceded two goals or more in their last four games.
  • Offensive offense. It looked like the Union had course-corrected their scoring woes, but it was more likely due to a weak opponent. The Union needed to create a plethora of chances to score in prior matches, leading the league in shots per game entering this match. Against a back line with no natural center back which conceded two or more goals in five consecutive games, Philly managed just five shots.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Ilsinho,  Borek Dockal (Marcus Epps 77′), David Accam (Fafa Picault 64′); C.J. Sapong (Cory Burke 85′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Mark McKenzie, Warren Creavalle

Toronto FC

Alex Bono; Ashtone Morgan, Michael Bradley, Gregory van der Wiel, Auro (Jason Hernandez 89′); Marco Delgado; Jonathan Osorio, Victor Vázquez (Jordan Hamilton 82′), Ager Aketxe, Nicolas Hasler (Jay Chapman 78′); Sebastian Giovinco
Unused Subs: Clint Irwin, Liam Fraser, Tosaint Ricketts, Ryan Telfer

Scoring summary

TOR: Victor Vázquez – 28′ (Nicolas Hasler, Sebastian Giovinco)
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco – 65′ (Jonathan Osorio)
TOR: Jay Chapman – 89′ (Jordan Hamilton)

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Jack Elliott – 24′ (unsporting behavior)
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco – 31′ (unsporting behavior)
TOR: Ashtone Morgan – 45′ + 2′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Auston Trusty – 50′ (handball)
PHI: Ilsinho – 84′ (unsporting behavior)

Toronto FC Philadelphia Union
 16 Shots 5
 8 Shots on Target 3
 3 Shots off Target 1
 5 Blocked Shots 1
 9 Corner Kicks 4
 18 Crosses 8
 1 Offsides 4
 11 Fouls 14
 2 Yellow Cards 3
 0 Red Cards 0
 504 Total Passes 440
 84% Passing Accuracy 76%
 53.6% Possession 46.4%
 56 Duels Won 60
 48% Duels Won % 52%
 14 Tackles Won 24
 3 Saves 5
 13 Clearances 27


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    …when your kid brother steps to you, and you stomp him— with one arm tied behind the back.
    Didn’t expect any points. Did expect them to be competitive.

  2. Whoever does the write up should do a nutmeg counter. I swear Union player were nutmeged all the times

  3. Cannot believe how badly Gaddis played in the first half. Also cannot believe how bad the passing was from our squad, especially from Dockal and Medunjanin, the guys who are supposed to be good at it.

    And this was the FIRST of 3 games in 8 days. Just imagine what the LAST one will look like!

  4. Not that anyone played well, but this was the first game where I really thought CJ looked atrocious. His touch was criminally bad and where passes went to die. Zero movement. Like I said, no one was good, CJ just stood out as a real problem.

  5. I’m honestly not surprised. I wish I was by:
    0 points, but that was not too painful given the situation.
    Sapong a step slow and kinda lost.
    Gaddis completely outclassed.
    Midfield looking like they can’t pass, when the rest of the team stands still off the ball.
    Giovinco thugging and whining and diving.
    Curtin with absolutely no ideas mid game.
    They played like a team expecting to lose…badly. Problem is, nobody told Dockal, Trusty, Elliott, Medunjanin, Ilsinho or Bedoya that it was a casual Friday. So they tried and were surprised there was no support. Each of them caught on in time and reacted in their own way. Broke my heart and made me want to rage against Sugarman…I’m too tired and I know nobody in a position of power cares 1/10 as much as me.

  6. “Curtin with absolutely no ideas…” That sums it up. No, he doesn’t have an MLS Cup winning roster. But he has good enough players with international experience at the senior and junior levels that he should be able to coach the team to be competitive against Tonronto missing 3+ starters. That was just sad. Replace Curtin with LeToux!

    • He finally subbed Sapong out for once. I can’t remember the last time that happened…

      • He subbed him out because we have 2 matches this week and you know damn well he’s starting and playing 90 in both.

  7. Horrible touches , sloppy play. Does Ernie Stewart still think Curtin is a good coach ?? I told everyone If they didn’t keep possession and implemented a DMid this result could happen. Stewart, maybe you should take that US job If it’s offered since you continue to spout that Curtin is not a/the problem for this team rn. Fire both for all i care. “ Drop the Curtin”

    • How’s a coach supposed to fix horrible touches in professional players? That said, about 3/4 of this organization needs to go.

  8. The Truth says:

    How abysmal. I quit watching in the 70th. First goal displayed some truly hilarious defending (hey Gaddis, check out that guy with loads of space). Second goal was Elliot tripping over grass and Blake failing to make a save. Third goal was actually a fine strike but from a bad giveaway (from Bedoya how had a very good game). Last night my season ticket partner said he didn’t want to renew our seats. Last year preseason I brought it up. I guess that’s that then.

  9. John Harris says:

    Isn’t this what happens when your goal is achieving 6th place as cheaply as possible? … and you play at team with ambition?
    Over / under for points on this road trip… over or under 1? I say under.
    Re field action, I have to pile on CJ. Even taking last year he just isn’t that talented. In fact I’d say with his chances last year, his goal total was actually low. If the team spent money, I don’t think he’d make the 18. Likable (although I think some of his time on the ground is flopping) but just an example of cheap ownership.

    • CJ is put out there to do too much. He’s not a lone striker …I repeat ….he’s not a lone striker. Put two up top!!! Having 3 central mids isn’t working anyway. Give me a D mid and an attacking mid. #dropthecurtin

  10. They were never going to play well in Toronto, just like they are never going to play well in Columbus or Montreal. The answer was to get the points early on at home against beatable team. It didn’t happen and now they’re screwed.

  11. The difference in movement between the two teams was the most glaring thing about the match. Toronto was buzzing all over the field, making runs, checking to the ball, and pulling the Union out of shape. The Union were flat in the back, flat in the front, and stuck lumping balls between the two lines with nothing but blind hope. Same tactics we saw in Hackworth’s last season….

    • -nickt.- says:

      i made this exact point about hackworth to sieve! last night while we were watching the game.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      This has been a huge problem from the beginning…
      it hasn’t changed, save the occasional movement by players operating at higher IQ or occasional games.
      I challenge anyone to argue for an incidence of worse off the ball movement than this team under its management. Shame really.

  12. The loss comes as no surprise. Even with a weaker TFC side, the compete level of the Union reflects the coaching and organization as a whole. Your are what your record says you are.
    The feckless clueless 4, Sugarman, Stewart, Albright and Curtin are an embarrassment to this city and fan base.

    • UnionGoal says:

      You do not deserve better.
      Outside a city that already has 5 major sports. Between 2010-2016 they had chance to capture attention and attendance. They didn’t.
      Next few years will be tough as eagles sixers phillies flyers and big 5 basketball recapture the casual fans and eyeballs and cash that strayed to a game or two in Chester.
      Academy and steel will face cutbacks as first team suffers financially.
      Watched stoke relegated and shocked as fans gave the team a standing ovation. Very un-Philly like…no boos audible on TV.
      What will you do when union get last place?

      • We do deserve better! This fan base needs to stop enabling this corrupt organization. Sugarman is a carpetbagger.

      • Union goal, I don’t know if you’re sincere or having a laugh. You’re correct that the Stoke fans (who arrived on subsidized game/coach tickets) applauded their teams effort. But I’d expect the Union fans to behave more like the Everton fans, and leave an empty stadium, before the players and players families came out for their usual end of season walk around the pitch players appreciation walk. The fastest way to get the team owners attention is fan apathy.

      • UnionGoal says:

        ISugarman is why you have a team in Philly and if someone else with money was interested you would’ve heard by now.
        Face it, several major companies have hq in Philly area and best they did for jersey sponsor was one of a very few that a freshman in marketing 101 would tell you is a bad choice___unless it’s your only choice. Which appears to be the case.
        So sugarman is what you got…you want to keep team in Philly and not Austin,Miami or Fargo, probably best to stop calling him names from 1800’s.
        And forget a boycott…bring fans out, fill the seats or savethecrew is savetheunion.
        Get your wives, girlfriends,daughters, mothers sisters and mistresses to proudly embrace the bimbo shirts to keep money coming in to pay for another usmnt player. A million bimbo March thru Chester might work…at least it would garner attention from the eagles for 5 minutes!

      • Yes Mrs Sugarman. Your son is the best! We’re sorry for acting all ungrateful. We all know that without a NYC handout, Philadelphia would be a smoking hole in the ground. Did we mow your lawn properly this week?

  13. This has now gone on ‘ALL SEASON’ & will continue to… ES when is enough – ENOUGH?
    If you want a different result? REPLACE THE COACH…

    • lopezzzz says:

      Earnie hopefully gets that USMNT GM gig or leaves at the end of the year. Things have to get worse before they get better.

      • I’m not sure if Earnie leaving will make things worse. Him being here certainly hasn’t made things better.

  14. OtherIanFleming says:

    This game made it glaringly obvious, if it wasn’t already (it was), that this organization as a whole has no idea what it’s doing. It would seem that the two routes one can take to establish and maintain a good team is to either A) get the players to fit a static system or B) get the best player you can, and adjust the system to best fit the players at hand. We do neither.

  15. Andy Muenz says:

    2 more chances to avoid going a full calendar year without a road win.

  16. 10 road wins in 4 calendar years. Supposedly one win in their last 25 road games. And the East runners-up are next. #CloseTheCurtin, #FireStewart

    • This record makes me think there’s more to this. Like HOW are they traveling? Is it so uncomfortable and stressful, that the game becomes a secondary concern? Are they carpooling? Are they buying their own travel meals? Are they finding their own hotels and paying for their own flights? Each of them must have had better travel records on previous teams…anybody know how they travel?

      • Joe. I think MLS only allows a few chartered flights per team each season. The team has changed up how they travel like leaving for west coast match a day earlier. I’m sure other things have changed as well. The only thing that doesn’t change are terrible results. They might as well fly in the morning of and just go straight to the stadium then come back home immediately after the match.

      • Fair enough. I don’t know why and I’m grasping at straws.
        They play like they’re hungover at away games.

  17. The Chopper says:

    So sad and predictable. And the predictability is what is so angering. Union coming off a win, so everyone in Philly, Toronto Estonia or anywhere else knows Curtin will roll out the same 11 and the same tactics.

    8 games in 3 days. Why not give Medunjanin a rest. Tuck a true 6 in there to help support the D. Creavalle or Jones. Rest C.J. for the first 45. Try something different up top. Keep the game close and bring him on fresh sometime in the 2nd half. Now you’ve played a crap game, took no points and have continued to wear down your top players. It’s beyond angering, and since Stewart is ok with this, I guess he can go too.

  18. John Harris says:

    Accam, Dockal, and Ilsinho had 0 touches in the box. See for yourself. https://twitter.com/MattDoyle76/status/992586489069555716?s=19

  19. For anyone who wants to perpetuate the falsehood that we are doomed to suck forever because of cheapness … look at what NYRB is doing to NYCFC right now.

    We absolutely spend enough to be mid table. This is 100% on Curtin.

    • Maybe this is of some interest but Portland bought in a new coach whom I know personally. He started off terribly, Changed his formations about 3 times, Benched a high priced player for poor performance and now has won 3 in a row. My point is that the coach must adapt to what he has and play the way he feels will be best for the team. Why would players perform if they know the GM is running the show. Did Curtin want Dockal and Haris on the field at the same time? Did Curtin examine why Accam was let go by Chicago? It seems there is not much teaching going on in a team that needs it badly. Yes, NYRB is a good example of what can be done. Is Curtin running the show? he should be.

      • I’m not an Ernie defender, but they pretty much looked like this before Ernie arrived too. They’re just doing it for more money now.
        At this point, they need to just cut out the dead flesh. At minimum, Curtin and Albright need to go. Give players with more than 3 years here a VERY short leash.
        I watched the LAFC game yesterday… I remember that left back…

  20. Curtin just sucks. No idea what to do with current players. Bedoya should go to Gm and demand to be traded if Curtin is not fired and replaced with someone he has input in selecting. it’s time for a mutiny.!

  21. How much daily is the coach versus the players when everyone has a horrible first touch? Is it on the coaches to drill players how to receive the ball in traffic? Or is it on the players to develop themselves so that they do t luck the ball 2 yards away instead of trapping it?

  22. Jonathan Alexander says:

    The young defenders are going to have growing pains. That’s why we need to have an actual #6 on the field. Whoever passed to Giovinco on the second goal had forty yards of green in front of him.
    4-2-3-1 my foot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: