Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 0-2 Toronto FC

Photo: Rob Simmons

For the second time this season, Philadelphia Union squared off with Toronto FC. For the second time this season, the Canadian club shut out and frustrated the Union, picking up a 2-0 victory Friday behind a Jonathan Osorio brace.

While the Union were the better club for much of the opening 70 minutes, it was a familiar story as the home side was undone by costly mistakes and less-than-clinical finishing at Talen Energy Stadium.

The fallout from the fiasco in Atlanta left the Union with a major question in the center of the field. With both captain Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin suspended, Union head coach Jim Curtin had to replace the heart and soul of his team. The obvious choice was to bring in Warren Creavalle at the No. 6. The more interesting decision was dropping Borek Dockal beside him and sliding Ilsinho into the No. 10.

While the Union’s defeat to Atlanta United last Saturday snapped a four-game unbeaten stretch, Philadelphia responded midweek with a emphatic 5-0 win over Richmond Kickers in the U.S. Open Cup.

In the first meeting between the sides this season, the Union faced a desperate side hungry to reclaim its position among the Eastern Conference’s elite teams. Sounds familiar. The 3-0 thrashing north of the border didn’t serve as a launching pad for the Reds, who had managed just one win since that victory and entered the match mired at the bottom of the conference.

The first chances fell Philadelphia’s way just after the opening 10 minutes.

Creavalle played a clever ball through Toronto’s back line. Winger Fafa Picault outpaced his markers and latched on to the pass. Picault was clear on net, but a heavy touch just inside the box took him too close to the onrushing Alex Bono. With no angle, Picault’s effort was snuffed out by the keeper.

Moments later, a Union player again found himself behind the the defense. This time it was a battle of titans, with Ilsinho pulling away from Toronto captain Michael Bradley. The Brazilian tried to find the far corner but the shot drifted wide of the target.

Toronto wasted no time making the Union pay for those missed opportunities. In the 19th minute, Victor Vázquez found himself probing Philadelphia’s final third. He spotted the diagonal run of Osorio. Center back Mark McKenzie moved forward to challenge the pass, but the first-year defender was a step too slow. It left Osorio alone with goalkeeper Andre Blake, who couldn’t stop the attacker from curling a cool finish into the far corner.

Unlike the first game in Toronto, the Union fought back after the opener.

It’s easy to question and joke when Curtin uses phrases like “unfortunate” or “unlucky” to describe his team’s play, but outside of Toronto’s one moment of quality, the Union were the better team in the first half. They dictated play. They took the game to the defending MLS champs., but couldn’t find any end product to show for it.

The Union continued to build after play resumed and came inches from equalizing in the 58th minute. Dockal exploited the space between Bradley’s legs to sneak a pass to winger Marcus Epps down the right flank. His cross caromed into the path of Picault. With time at the top of the box, he let one rip that beat Bono but clanged powerfully off the crossbar.

After the chance, Toronto put an emphasis on possession and began to take the sting out of the game. Curtin countered by introducing Cory Burke, Derrick Jones, and David Accam into the action.

Yet it was Toronto who responded and sealed the double over Philadelphia.

Right back Keegan Rosenberry committed a horrific error on a throw-in, giving the ball away to the most dangerous player on the field, Sebastian Giovinco, at the edge of the Union’s box. The Italian turned and played a ball to Osorio, who split the center backs. He took what was only the Reds’ second shot on goal, but it produced Toronto’s second goal.

With only three minutes remaining and the Union’s fate all but sealed, the boys in blue nearly pulled one back. On a three-on-one, Accam chose to fire from the right wing, but Bono snuffed out the shot.

The Union will again look to use the U.S. Open Cup to right the ship when they host New York Red Bulls next Saturday at 7 p.m. As far as MLS play, the following week they’ll resume with a June 23 date in Chester against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Three points
  • A perfect 10: Well, at least for Toronto. Tonight’s loss marked the 10th consecutive game without a win, including playoffs, for the Union against Toronto. It’s their longest such active streak against any team.
  • Second striker: Giovinco gets much of the praise for the Reds, but it can overshadow the stellar play of his fellow forward. Vázquez was the driving force of everything Toronto did well tonight.
  • Mistakes, mistakes: It doesn’t matter how well you play. Everything can be undone by costly moments that define a game. Rosenberry’s throw-in blunder was the clearest example of that on the night.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Raymon Gaddis; Warren Creavalle, Borek Dockal; Marcus Epps (Derrick Jones 69′),  Ilsinho (David Accam 74′), Fafa Picault; C.J. Sapong (Cory Burke 61′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Jack Elliott, Anthony Fontana

Toronto FC

Alex Bono; Auro, Jason Hernandez, Nick Hagglund, Gregory van der Wiel; Jay Chapman (Ryan Telfer 60′), Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Nicolas Hasler (Tosaint Ricketts 81′); Sebastian Giovinco, Victor Vázquez (Ager Aketxe 73′)
Unused Subs: Liam Fraser, Mariano Miño, Clint Irwin, Eriq Zavaleta

Scoring summary

TOR: Jonathan Osorio – 19′ (Victor Vázquez, Michael Bradley)
TOR: Johnathan Osorio – 79′ (Sebastian Giovinco)

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Warren Creavalle – 16′ (unsporting behavior)
TOR: Jay Chapman – 37′ (time wasting)
PHI: Raymon Gaddis – 47′ (unsporting behavior)

Philadelphia Union Toronto FC
14 Shots 12
4 Shots on Target 4
9 Shots off Target 5
1 Blocked Shots 3
6 Corner Kicks 2
16 Crosses 7
6 Offsides 1
10 Fouls 13
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
474 Total Passes 519
76% Passing Accuracy 78%
48.2% Possession 51.8%
59 Duels Won 45
56.7% Duels Won % 43.3%
14 Tackles Won 8
2 Saves 4
6 Clearances 10


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    I completely disagree on the Rosenberry comments. No one on the Union was within 20 yards of Rosenberry and most of them were just standing around. He at least threw it in the direction of on open man, but McKenzie was standing around just like everyone else. That goal was on the other 9 guys as much as it was on Rosenberry.

    Clearly by the end of the game it was obvious that it was the 5th game in 13 nights including 9 on 11 last Saturday. The team was out of gas.

    It was also disappointing how poor the Union are when they have a breakaway. Fafa had one bad touch on his and never recovered.

    • There’s quite literally NO excuse for Rosenberry’s mistake. To try and place blame on teammates for that decision is a stretch. To say the least.

    • Just put the ball on your hip and wait. I know the clock is a factor but hang out until someone moves to you.

  2. 1) Ilson had a year to prove he couldn’t be effective#10
    2) #10 is arguably the most important position in a 4-2-3-1
    3) Dockal has played #10 pretty well the last couple games
    4) the offense has played pretty well the last couple of games
    So why the HELL do you move move dockal out and put Ilson in a position he can’t play? It screwed up the whole offense.
    Why not just put Fontana in at #8 leave the clicking players alone?
    And why did slumping CJ get the start?
    I’m both mystified and missed off by these decisions.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      dead accurate.

      • Buccistick says:

        Good ol’ Charlie Redhead!
        I spotted you CJ, and you still messed up the rest of the line-up.
        Yup. Ol’ faithful blows again.

      • TOTALLY AGREE!!! If Fontana is our future 8 or 10 or anything, he needs playing time against quality players, Jim said early in the year that the kids need playing time, yet when given the chance, he does the same crap. Would love to see what we got in him, look rough around the edges, but scores, something this team needs. Next year, if Dockal is not resigned or bought, who is our 10?, an unproven kid? Or another last minute signing. I know we need results, I’m thinking long term, play these kids so we know what we got! CJ needs to sit, getting starts even when he doesn’t produce make zero sense! Will be interested in the lineup for the next Open Cup game, how many first team players?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I have disagree with that assessment of Ilsinho at the #10 in the first 50-55 of the match.
        I was expecting what you concluded, didn’t like the lineup moves, until I began to watch.
        I suspect Curtin’s decision had something to do with Toronto’s back three fronted by Bradley. For a while without that fifth player in the Toronto defensive mix in the center , Ilsinho and Dockal were challenging Bradley successfully. After 10 minutes of the second half, Bradley was always in uncontested space thence forth.
        The other point I would make is Ilsinho outrunning and outmuscling Bradley as Nick Fishman highlights. The Union’s training methods have distinctly improved Ilsinho’s athleticism. in none of his previous seasons with the team would he have been able to do that. Full marks to him, but full marks also to the organization’s training regime.
        it gives me hope that they may not have totally wasted the money on Accam. They might be able to get him his jets back.

    • pragmatist says:

      +1. Or however many I need to add to all of those points.

    • Yes, yes, yes, and YES.

      Really hard to believe in Curtin as a coach when he does foolish stuff like this. Dan Walsh asked, “What if Curtin is a good coach?” Dan, that’s not a question we have to worry about answering, I’m afraid.

    • Ilson has played well as a #10 before. He struggles Most of the time because the players around him do not know how to move with him when he has possession. But yes, i don’t think he’s the perfect 10. This team has a real real problem with learning how to just move without the ball and they simply do not do it. I’m sick of it and sick of Curtin.

    • Yep, this. I disliked the lineup from the moment I saw it on Twitter.
      Sliding Creavalle in seemed to be the no-brainer choice, given how well he played in Atlanta. I assumed the question of who played the 8 came down to a choice between Jones and Fontana, with Najem being the “wild card” choice that was possible. Never did I expect the answer would be to slide Dockal back and insert Ilsinho (or anybody else) into the 10. So effectively, instead of having 2 new center mids starting, we had 3.

  3. pragmatist says:

    Stoica’s crappy officiating cost us two games.
    Work on officiating with the next CBA and screw all other topics.

  4. UnionGoal says:

    Missed watching game as blacked out on ESPN+…how did you guys watch?
    Anyway expected the loss given the team circumstances with red carded players and uncertainty over Stewart’s departure.
    Still sucks to lose at home given our history of road games past three years.
    On to next one…crush njpc!!!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I watched from my seat at the stadium. No need to worry about blackouts.

    • John Osborn says:

      I was down at the game. Otherwise I would’ve DVR’d it on channel 17.

    • OTA antenna. It was good quality pic

      • UnionGoal says:

        Thanks, Chris. We’d tried antenna a few years ago when first cutting cord with no success. But if you like it we’ll give it another chance.
        We use sling with the sports package that doesn’t include ESPN. We tried ESPN+ to see game so sucked we couldn’t with blackout but did watch other mls and some of the Steel. Waiting to see how nwsl games are before we pull trigger on a year subscription as really for us if union are blacked out hard to justify.
        We only watch NFL, phillies, El clasico, premier league(most) and Nwsl on lifetime and rarely TV shows so cut bill in half and would hate to creep back up by adding individual channels.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    How does the manager watch video of that game and send CJ back out there.
    How is it the only good vertical threatening pass of the night was by a player who cannot get on the field.
    How is it the best player on the field was said same player in his cameo.
    How is it those threatening passes happen so infrequently- the other player who can’t get on the field enough – never saw it coming.
    How is it David Accam is making a million dollars to shoot a ball directly into the keeper.
    How does Fafa ever expect get a NT call up when he’s on a dead break away but can’t even get off a shot.
    that game sucked. every last agonizing minute of shit soccer sucked.
    just the truth.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I almost forgot…
      how is it Keegan Rosenberry can be so woefully bad at defense. His blunder was one of the least egregious things he did.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s not like Burke was any better than CJ tonight.

    • I like CJ, but I couldn’t agree more. He lost his job (in my mind) the last time Burke started. I couldn’t believe how bad he was tonight. None of that was “dirty work” that simply doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. On TWO occasions he backed AWAY (not “drawing a player”, just flat retreating) as play flowed toward the box when there was open space he should have been running to, and on at least two other similar occasions he simply failed move at all.
      The reason the 4-2-3-1 hasn’t worked isn’t because the formation sucks, it’s because we apparently haven’t had the right player as the “1”. I wouldn’t have thought until Burke came along, he hasn’t had any problems up there (two starts, two goals). His quality on the ball and instincts are undeniably better.
      I was very disappointed when the lineups came out tonight, but hopeful CJ would show a little something. I don’t know what Curtin was looking for, or what happened in training this week, but I don’t know how CJ starts again after that.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    Boy did they miss Haris and Ale in the midfield. Damn. They were clueless going forward. They just wanted to play over the top long ball all night.
    CJ can’t start. He did nothing. To say Burke was as bad is technically true, but I can’t remember the last time CJ scored. And Burke has 2 in the last few league games.
    Union had 3 A+ chances and got nothing out of em. That’s the reason they lost. Toronto wasn’t overwhelming. Giovinco was kept in check. Union convert their chances it’s 3-2 good guys.
    Tonight was another game where they dropped points they should’ve had. These games are the reason they don’t make the playoffs.
    We need a striker before the window closes or we are borderline 6… but prolly 7 (or worse) spot in the East.

    • The midfield was fine. I didnt miss Bedoya or Medunjanin one bit. Creavalle was fantastic and did both of Alej and Harris’s jobs. The problem was the end result up top. We had plenty of oppertinities to score and once again we struggle to pull through.

  7. Great One says:

    This one is on Curtin as much as it is Rosenberry. That was a big mistake and I defend him often. However that lineup was inexcusable. He needs to end his love affair with CJ immediately. Most egregious was moving Dockal and not giving jones and/or Fontana the start. Inexcusable. This is about the worst way to go into a little break, especially since we played fairly well recently. Boy if we could combine Picault/Epps/Accam with ilsinho we would have s really dangerous winger.

  8. I was at this match, and I did not see the first half the way you did, Nick. I saw Toronto miss a couple of golden opportunities, for which we were quite lucky. Our fullbacks were extremely aggressive, and Toronto punished us by getting behind them for the whole of the first half.

    Meanwhile, in the second half, apparently realizing that we have a striker who can’t strike, Toronto felt comfortable moving Michael Bradley out of the backline and into the midfield. Small wonder we couldn’t get anything going then.

  9. Zizouisgod says:

    Toronto’s defensive plan was very smart. They protected the middle in the final third and were only willing to let the Union play balls to the wings in those areas. And a majority of the time, the ball ended up at the feet of Gaddis, Creavalle. Ilsinho, Rosenberry and Epps. If I’m Vanney, I’m willing to let that group have the ball in those areas and take my chances on that either making the right decision/attacking move. Dockal had the most final third passes, but it’s much easier to defend him when you know that there isn’t a Bedoya or Medunjanin that he can play the ball to.

  10. The knocks on C.J. and on Keegan are absolutely fair, as is the one on Curtin. That line up was built to fail, and did just that. Because of the way midfield moved (or didn’t move), Andre Blake and Austin Trusty both regressed in their passing. Toronto was content to let them play long balls all night and the Union foolishly obliged. A really disappointing result considering the perceived momentum of the team.

  11. Was at that for only the second half. The U looked very disconnected from each other. I get the missing players argument. But what about the next man up talk all the time. Also Rosenberry really forced that throw. Nobody checked to him but that was a bad decision. Also thought Toronto did plenty of flopping to try and draw a foul. It seemed to work. Poor game from top to bottom!

  12. Tired of hearing how Bedoya and Harris are so vital on the field. They really are not. Creavalle last night did both of their jobs. He shut down the middle, played box to box moving and getting into open space , he does really well with keeping the ball under pressure, he kept possession, he also made effective offensive passes that were critical at times. It’s amazing he’s doing the job of two players right now. Haha. Has he gotten any recognition for it? Fuck no! He shut down Toronto’s midfield. I hear no one talking about this guy and giving credit where it’s due. He should start as the Dmid every game. You need a Dmid to shut down opponents from having a field day through the middle of the pitch and he’s doing that and more!
    We need a true and experienced striker/strikers. I’m also sick of hearing “play the kids”. How well did the kids In the back play tonight??? Lazy defending. The back line has to be better, knowing when to step up. Why was Rosenberry pinching into the middle half the time leaving his outside mark wide open? I understand to allow your opponent to have some space so that you do not get caught getting turned or blown by but it was giving too much space in my opinion.
    I could go on and on but lastly, they really need to change the way they progress offensively. Taking the ball to the flank %100 of the time and blindly putting balls in the box isn’t helping this team at all. No one can get to the ball in the box. No one on this team is an expert with getting their head on the ball anyway. It’s time Curtin is let go. He does not see who has true talent and knowledge on this team to benefit on the field. I can’t stand his philosophy of how the team should play. I’m sick of hearing “counter attacking team” every team is !!! You need to be a patient team and a possession team as well. #DroptheCurtin

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      So the recent run of solid midfield play, and until the Atlanta debacle, winning soccer… with Ale, Haris, and Dockal on the field together was an accident… and Crevalle should start. Sorry, I can’t get behind that. I have no issue with Crevalle as a spot starter or late game sub, but not a true starter.
      McKenzie is starting to show his inexperience and I would consider going back to Trusty and Elliot.
      One thing I will agree with you on, is that Curtin has got to go. He clearly doesn’t offer much in the way of making this team better or making adjustments/subs to give the team the chance to win it/tie it up, etc. The Union have a team that needs that managers touch, whether it be a formation change, in-game tactical move, substitution, whatever… and Curtin just can’t provide it.

  13. Joel Pterasaur says:

    This game to me seemed like Curtin spent too much time talking about TFC being the deepest team, better than their record blah blah blah. Throw in the horrendous officiating from last week and you get a defense playing scared. The lineup was suspect but wasn’t all that bad in the first half. Ilsinho should have been off in the 60th for Jones or Fontana and let Dockal push forward. Sapong…needs a loooong break. Accam should not see the Union’s 18 ever again. Send him to BSFC for the rest of the season and trade him ASAP. His game does not fit our style and I have no idea why the front office thought it would. I would MUCH MUCH rather see Santi Moar on the 18. Or grab one of the ball kids…

    Summer has officially begun.

  14. The Chopper says:

    I honestly can’t complain about how Curtin deployed his midfield. Moving Dockal is ok. The midfield has flowed In recent games with both Medanjunin and Bedoya able to link back to front. Taking them both out at once and adding in Creavalle who is a more traditional stopper means you do need someone to generate that back to front ball movement who has vision and passing ability. Dockal is a professional who can easily do that and understands where everybody is and everyone is going. Ilsinho as a 10 for this game with the added presence of Dockal behind him was an interesting choice and it almost paid off a few times. To me it was a good rotation and attempt to overcome the loss of Bedoya and Harris at the same time.

    Sure we’d like to see Fontana, but if Curtin thinks this is his best way to stack up against Toronto, I can understand it and won’t argue. What I will argue with is C.J. It is not working and it’s not turning around, so give it up. I”m good with Burke who makes better runs and wouldn’t complain if Simpson got a chance at this point. The insistence on trying to let Sapong play out of his funk is maddening. Let him come off the bench with fresher legs later in the game if nothing else

  15. I didn’t see the match and couldn’t get in touch with anyone to DVR it. Seems I should be happy.

  16. Crossroads Approaching …… Bench CJ , Start Burke every game Trade Accam tomorrow , Sign a DP Striker by July

    • UnionGoal says:

      And the coach?

      • this should be his last season. do not hire a current coach from any level of the philly union. go outside the organization and clean house of the current coaching staff. team needs new direction.

  17. Hamburg relegated to bundesleague 2. Bobby Woods for Union #9?

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