Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Toronto FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

First-half goals from Jakob Glesnes, Daniel Gazdag, and Sergio Santos powered Philadelphia Union past Toronto FC on Wednesday night, 3-0.

Jim Curtin made just one change from the lineup that managed a meek 1-1 draw with Chicago Fire on Sunday night, inserting Sergio Santos for Cory Burke up top. Jamiro Monteiro, awaiting a transfer away from Philadelphia, missed out on his second straight match.

The Union had the first good chance of the match, with Kacper Przybylko getting his head on a looping cross from Jakob Glesnes. His header was well-placed, but Toronto keeper Alex Bono found what he was looking for and kept the shot out.

Just moments later, Glesnes put the Union on the board first off a corner kick. Daniel Gazdag’s delivery was superb, and the Norwegian defender rose up high and, spinning like a top, headed the ball past Bono for the goal.

Holding a rare lead, the Union took it to Toronto in the subsequent ten minutes, peppering the TFC box with crosses and pressuring their seemingly shaky backline. Santos, in particular, looked a high-pace menace. Excellent work by Santos produced a great opportunity for Gazdag in the 23rd minute, but his shot ended up right at the keeper.

That ascendancy continued as the half went on, with more heroics from Bono being the only thing keeping the Union from a two-goal lead. A 29th minute pass by Flach from the end line toward the penalty spot found Santos, whose vicious one-time strike found Bono’s outstretched leg.

Minutes later, Santos won his side their first penalty of the season, as he found himself alone in the box with Bono. The keeper came out to try to grab the ball, but he only brought down Santos.

Daniel Gazdag stepped up to the spot and hit an unstoppable penalty for his first goal in Union colors.

Santos got the goal his performance deserved just four minutes later. A perfect line-splitting ball by Jose Martinez slipped the striker behind Toronto’s defense, and he again found himself one-on-one with Bono. Santos made no mistake with his well-placed shot, finding the back of the net and sending the Subaru Park crowd into raptures.

And that was pretty much that for the first half. Philadelphia did well to keep the shellshocked visitors from making any inroads, and entered the locker room on a high.

With the Union carving up his five-man backline, Javier Perez inserted Nick DeLeon at the half, switching to four at the back. The change paid immediate dividends, with the Reds controlling play to start the half.

The visitors won a penalty in the 51st minute, where Jack Elliott was judged to have fouled Richie Lareya in the box. Replays suggested the call was soft. But Union keeper Andre Blake said “ball don’t lie,” stoning the weak penalty attempt by Yeferson Soteldo.

Any fight left in Toronto evaporated with the penalty save, and the second half passed without much incident. Curtin rewarded the home crowd by inserting Paxten Aaronson and Quinn Sullivan for the final fifteen minutes of the match. After seven pointless minutes of stoppage time, it was over, and the Union had secured their first clean sheet since June 23.

The Union play their third game in eight nights on Sunday when the conference pace-setters, New England Revolution, come to town. Kickoff from Subaru Park in Chester, Pa. is at 6:00 p.m.

Three Points
  • Winning ways. It’s been a while since the Union properly whomped an opponent. They came out and crushed Toronto well before the end of the first half tonight.
  • Saint Santos. The inconsistent striker was the best player on the pitch in the first half. Frustrating to imagine what he could do if he were healthy or focused more often.
  • Blake good. It helps to have the best pure shot-stopper in MLS on your team. Any hope that Toronto had of making a game of it evaporated with Blake’s PK save.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Olivier Mbaizo, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner; Jose Martinez, Alejandro Bedoya, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 85′), Daniel Gazdag (Quinn Sullivan 74′); Kacper Przybylko (Paxten Aaronson 74′), Sergio Santos (Cory Burke 66′)
Subs: Matt Freese, Matt Real, Nathan Harriel, Stuart Findlay, Cole Turner

Toronto FC

Alex Bono; Richie Lareya (Ifunanyachi Achara 60′), Eriq Zavaleta, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga (Nick DeLeon 46′), Kemar Lawrence; Jonathan Osorio (Patrick Mullins 71′), Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado; Jozy Altidore (Jordan Perruzza 71′), Yeferson Soteldo
Subs: Quentin Westberg, Luke Singh, Noble Okello, Ralph Priso-Mbongue, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty

Scoring Summary

PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 12′ (Daniel Gazdag)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 33′ (penalty kick)
PHI: Sergio Santos — 36′ (Jose Martinez)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 26′ (foul)
PHI: Kai Wagner — 47′ (dissent)
PHI: Olivier Mbaizo — 90′ (foul)


  1. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Your 3 points are a great summary. This was the beatdown we should’ve given Miami but it is what it is. Happy to get the W, while I do wish we’d give Bedoya some rest. I think it’s essential that he doesn’t start Sunday. Also if we could get Flach and Wagner a breather too. Overall I’m happier than I was 3 hours ago, nice to see Santos shred Toronto again.

    • If Bedoya doesn’t come off tonight in 3-0 game that Toronto checked out of with 20 minutes left, there’s no way he’s resting against the conference leaders this weekend. I agree he deserves a rest.

  2. I liked watching this game.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    The Union showed they are better a man down (12 on 11 including Monkey’s Uncle in green) than they were a man up last game.
    Deleon was a complete jackass after Flach was brutally taken out and he wouldn’t play the ball out of bounds despite his own teammates telling him to.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      DeLeon is a league villain that doesn’t get his due. Everyone talks about Felipe, but DeLeon is just as bad.

  4. el Pachyderm says:


  5. Love the result, but does Bedoya have incriminating stuff on Jim?
    Three goals up at halftime, with two big games coming up, there is no reason why Bedoya should be on the field – and that is respect, not disrespect.
    Get that Jim thinks like center back, but midfielders work their asses off, so if the game game is won, give your stars a break.
    Great result, Poor Strategy.

  6. Delco Roots says:

    While the whole team played well tonight, I thought Gazdag looked especially good. He was threatening in tight spaces and found the right pass to his teammates most of the night. Exactly what we need if Montiero does, unfortunately, leave.

    I will scold Curtin for not taking out Bedoya – he should not have even started. The bench options look competent, at a minimum, and he really needs a rest. This is not a knock on Bedoya’s effort, but he’s 34, and he plays every minute of every game. It will bite the Union eventually, and just hope it doesn’t happen against Club America.

    • Based on Jims comments in the midweek presser (listing the NE game as third most important behind CCL and Toronto), I totally would not be surprised if we went with all the backups against NE. I’m thinking atleast Findlay, Powell, Real, McGlynn, Sullivan start. Maybe even Aaronson.

      • There’s clear pros and cons to that, though. Examples include:
        . . .
        Cons to playing U2 players:
        NE would pose the best warmup for CA given they are the top contender for the Shield at the moment. We also need to get a win against NE given the points drop against cellar dwellers Miami and Chicago for playoff seeding or an outside chance at the Shield.
        . . .
        Pros to playing U2 players:
        U2 has no season schedule this year given USL withdrawal and they need quality competitive minutes. Players may need a rest before CA. Injuries for starters in the NE are to be avoided.

  7. Isn’t Sunday’s game away in Foxborough?!?

  8. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Who would have thought that the two highest spending teams in the East would sit at the bottom? With Atlanta, Cincinnati & the Galaxy making up the top five highest spending teams only the Galaxy have a winning record.
    Also more of less at the half way point of the season the two teams sitting in first have coaches that have been in MLS forever and run the show for each team.
    What a crazy league

  9. Chris Gibbons says:

    I agree Bedoya needs a break, but it was clear that his job was to neutralize Toronto’s creative attack. The U knew if they could eliminate the pass into a holding Altidore et al, then they could dominate the game. That’s exactly what happened and why the joke this morning was whether or not the striker played at all. Bedoya denied his entry pass.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Oh that’s a great point. Altidore was completely neutralized. Question is, if that was the game plan why didn’t we sub Bedoya when it was 3-0 and Altidore was long gone? Were they actually afraid of Perruzza leading a comeback? I think that sums up Curtin. Great game plan, but unwilling to adapt to changing circumstances.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Fair question. I suspect the thinking goes, “Let’s get to 75/80 minutes or so, where the chances of them changing the tilt of the game are basically zero, then get Bedoya off.” You can make an argument for earlier, but I wonder what their internal data says the difference is: does he perform markedly worse the next game with those 5/10 extra minutes?

    • To be a little fair to Jim, he does have the bio-metric data available to him showing him info about heart rate, distance run, distance sprinted etc. Now that being said there is value to getting him off the field early to keep us from seeing the cramping we got toward the end of last season.

  10. The MLS app had the Union in a 4-3-2-1 last night, and I seemed that Kacper was playing deeper then usual defensively. Any idea if this was a change specific for Toronto,or if it might be a change to get Gazdag further out on the wing where he likes to play?

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      I saw that too, and they had it that way Sunday as well. I think the intern who plugs that data in just doesn’t follow the team that much.

  11. Wow. Where has this team been? Almost everyone played well. Bedoya had his best game in months. I agree he needs the rest, but with the shift he put in and the injuries/subs made, I can see why he didn’t. I was glad to see Gazdag get his goal. The kids looked once again like they belonged when they came on. McGlynn looked liked he’s finally feeling comfortable enough to join in the attack. This was a refreshing win after all that drek.

    • I really liked the confident short pass play from the young players towards the end of the game last night as they worked to kill off the clock. It was good to see them building some confidence and helping the team.

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    I wonder if Curtin is going to go with a bunch of homegrowns along with guys like Findlay and Collin and rest the starters on Sunday. 3 points against Toronto count the same as 3 points against New England and were probably much easier to get. This will make it harder to catch New England but that is somewhat of a longshot anyway. And if a backup team can get a result, so much the better.
    The other advantage of making New England the throw away game before CCL is that it’s the game on artificial turf so resting the starters saves the veterans’ knees.

  13. Gruncle Bob says:

    To me neutralizing Soteldo is more important than Altidore, and they did a great job on both. It was wonderful to watch a game that was FUN.

  14. What a game; what a great night; what fun to be at the game! Loved how the passes thru the middle caused Toronto all kinds of problems. That penalty stop by Blake was world class; Bono also had some great saves to keep Toronto in the game longer than they should have been.
    Only terrible things is the Heineken beer deck; boy, do I miss the $6 IPA beers (before games) that we used to have there.

  15. As the captain..do you think Bedoya just doesn’t want to come out? And Curtin is ok with that? I have to say I’ll trust that the staff and Curtin have the tools/data they need to make the right decisions.
    I am ready to see the youth get a start. They have looked like this stage is a place belong!
    Gazdag is looking more dangerous every game. I think the team has come to grips with Miro leaving. I am also glad the organization sees what is best for the player. Also if he’s not happy that can be a problem in the locker room and training ground.
    Really good performance for the whole team. And that guy from Jamaica in goal….WOW!

    • Dave Greene says:

      This was the chance to start Sullivan and McGlynn. He will not do it against NE. Aaronson I don’t think is ready yet.
      I don’t understand why Bedoya plays every minute. He must have something on Curtain.
      Flach just runs around and offers little to the attack. Hopefully these guys are not exhausted by next week.
      Gazdag looked good but was that because Bradley was so poor, hope not. Next two games a big test.

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