Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 4-2 Toronto FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union snapped a five-game winless streak in MLS play in emphatic fashion, riding a Mikael Uhre hat trick to a 4-2 win over Toronto FC on a rainy Saturday night at Subaru Park.

An own goal from Toronto opened the scoring, while Lorenzo Insigne and Richie Lareya scored second-half consolation goals for the Canadians.

Jim Curtin made two changes at the back on his side’s return to Subaru Park. Kai Wagner returned from injury to play left back, while Nathan Harriel got the start at right back. Olivier Mbaizo missed the gameday lineup entirely, having picked up a hamstring injury.

Rain poured down as the two sides took the field, a hardy but sparse crowd of poncho-clad supporters dotting the Subaru Park seats. The early minutes of the match were one-way traffic for the Union, who pinned Toronto in their own half and started asking questions. Julian Carranza missed the net with two half-chances, while Jose Martinez rifled one over the bar.

A Toronto own goal gave the Union the opener after 16 minutes. Some well-worked interplay between Wagner and Carranza got the ball to Daniel Gazdag. Bearing down on goal, the No. 10 forced an excellent save out of Sean Johnson, but a clearance attempt by Sigurd Rosted clattered off Lukas MacNaughton and into the Toronto net.

Five minutes later, Mikael Uhre doubled the Union’s advantage. The wet ball bounced wildly around the box, but it eventually found its way to Uhre. His shot deflected off a Toronto defender and wrong-footed Johnson, nestling into the netting for Uhre’s first goal at Subaru Park this season. VAR took its sweet time reviewing the play, but ultimately allowed the goal to stand despite a collision between Carranza and Johnson in the buildup.

The Union kept coming forward, invited by some lackluster defense from Toronto. Jack McGlynn unleashed a dangerous shot that beat Johnson but clattered harmlessly off the crossbar. A good hard cross from Harriel allowed Gazdag to sneak the ball past Johnson and into the net, but the midfielder had strayed offside and the goal was correctly waved off.

The third goal would arrive before halftime anyway, Uhre’s second of the evening. Gazdag slipped a beautiful pass through the center of the hapless Toronto defense for Uhre to run on to, and it became a one-on-one with Johnson. The striker slotted home cooly, ending the game before halftime.

Uhre kept the party going after halftime, picking up his hat trick in the 57th minute. This time Carranza played provider, sliding a ball into the six-yard box. Uhre just beat his man and clipped the ball over Johnson, completing the club’s first hat trick since Gazdag bagged three against Toronto in last year’s season finale.

Lorenzo Insigne pulled one back for Toronto in the 66th minute in a rare moment of inspiration for the visitors. Jonathan Osorio played a good ball into the box, using a dummy to spring Insigne, and the Italian curled a superb finish past Andre Blake.

The rest of the game played out fairly uneventfully, save the somewhat surprising choice to only use two substitutions before the 83rd minute with the game well in hand.

In the dying moments of the match, Richie Lareya rifled one past Blake and into the far corner, making the scoreline more respectable than it should have been.

The Union now turn back to continental play, taking on Los Angeles Football Club in a two-legged Concacaf Champions League semifinal. The first leg is this Wednesday at Subaru Park; kickoff in Chester is at 9 p.m.

Three Points
  • Uhre, Mikael Uhre. The striker’s struggled for much of the season, but he looked rejuvenated today. The hat trick will do wonders to rebuild his confidence ahead of the CCL semis.
  • Back on track. Helped by a passive and poor Toronto side, the Union got back to what they do best: pressuring the ball, creating transition opportunities, and crushing a weaker side early. It was just the second time this season the Boys in Blue scored the first goal.
  • It’s all about LA. The points are nice, but the real benefit of this result is building some momentum and cohesion ahead of the biggest pair of games of the Union’s season: two legs against MLS Cup foes LAFC, for a chance to play for a continental trophy.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Nathan Harriel, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez (Andres Perea 86′), Alejandro Bedoya (Jesus Bueno 83′), Jack McGlynn (Leon Flach 62′), Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre (Quinn Sullivan 61′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Brandan Craig, Damion Lowe, Joaquin Torres, Chris Donovan

Toronto FC

Sean Johnson, Raoul Petretta (Kobe Franklin 58′), Sigurd Rosted, Lukas MacNaughton (Shane O’Neill HT), Richie Laryea, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Brandon Servania (Alonso Coello 58′), Jonathan Osorio, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Federico Bernardeschi (Jordan Perruzza HT), Lorenzo Insigne (Kosi Thompson 85′)

Unused subs: Tomas Romero, Ayo Akinola, Deandre Kerr, Hugo Mbongue

Scoring Summary

PHI: Lucas MacNaughton — 16′ (OG)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 20′ (Alejandro Bedoya, Julian Carranza)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 43′ (Daniel Gazdag, Alejandro Bedoya)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 56′ (Julian Carranza, Daniel Gazdag)
TOR: Lorenzo Insigne — 66′ (Jonathan Osorio)
TOR: Richie Lareya — 90+2′ (Jonathan Osorio, Alonso Coello)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Jack Elliott — 36′ (foul)
TOR: Lorenzo Insigne — 45+1′ (dissent)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 63′ (foul)

PHI Statistic TOR PHI Statistic TOR


Possession % 59.9 41 Duels Won 52
18 Shots 10 15 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 5 3 Saves 4
6 Blocked Shots 3 17 Clearances



Total Passes 650 12 Fouls 7
81.5 Pass Accuracy % 85.8 2 Yellow Cards



Corners 7 0 Red Cards 0
14 Crosses 9 2.8 xG







  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Rolled that team tonight. Fluid and exacting. Exactly what needed to happen for them —- and for the fanbase. This is the game we have come to expect –and in truth it is an acceptable expectation considering the darkness before the light with this franchise was an epoch of fallibility.
    Otherwise, a bit bummed they conceded 2 gols — but whatever.
    Carry on.

  2. I’m very nervous with Harriel in there vs LA. From what he showed tonight he looks lacking confidence. They will eat him alive.

    • I was concerned about Harriel’s limping toward the sideline late in the game to retrieve the ball for a throw. I would prefer to see him on the right over Real on Wednesday, without disrespect to Real.

  3. Pretty good night for the U! We unfortunately had to miss the game but it was sure a wet one from look of it. Good on the fans who braved the weather. The boys looked sharp and the field looked pretty good considering! They won’t be happy to have not kept a clean sheet. On to Wednesday!!

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Definitely worried about giving up two goals given how last season the team was nailing down the shutouts and this season they look porous. Given the importance of away goals, they NEED to tighten up on Wednesday.
    Did Carranza really get a yellow card? I thought Chilowicz only warned him for consistent fouling. If he did get a yellow, Curtin should have pulled him to avoid a second given the game in Montreal.
    Has anyone ever seen a ref have to stop and tie his shoe less than 10 minutes into a game before?

    • My son missed the shoe tying part of the game and was wondering why there was so much stoppage time at the half. I said it was because the ref stopped to tie his shoe.

  5. Was Johnson really claiming that Carranza fouled him on the second Union goal???

  6. Congrats to U for the well-played match and 3 points. Good to see Uhre tally 3. It’s the shorter hair, Mikhael. Keep it! Haha.

  7. First half, Union attack as relentless as the rain. Second half, the composure and the confidence washed away like so much smoke after the fourth goal. How does a defense that set records last year, and is largely unchanged this year, fail to keep a clean sheet? Glad for the points, but worried that they’re looking ahead to Wednesday rather than focusing tonight. Beat LA!

  8. The OP-ED put it nicely. We picked up 3 desperately needed points. We bagged desperately goals. Uhre desperately needed production for rebuilding his confidence and justifying his team spot and had a hat trick. The timing was right given Wednesday’s match that needs no introduction for importance and payback.
    . . .
    The slacking later two goal concessions need to be minded for the CCL match on Wednesday given away goals are a big deal. They certainly know that, though, and I’ll chalk that up for this match as not wanting to exhaust themselves, pick up cards, and/or incur injuries with the three points virtually secured.
    . . .
    We’ll be playing in rain again on Wednesday by the current forecast and LAFC will be arriving from Nashville on the road. Hopefully both factors work in our favor as they should.

  9. Deez Nuggs says:

    Now that’s more like it. That’s the Union I remembered. What has been missing this season is defense, but not a leaky back line: we’ve been missing defense from the front. The first 60-65 minutes we were pressing hard and organized. Winning every second ball. It’s about the work rate, gents. That’s what made the best defense in the league last year, not just a solid back line but a full press midfield. After the forth goal, we relaxed a bit and let two by. That’s a shame. But we learned that this team still knows how. Now if they can bring that for 90 against LAFC… we have a real chance of getting the first leg win.

  10. John O'Donnell says:

    Uhre is one of the keys and now the front three are peaking just at the right time. His third goal was a confident goal scorers goal as he just out muscled the defender and won the ball. I could care less about the two late goals as the first was just quality and the second was with all the subs getting minutes. I actually wish they pulled Glesnes for Craig on that last switch. Give the kid some minutes and Glesnes a rest for Wednesday. Meanwhile Toronto looks like they’ve over spent on the roster and the backline is lacking big time.

  11. We just have to convince Uhre that Los Angeles is a Canadian city. He’ll bag at least two. The man clearly has it in for Canadian sides. Loved our play that first half. Sliced and diced that hapless Toronto back line.

    I share some of the concern about allowing those last two for Toronto, but given the conditions and the lead they had built, a little slack in concentration is understandable.

  12. Happy about the win, but not sure why Bedoya played 80 minutes. He was already jogging on pressing responsibilities in the 12th minute. Up 3-0, he should have come out at half.
    Again love the win, but still scratching my head about Jim’s subbing.
    Thrilled for Uhre! He needed that game.

    • Yea, I still feel like Jim is too slow to sub especially Ale. Maybe Jim hesitates because he’s the captain.

  13. It’s that SoCal Surfer kit!

    Leave it in the locker room Wednesday night.


  14. I gave my tickets to my middle son so that he could take my grandson Jack and two friends to the game to celebrate Jack’s birthday. Uhre rewarded them with a soggy hat trick. I had to watch on Crapple so my comments are two-dimensional.

    1) For 60 minutes, the Union were who we thought they were–the pressing, dynamic offensive machine that dominated MLS in the second half of 2022. They will need to play this way to win any hardware.

    2) Yes, Toronto were short-handed, but this was still a quality win against a middling, “typical” MLS team. By that, I mean that most MLS teams have 2-3 “stars” and average players filling out the starting XI. Insigne was impressive; Bernardeschi, not so much.

    3) First time all season I had no complaint about the officiating.

    4) Re: giving up 2 goals. . . There were times last year when the Union shut out the opposition when the opponents simply flubbed good chances. The Union were extremely fortunate last year to have set the defensive record. The soccer gods, however, have demanded payback, like Blake’s injury, last week’s OG at Chicago and this week’s garbage time goal. I hope that the soccer gods are now satisfied. If the Union have to give up goals, let it be from 3-0 or 4-1 ahead.

    5) Re: the substitutions. Agreed about Bedoya and Glesnes–they need rest; I don’t think McGlynn does.

    6) Crapple: I did not cast this one–I watched on my computer. I pay for fast WiFi. Nevertheless, there were at least 3 glitches where the video was pixelated and/or delayed and then was sped up to become live once more. I listened to the Apple commentary. Mo Adu’s color commentary was professional and he clearly prepared in advance and knew about both teams. The play by play was alright, too. On balance, though, I think that MLS has made a mistake because most of us who seriously watch soccer only do so on a phone, a tablet or computer as a last resort. We are used to the video excellence of Cable/DirecTV, not an amateurish YouTube stream.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      I watch on my 65 inch Samsung with my Roku. It’s time for you to upgrade.

    • Seeing as how the majority of “serious” soccer games are streamed from services such as ESPN+. Paramount+, Peacock and now Apple…..

  15. While I enjoyed watching the Union play their game my concern is just how bad that Toronto squad was. Was the press clicking because they were that bad or were they that bad because the press was clicking?
    Other pluses… Andre not hesitating to kick the ball long. I’m happy we won’t be playing a good team with the CBs afraid to pass back to him.

    • That’s a great point – never needed Glesnes to take any kicks.

      Also, yes Toronto was bad but so were Montreal, KC and Orlando.

  16. Great game with little to criticize . Jim rolled the dice starting the A team and continuing the momentum from the second half vs Chicago and it paid off.

    To me we lost our mojo when Jack came off. People focus on his chance creation but he does so much to keep possession and help tilt the field. Conversely, I was disappointed with Leon’s sub performance. They need him to be a defensive lockdown sub and he was running around with way too little positional discipline, which helped lead to the second goal. Can’t quibble with Insigne’s goal – that was elite and somewhat enjoyable given the scoreboard.

  17. Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. “El Brujo”… they had a mini-me, and Jose almost missed the game last night

    Welcome ‘El Brujito’… and the doctor immediately gave the kid a yellow card for descent!

  18. I do not have this problem with Peacock or Paramount Plus, but yeah, I should look at an upgrade.

  19. On the commentary, I thought it was the best so far, or at least tied with the team that included Danny Higgenbotham. And volume was good. I wouldn’t mind a shot or two of the team in the booth. Would help me learn how the people are calling the match. I’m not even sure Apple alerted us to who they were. I just recognized Mo’s voice.

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