Match Preview: Union versus Toronto FC, Saturday 8/20/16

The Philadelphia Union will try to keep their momentum going against a resurgent Toronto FC side Saturday in Chester.

The Union are coming off of a 4-0 thumping of the Revs in New England which saw them gain three precious points and temporarily stop a swoon that had started when Vincent Nogueira left the team. Toronto’s last match was a 1-1 draw against Houston. The table finds both teams in playoff position currently, with TFC surging into second place with 37 points, while the Union have cooled off on 34 points and sit in fourth, albeit seven points clear of the red line. A win would put the Union level with TFC in the standings with nine matches left; a TFC win would vault them to the top of the East.

This is the first of two meetings against the teams this year. The other match will be on September 24th in Toronto.

The Union will have to watch for the always-dangerous Sebastian Giovinco, who has fifteen goals and eleven assists this year in what could be another MVP year for him. The rejuvenated Jozy Altidore as well as¬†Michael Bradley will attempt to give the Union fits. For the Union, this is the first home match for new midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who provided a much-needed calm in the middle of the field while playing the 8 role in the 4-0 rout of New England. Andre Blake as always will be a key in this match, and may be called upon regularly. Chris Pontius as well will attempt to add to his now team-leading ten goals in what has been a year that’s revealed him to have much left in the tank if he can stay healthy.

The Union will hope CJ Sapong will be available for selection after undergoing concussion protocol. If not, look for Fabian Herbers to start up top.

Possible first XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Yaro, Rosenberry; Creavalle, Bedoya; Pontius, Barnetta, Ilsinho; Sapong

Prediction: the Union’s poor defense rears its ugly head again and can only seal one point at home.¬†Union 2, TFC 2

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