Coming off of a strong road point in Vancouver, the Union look to open their home slate with a win against a talented Toronto FC side.
A road point against a quality side in MLS is always good for your playoff health, but now the Union are faced with the monumental task of defeating the red giant known as Toronto FC at home.
Last year, the U lost 3-1 to TFC in Chester on August 20th, then drew them 1-1 a little over a month later on September 24th in Toronto. The last time the Union beat the Reds was September 6th, 2014; counting their playoff match last year, the Union have lost five matches and drawn one since the last win.
An eye on the Reds:
Toronto represented the East in MLS Cup and returns many of the same players who helped them get there. Always of concern is perennial MLS MVP candidate Sebastian Giovinco. The diminutive Italian striker finds space where there is none and it will be everything the Union can do to limit his opportunities. Alongside of him in the 3-5-2 system is US international Jozy Altidore, whose size and strength make him a dangerous goal scorer in his own right. From the strikers to the backline, this team is primed to make a lot of noise this year.
Key players for the Union:
Goalkeeper Andre Blake will surely be busy this Saturday, and Derrick Jones will have the monumental task of ballwinner in the midfield as well as being defensive-minded against the TFC attack. Striker Jay Simpson will try to open his MLS account with Haris Medunjanin distributing and Alejandro Bedoya joining an attack that has yet to tally this year.
Possible Union Starting XI:
From what manager Jim Curtin said, it didn’t sound like Ilsinho would be good to go for this week, although Curtin did say that if he hadn’t gotten hurt last week, he would have started.
Andre Blake; Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Oguchi Onyewu, Keegan Rosenberry; Derrick Jones, Haris Medunjanin; Chris Pontius, Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Herbers; Jay Simpson
The Union put up a good fight but they just aren’t in the same league with the Reds yet. That first win since 2014 will have to wait. TFC 2 – Union 1.