Toronto FC, hosting a playoff game for the first time, welcomed the Philadelphia Union for only their second time in the playoffs. There was no knockout round back in 2011 so the Union have hosted once, and need to win this one for a chance to do it again.
It was Toronto who was the better team on this night, breaking a 10 year playoff win drought. 3-1. Except for a strong stretch of play, which got Philadelphia their only goal in 73′, Toronto made the most of their chances and some poor play by the Union defense and an especially bad night for Ken Tribbett, that lead to two of the three Reds goals. Overall the U were outshot 14-7, 6-3 on goal.
Union Starting XI 4-2-3-1
1 G Andre Blake, 12 D Keegan Rosenberry, 4 D Ken Tribbett, 16 D Richie Marquez, 33 D Fabinho, 11 M Alejandro Bedoya, 2 M Warren Creavalle, 14 M Fabian Herbers, 10 M Tranquillo Barnetta, 13 M Chris Pontius, 13 F C.J. Sapong
Toronto FC Starting XI 3-5-2
1 G Clint Irwin, 15 D Eriq Zavaleta, 3 D Drew Moor, 6 D Nick Hagglund, 33 M Steven Beitashour, 31 M Armando Cooper, 4 M Michael Bradley, 21 M Jonathan Osorio, 2 M Justim Morrow, 17 F Jozy Altidore, 10 F Sebastian Giovinco
Except for the first 5′ or so, most of the first half seemed to be played in the Union end. Bradley got a yellow in the 14′ taking down Barnetta a bit late, and a bit behind, but instead of building on that, Philadelphia quickly gave up a goal in the 15′ as Tribbett misplayed a ball. Then with Blake waaaay off his line, Altidore got the ball over to Giovinco, who had the whole net at which to shoot, for the opener. It was Toronto FC’s first ever playoff goal.
Sapong also got a yellow in the 25′ for taking down Bradley. It got quite chippy toward’s half time as Bedoya and Altidore each picked up yellows in the 43′ and stoppage time respectively.
Much like the last Union game the TOP at the half was just about even 50.4-49.6 in favor of the Union, but they were outshot 9-3, 2-1 on target, and each team blocked a shot. As bad as they appeared they were probably somewhat happy to only be down 1-Nil.
That changed early in the 2nd half as in 48′ Osorio got the Pinball right in front of Blake which had just bounced off two Toronto players, and not a Union one in sight, to make it 2-0, TFC.
The Union seemed to come alive after that 2nd goal, and started to control the action until after two+ matches of futility, Bedoya in 73′ finally got a ball past Irwin, to cut the lead in half. They kept the pressure on after that but it only took Altidore a second to start the run on a counter, and then get his own rebound off of Tribbett, and easily scored to put the game out of reach 3-1, 85′. Tribbett was “rewarded” later with an obviously frustrated yellow card foul.
Ilsinho came in for Herbers 59′ the 1st sub of the game, Toronto 2nd goal scorer, Osorio was next to come off for WillJohnson 65.’ A flurry of subs then saw Roland Alberg in for Sapong, 69′ and Benoit Cheyrou on for Cooper, 70′. Charlie Davies was the last sub for the U in the 84′ for Rosenberry , 88′ Tosaint Ricketts for Altidore finished off the exchanges.
This is the End Notes: Every team at that start of a season has a goal of winning it all, but the Union met their less lofty and more realistic goal of making the playoffs again. Even though they stumbled down the stretch, overall it was a good season for the U, and going into the second year of Earnie Stewart‘s stewardship, they have something to build on, so the future looks bright. As stated in my last recap, I would be remiss in not thanking Pattisonave.com for giving me this opportunity to scribble here, my PatAve colleagues for their astute writing and editing skills, and the Union for welcoming us into the press box once again. See you all again here soon for more Temple football, and in the Spring for the next season of the Union and the Phillies.