Union remain in first place with 2-1 road win over Toronto FC

The good times for the Philadelphia Union keep rolling along as they get a 2-1 road win against Toronto FC.

Union starting XI: Coronel; Trusty, Elliott, Wagner, Gaddis; Fabian (Aaronson 58′), Monteiro, Bedoya, Medjunanin; Picault (Santos 69′), Przybylko (Creavalle 90+1′)

Toronto FC starting XI: Westberg; Zavaleta, Ciman (Chapman 78′), Mavinga; Morrow, Delgado, Bradley, Auro (DeLeon 69′), Osorio; Pozuelo, Hamilton (Altidore 72′)

The first half started slowly with each team feeling each other out. The Reds eventually took over the run of play, and the Union were back on their heels a little bit.

The boys in blue finally got their act together after about 20 minutes, and looked dangerous after that, with great runs and passes. Their good play paid off with a goal in the 25th minute. Kai Wagner made a great run down the left and passed the ball into the box, where it appeared Fafa Picault had beaten Chris Mavinga and knocked the ball into the net to give the Union the 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately for Picault, the goal would be end up being changed to an own goal by Mavinga during the halftime intermission.

The Union would continue to dominate for the next 10 minutes, but then the Reds found their dangerous form again, although they could not break through the Union defense.

It was a different story for Union in the beginning of the second half. Their defense was a joke. TFC had a couple of instances where the ball was bouncing around in the box, and the Union were having trouble getting clearances from anyone. The sloppy play eventually hurt them in the 51st minute as a foul gave TFC a dangerous free kick in the penalty arc. Alejandro Pozuela made a beautiful bending kick over the wall towards the right corner of the goal which got past the outstretched hand of Union goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel.

The Union D tightened up a little after that (it couldn’t have gotten worse), but the Reds were still dominating. Yet somehow the Union managed to get the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute with a beautiful sequence by Kacper Przybylko and Jamiro Montiero. Przybylko was running toward the box on the left and passed the ball to Monteiro, who then passed it back. Przybylko then found Monteiro running into the box in the middle, and the Dutch midfielder placed the ball beautifully into the far side as TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg fell down.

Toronto tried to generate offense by putting Jozy Altidore in for Jordan Hamilton in the 72nd minute, but he never looked dangerous.

The Union managed to stave off the TFC attack for the rest of the match. The Reds looked especially dangerous during the six minutes of stoppage time, but Jack Elliott came through with a couple big clearances.

The final whistle saw the Union on top 2-1 for a huge road win against a conference rival.

This Union team is for real. When they are controlling the match, they are playing some football that is beautiful and fun to watch. If they can somehow find a way to play like that for a full 90 minutes, they will have to be considered one of the elite teams in Major League Soccer. Maybe they already are.

NOTES

  • The Union are now riding a five-game unbeaten streak, and have gotten points in nine of their last 10 games! That is the recipe for getting into first place.
  • Monteiro was invisible in the first half, but made up for that with his go-ahead goal in the second half.
  • Coronel was excellent tending the goal. In one sequence towards the end of the match, he got taken out by one of his own players while trying to reach for a ball in the air. As Toronto prepared to strike, Coronel managed to get back up and scramble to make a great kick save.
  • Jim Curtin gave a shoutout to the Sixers during his halftime TV interview. Hopefully we’ll see two Philly wins in Toronto this weekend.

The Union now come back to Chester for a three-game homestand, starting with the Seattle Sounders. The Union need to stockpile the points as they will be on the road for four of the next five matches after the homestand.

I encourage all Union fans to keep looking at the standings and enjoy seeing them on top! DOOP!

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