Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC | MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs TORONTO FC
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
Oct. 5, 2013 (WEEK 32, MLS Game #293)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-Phi; TSN2)
Philadelphia Union face a massive home contest in their bid to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs when they entertain Toronto FC on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union now sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and hold the final postseason spot, following their 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City last weekend which stopped a long winless run. Toronto FC put an end to an eight-game winless streak of their own last time out, their biggest victory of the season coming in a 4-1 defeat of D.C. United at BMO Field.
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): James Conlee; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 10; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: PHI: Greg Jordan
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz, Michael Farfan, Sheanon Williams … TOR: Gale Agbossoumonde, Steven Caldwell, Matias Laba, Darel Russell, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Convey
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Raymon Gaddis, Jeff Parke, Conor Casey, Keon Daniel, Amobi Okugo … TOR: Richard Eckersley, Reggie Lambe, Justin Braun
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Union 3 wins, 16 goals … Toronto FC 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 4
AT PHILADELPHIA (4 meetings): Union 2 wins, 7 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 2
4/13: PHI 1, TOR 1 (McInerney 91+ -- Earnshaw 71)
6/1: TOR 1, PHI 1 (Osorio 66 – McInerney 94+)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and on each occasion, Jack McInerney scored a goal in stoppage time to rescue a point for Union. McInerney’s goal answered a Robert Earnshaw strike for a 1-1 draw April 13 at PPL Park; McInerney’s tally answered a Jonathan Osorio goal in a 1-1 draw June 1 at BMO Field.
- Union have two wins and two draws in four meetings all-time vs. TFC at PPL Park following the first meeting this season.
- The only road victory in the all-time series came at BMO Field on May 28, 2011, when Union claimed their biggest-ever victory, a 6-2 defeat of TFC.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. TOR: P4 W1 L0 T3 … Ryan Nelsen vs. PHI: P2 W0 L0 T2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- Toronto FC went a man down in the 41st minute when central defender Doneil Henry was sent off for earning his second yellow card of the game after a foul on Philadelphia midfielder Danny Cruz.
- TFC took the lead in the 66th minute. Freed down the right, Jeremy Brockie sent a dangerous cross through the Union box and Jonathan Osorio got onto the end of it, sending a diving header past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
- But Union hit for a second late equalizer against TFC when a cross wasn't cleared and went as far as Jack McInerney on the right side of the area, and he lashed a low shot to the back of the net for the draw.
- TORONTO FC (4-2-3-1): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Doneil Henry (sent off 41), Steven Caldwell, Darren O'Dea - Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall - Jonathan Osorio, Bobby Convey, Luis Silva (Ashtone Morgan 46) - Robert Earnshaw (Jeremy Brockie 61 / Danny Koevermans 86).
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz, Jose Kleberson (Keon Daniel 15), Michael Farfan (Antoine Hoppenot 71) - Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey 60), Jack McInerney.
Philadelphia Union put an end to their winless run after five matches, getting the game’s only goal for a victory against Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park on Friday evening. Union are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 30 matches.
- The game's lone goal came in the 36th minute. From a scrum in the Sporting penalty area, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was able to block Michael Farfan's shot from close range. But the ball fell to Conor Casey for a point-blank putaway from the rebound into the center of the goal.
- Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath finished with five saves, including three big stops in the first half, two of them of the acrobatic variety.
- Union team manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park. Michael Lahoud and Michael Farfan came into the midfield, in place of Sebastien Le Toux and Keon Daniel.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams (Jack McInerney 83), Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Michael Lahoud, Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 58), Michael Farfan, Fabinho - Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 67).
- Union put an end to their winless streak after five matches, the longest since a club record-tying eight-game run without a win last season.
- “We have four more games left and we still have to win at least two more games,” said striker Conor Casey. “We know where we are at and tonight was a big win, it’s just important that we carry the win like this brings into next week and go after three points at home next week.”
- Casey’s goal was the first for Union in more than a month, since Aug. 25. The tally ended a club-record 346-minute goalless streak.
- “It was about time. We’ve had plenty of chances to do it, but we just haven’t been that good in front of the goal for the last month. Today we really didn’t have that many chances and we were able to score,” Casey said.
- The goal was the 10th of the season for Casey, giving Union a pair of 10-goal scorers (also Jack McInerney). Union are one of two teams with two scorers with 10 goals or more (Columbus: Dominic Oduro, 12, and Federico Higuain, 11).
- Casey has been involved in each of Union’s last four games, dating back to Aug. 10, with three goals and an assist in that time.
- “They put us under a lot of pressure for good chunks of the game and we defended really well. Everybody, especially our back four, but it was a great team defensive effort,” Casey said. “It wasn't necessarily our prettiest game but we were able to score which we haven't been able to do. It's a huge three points for us, it's something we really needed at this point in the season.”
- Michael Lahoud made his first appearance in the starting lineup since March 30, playing the full match in the center of midfield.
- After starting every league match since May 15, Sebastien Le Toux came off the substitutes’ bench, playing the final half-hour in place of Danny Cruz, who suffered a hamstring injury.
- Zac MacMath recorded his 11th shutout in goal for Union, tied with Portland’s Donovan Ricketts for the league lead. “He was really good. He controlled the box and made a couple key saves. He really kept us in the game,” said Union team manager John Hackworth.
Toronto FC put an emphatic end to their winless streak after eight games, rolling to a 4-1 win against D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 31 matches.
- United opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Jared Jeffrey beat TFC 'keeper Joe Bendik with an exceptional strike from 25 yards out.
- Toronto evened the proceedings 11 minutes later when Darel Russell delivered a goal of the week contender when he chested an errant ball inside the United area and turned and volleyed past 'keeper Joe Willis in genuinely spectacular fashion.
- TFC took the lead on another high-quality goal in the 67th minute when right back Mark Bloom delivered a cross that striker Bright Dike finished with authority via a thundering volley.
- Toronto added an insurance goal four minutes later on the break when a cross from Alvaro Rey ended up in the back of the D.C. net courtesy after defender Conor Shanosky turned it into his own goal.
- Rey added a spectacular goal of his own in the 87th minute when he showed off some dribbling ability in the United penalty area before delivering a well-placed shot inside the far post.
- TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made one changes to the team that dropped a 2-1 decision to Sporting Kansas City at BMO Field. Gale Agbossoumonde came into central defense in place of the suspended Steven Caldwell.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Gale Agbossoumonde, Ashtone Morgan - Alvaro Rey, Darel Russell, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Convey (Reggie Lambe 84) - Bright Dike (Justin Braun 81), Andrew Wiedeman (Kyle Bekker 90).
- Toronto FC recorded a season-high four goals in the defeat of D.C. United. It was the most goals in a league game for TFC since a 4-2 win at Columbus on Sept. 10, 2011.
- “I thought it was great, especially going forward. When the guys got into the final third they really expressed themselves,” said TFC assistant coach Jim Brennan, who handled the bench-coaching duties in place of the suspended Ryan Nelsen. “They looked to take guys on. We wanted to get numbers into the box and we did that today. We had some great service to the strikers and some good finishes.”
- The win also put an end to an eight-game winless slide, the club’s second-longest this season (after going 11 games without a win March 16-June 1).
- Bright Dike scored his first goal for TFC, making his second consecutive start and fourth appearance since his arrival from the Portland Timbers.
- “It was great to see Bright score after all he has been through,” Brennan said. “He has been fighting to get back into shape and he came out here and played 80 odd minutes. The boy ran his socks off today and he was rewarded with a great goal for all of the hard work that he put in.”
- Said Dike: “I’m just happy to be playing and to get the three points. It is definitely a good feeling. We have to keep it going now. Hopefully we can start stringing together some performances like that and become a better and more consistent team at the end of this year and next year.”
- Álvaro Rey also scored his first goal for the club, making a fifth consecutive start. Rey contributed his first MLS assist the week before.
- “With Alvaro, he’s getting better every week. He’s starting to show what he can do. He’s causing the full backs a lot of problems out there,” said Darel Russell. “With Bright, he’s obviously come back from a major injury and he’s going to take a few weeks to find that sharpness. He was a little frustrated in the first half with a few things that were just missing him but in the second half he got himself stuck right in and got himself a goal which is fantastic for him.”
- Russell scored a goal for a second consecutive week, starting back-to-back matches in central midfield in place of the suspended Jonathan Osorio.
- Making a third consecutive start at fullback, Mark Bloom picked up his first career MLS assist.