Preview: TFC look for first points of the season vs. Philly

TOR vs. PHI, 5-24-12

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TORONTO FC vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
May 26, 2012 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #113)
4:30 p.m. ET (SNET One; TCN-Phi)

Already with a trophy in their back pocket, Toronto FC now look to put a halt to their MLS-record losing slide when they play host to Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. On Wednesday, TFC won the Canadian Championship, maintaining their unbeaten mark against MLS clubs in non-league competitions. Union put an end to their own three-game losing streak last time out, coming back for a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas.

REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Brian Poeschel; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 13 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 6; pens: 4

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INJURY REPORT:

  • TORONTO FC - OUT: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); DF Aaron Maund (R eye hyphema); DF Logan Emory (shoulder subluxation); DOUBTFUL: DF Miguel Aceval (L quadriceps strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DF Torsten Frings (shoulder sprain)
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION - OUT: GK Chase Harrison (L ankle sprain); MF Roger Torres (L knee surgery recovery); FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DF Chris Albright (L big toe sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Gabriel Gomez (L quad contusion); GK Zac MacMath (concussion symptoms); DF Carlos Valdes (head laceration); PROBABLE: DF Gabriel Farfan (R knee contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: PHI: Porfirio Lopez (Costa Rica); Zach Pfeffer (U.S. U-18)

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Gabriel Gomez
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Julian de Guzman ... PHI: Michael Farfan

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 6 goals ... Union 2 wins, 10 goals ... Ties 1

AT TORONTO (2 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals ... Union 1 win, 7 goals ... Ties 0

RETURN MATCHES: 7/8: Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m.; 9/15: Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 1 p.m. (TSN/RDS)

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/28: TOR 2, PHI 6 (Santos 50, 59 - G. Farfan 2; Mapp 11, 62; Nakazawa 44; Mwanga 72, 89)
10/15: PHI 1, TOR 1 (Le Toux 43 - Johnson 57)

  • Union have not lost in their last three meetings with TFC.
  • Union set a club record with a six-goal outburst in a 6-2 win against Toronto FC last May 28 at BMO Field.
  • Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman vs. PHI: P4 W2 L0 D2 ... Peter Nowak vs. DAL: P11 W3 L4 D4

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC went down to their ninth consecutive loss to open the 2012 MLS season, losing to D.C. United for the second time in three weeks, a 3-1 defeat at RFK Stadium on Saturday evening. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

HIGHLIGHTS: United hand TFC their ninth loss

LAST MATCH

  • United's opening goal came just 55 seconds into the match, the third quickest goal in team history. Toronto conceded a free kick on the left hand flank, and Branko Boskovic whipped in a curling ball which was headed home by Dwayne De Rosario from 8 yards out.
  • D.C. hit for the second on the stroke of halftime. United quickly changed the point of attack through Josh Wolff, who found a streaking Chris Korb down the right flank. The right back's cross landed for De Rosario at the far post, and he tucked it home off the gloves of TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
  • Toronto FC pulled a goal back in the 71st minute as halftime substitute Danny Koevermans tallied his second goal of the season. A Toronto free kick was sent long into the box and Koevermans raced onto it to tap home from close range.
  • Yet United restored their lead two minutes later. Taking control of the ball in the Toronto box, Andy Najar weaved past several defenders, got to the touch line, and then sent a pass towards the middle that Hamdi Salihi placed into the back of the net.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 to D.C. United at BMO Field. Jeremy Hall came into the back four for Richard Eckersley, and Terry Dunfield and Joao Plata came into the side for Torsten Frings and Luis Silva.
  • TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Doneil Henry, Adrian Cann, Ashtone Morgan - Terry Dunfield (Danny Koevermans 46), Julian de Guzman, Eric Avila - Reggie Lambe, Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 68).

TEAM NEWS

TFC celebrate another Canadian Championship

  • Toronto FC's nine-game losing streak is tied for fourth-longest in the MLS annals. The MLS record for a losing streak is 12 in a row, set in 1999 by the MetroStars. The first nine of those losses were in regulation time. The MLS record for consecutive losses in regulation time is 10, set in 2005 by Real Salt Lake.
  • "Name me one team in the whole world that is 0-9," said striker Danny Koevermans said. "That's what I was referring to - that there is not one team in the world who have lost nine times in a row."
  • Yet, said defender Adrian Cann: "I can say we're the worst team in the world but it's harder to say we're the worst team in the world and do something about it. Actions speak louder than words." Added Winter: "I don't agree and I think he has to be smarter and not say those things."
  • Toronto FC have yet to score the first goal a league match this season. They have led an MLS game for one minute this season: April 21 vs. Chicago, when Reggie Lambe scored the second of his goals to give TFC a 40th-minute, 2-1 lead - before Gonzalo Segares equalized for Chicago in the 41st.
  • "You can tell the differences. Against Vancouver, it was away and we were hungry to win, we were in the cup, it was huge. Here it's the same thing, but ultimately it didn't come across that way," said Cann. "There's no other choice. It's either you are hungry to win the championship, or we play like we did [in D.C.] and come away with nothing."
  • TFC have allowed 11 goals in the last four games, matching their season-high with three goals allowed in three of the last four.
  • "We gave away the goals very easily; the first, second and third. ... We worked hard and created a lot of opportunities, but in the end it was not enough," Winter said.
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC won the Amway Canadian Championship, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 in the second leg at BMO Field and winning the title 2-1 on aggregate. Reggie Lambe scored the game's lone goal in the 83rd minute in a testy match that saw Julian de Guzman (TFC) and Sebastien Le Toux (VWFC) each sent off.
  • Here's the TFC team: Milos Kocic; Jeremy Hall, Adrian Cann, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan; Julian de Guzman (sent off 57), Torsten Frings, Eric Avila (Richard Eckersley 60); Reggie Lambe (Terry Dunfield 84), Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 78)
  • "We just needed a win just to get our confidence back up," Lambe said. "We need to go into Saturday playing the same as we did today and we should get a win Saturday as well."
  • TFC is undefeated (3-0-3) against MLS clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League and Canadian Championship, while still winless in the league.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Philadelphia Union ended their losing streak at three games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening in Frisco. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 8 points from 10 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Philly play to stalemate in Frisco

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the seventh minute. From a corner, Bryan Leyva directed the ball to the far post, where George John's attempted header hit a Union defender. The ball into the six where seemingly out of nowhere, Blas PÈrez dove in and headed home.
  • But the visitors pulled even 11 minutes after the halftime break. A long ball from midfield was header across the box by FCD defender Carlos Rodriguez and Union's Gabriel Gomez raced in to fling himself headlong at the ball, heading it past Kevin Hartman before colliding with the FCD 'keeper.
  • Union boss Peter Nowak made two changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 defeat by the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park. Chase Harrison started in goal for Zac MacMath, and Michael Lahoud came in for the suspended Freddy Adu.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Chase Harrison - Michael Farfan, Carlos Valdes (Porfirio Lopez 78), Sheanon Williams, Raymon Gaddis - Keon Daniel, Gabriel Gomez (Amobi Okugo 58), Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Josue Martinez 55) - Lionard Pajoy, Danny Mwanga.

TEAM NEWS

Union Cribs 2012: MacMath edition

  • With goalkeeper Zac MacMath sidelined with concussion symptoms, Chase Harrison made his first competitive appearance for Union.
  • "He was very courageous on a couple of corner kicks and crosses and the free kicks from the sides. As you can see right now, he took some hits. Some hits on the head and some on the ankle," Nowak said. "You always keep everyone fresh and everyone on their toes because you never know what is going to happen."
  • By match's end, Harrison could barely stand, after hitting the crossbar in the first half, and then rolling an ankle late in the game that left him standing on one leg.
  • "I don't know if anything could have happened that would have taken me out of the game," said Harrison. "It was just one of those situations where I got this opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it. It would have been very difficult for anything to happen that would have made me come out - unless the trainers physically dragged me off the field."
  • Michael Lahoud made his Union debut after being acquired from Chivas USA, starting and playing 55 minutes in a wide midfield role.
  • "He tried to find his feet and understand the system," said Nowak. "We made some pretty good adjustments at halftime and basically executed very well in the second half. We created chances. We scored a goal and a couple of inches of luck here and there and we could have won the game. The 45 minutes was a good continuation of what we've been talking about in the past weeks and months of how we want to play and is a good sign of the future."
  • Gabriel Gomez scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season, his first in three matches. But he had to be substituted immediately after the goal, after colliding with FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
  • "What we tried to change was just the defensive game. Which we didn't have in the first part of seven or eight games and we've tried to make it better. Now we are more dangerous," Nowak said. "People are looking at us like ëwhat are we going to do?' We made the changes and we get shots, so the backline is stepping up and creating room and creating the chances. It's time. It's the new guys settling in. They know each other. They play with each other, so now the understanding as a group is pretty good."
  • There was another injury forced change, when center back Carlos Valdes suffered a bloody gash in a clash of heads and had to come off in favor of Porfirio Lopez, making his first appearance since March 31 when he made the last of four consecutive starts.
  • "I think that's just something we've dealt with all year," Union center back Sheanon Williams said. "We've always had someone injured or have had a red card situation, so guys have been filling in all year. Everybody knows they have to be ready to play and step up when the team needs him."
  • Michael Farfan continued his role in the back four with Sheanon Williams staying at center back with the departure of Danny Califf to Chivas USA in the Lahoud deal.
  • "In the first half, we just couldn't get a rhythm. We were not possessing the ball too well," said Michael Farfan. "But in the second half we came out and spread it out a little more. We adjusted well and we got a good amount of chances. I think we put more pressure and we came out a little stronger [in the second half]. We were able to get out on the flanks and create a couple chances here and there, so I think we did a lot better in the second half."