Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC: MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs TORONTO FC
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
April 13, 2013 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #53)
4 p.m. ET (WPVI-ABC6; SNET Ont)
Streamed FREE on MLS Stream of the Week
Philadelphia Union return home to the friendly environs of PPL Park to play host to Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon. Union completed a two-match road swing last weekend, coming away from Columbus with a 1-1 draw against the Crew. Toronto FC hit the road following a pair of tests against top Western Conference sides, their last match a second consecutive 2-2 draw, this time against FC Dallas.
REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 10 games; FC/gm: 27.1; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 1; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Union 3 wins, 14 goals … Toronto FC 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
AT PHILADELPHIA (3 meetings): Union 2 wins, 6 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 6/1: Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 6 p.m. ET; 10/5: Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/26: TOR 1, PHI 0 (Koevermans 88)
7/8: PHI 3, TOR 0 (Gomez 34; Adu 36; Hoppenot 78)
9/15: TOR 1, PHI 1 (Williams 85 – Hassli 58)
- Union are unbeaten all-time at home vs. Toronto FC. Philadelphia won 3-0 last July 8 at PPL Park, their second win vs. TFC in three home games.
- The only road victory in the all-time series came at BMO Field in 2011, when Union claimed their biggest-ever victory, a 6-2 defeat of TFC on May 28.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. TOR: P2 W1 L0 T1 … Ryan Nelsen vs. PHI: first game
Philadelphia Union concluded their two-game road swing with a point, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday evening. Union sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 5 matches.
- Union took the lead in the 34th minute. Danny Cruz made a well-timed run down the right sideline before squaring a pass to Jack McInerney, and he collected his third goal with an easy tap-in.
- But the home side hit for the leveller in the 72nd minute. Eddie Gaven sprung Dominic Oduro with a pass off the outside of his right foot, and that enabled the speedy Ghanaian to get into space past the Union defenders before firing a heavy ball from a tough angle that snuck in between the near post and goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
- Union team manager John Hackworth made three changes to the team that dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Keon Daniel and Gabriel Farfan came into the midfield and Conor Casey started up top, in place of Michael Lahoud, Michael Farfan and Sebastien Le Toux.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Danny Cruz (Michael Lahoud 66), Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll, Gabriel Farfan (Antoine Hoppenot 78) - Conor Casey (Sebastien Le Toux 62), Jack McInerney.
- After back-to-back wins against Colorado and New England, Union have now taken just a single point from their last two games.
- “Of course we walked away feeling frustrated a little bit, but at the same time I have to keep it in perspective,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “They are such a good team and they played a really good game in the second half. I thought my team did a good job trying to negate what they’re doing. But, in the end, they got a great goal and we walk out of here with a point.”
- Union’s Jack McInerney scored his third goal in five games this season in the 1-1 draw in Columbus on Saturday. Dating back to last Sept. 29, McInerney has 7 goals in his last 11 games.
- “I’ve said this many times before but Jack can be better,” Hackworth said. “He knows he could have scored a couple of goals vs. Columbus at a minimum. He knows he can improve and he knows what his strengths and weaknesses are. Putting the ball in the back of the net has to be something he does on a consistent basis.”
- Said McInerney: “Some guys will fall off and hopefully I’m not one of those. But if I keep putting myself in good spots, I’ll be there at the end.”
- The Toronto FC match is the only home game in a five-match stretch, which started with the loss in New York and the draw in Columbus. Union head to the road for trips to D.C. United and New England over the next two weekends.
- “We know that on the road we’re going to have to fight. We learned a lot about ourselves with [Thierry] Henry scoring a late goal,” said center back Amobi Okugo. “So when it got towards the 80th minute, the whole backline lead the team and stood firm. Luckily, we came away with a good result.”
- After starting the opening four matches of the season, Sebastien Le Toux went to the substitutes’ bench for the Columbus game, coming on for the final half hour.
- “It’s great when you can bring a player of Le Toux’s quality off of the bench. There were a lot of quality guys that were not in the starting 11 and that’s a credit to our team,” said Hackworth. “I think we are a lot deeper than most people give us credit for, but to have him [Le Toux] in particular come off of the bench is a huge advantage for us.”
Toronto FC reached a second consecutive 2-2 draw with a Western Conference foe, this time coming back against FC Dallas at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon. TFC sit in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 5 points from 5 matches.
- FC Dallas took a first-half lead when Andrew Jacobson hammered home in the 34th minute after a headed flick from Kenny Cooper off Michel's corner kick found the midfielder unmarked in the box.
- FCD struck again in the 59th minute. After a turnover in midfield, FCD's Jackson sent a long ball over the top to
- Blas Pérez, who beat TFC defender Darel Russell and made no mistake in stroking home his second goal of the season.
- Toronto pulled a goal back in the 85th minute after Matt Hedges’ ill-timed headed attempt to clear bounced past 'keeper Raúl Fernández and enabled late substitute Justin Braun to score on a header from almost under the crossbar.
- The home side then completed a truly miraculous comeback in the 90th minute when Russell redeemed himself with a single shot. Receiving a crossfield ball from Braun, the TFC fullback blasted the ball from 21 yards out past Fernández for the equalizer.
- TFC boss Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy at BMO Field. Gale Agbossoumonde came into the back four in place of Danny Califf, and Jonathan Osorio started in midfield for Terry Dunfield.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-1-1): Joseph Bendik - Darel Russell, Darren O'Dea, Gale Agbossoumonde, Richard Eckersley (Ashtone Morgan 90) - John Bostock (Justin Braun 73), Jeremy Hall, Jonathan Osorio (Luis Silva 46), Reggie Lambe - Hogan Ephraim - Robert Earnshaw.
- While Toronto FC have won just once from five matches, they have taken points in successive matches against the top two clubs in the Western Conference.
- “If you asked me two months ago or six weeks ago I’d be very happy right now with the schedule and who we are playing,” said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. “But I feel for the guys who are disappointed, because with L.A. and here was an opportunity and they don’t come very often and we are pretty close to being a good team. Just need a bit of belief and we showed we can compete with any team.”
- With center back Danny Califf sidelined by illness, Gale Agbossoumonde made his MLS debut, playing alongside Darren O’Dea in central defense.
- “It has been great here at TFC. It’s not just having a coach who excelled at the top level playing my position, but also having players here like Danny [Califf] and Darren O’Dea who I can play next to,” Agbossoumonde said. “Just watching them and being able to learn from them, it has been great experience so far and I am very comfortable here.”
- After he was involved in the play that led to the LA Galaxy scoring their stoppage-time equalizer, fullback Darel Russell netted the late leveler vs. FC Dallas, his first MLS goal.
- “I made a mistake last week and we ended up drawing,” Russell said. “This week, I redeemed myself and it almost feels like a win after being 2-0 down. There was only one thought in my mind when I saw the ball coming over and that was to control the ball and have a go at it late in the game. … It felt really good. It’s like a boxer when they hit a great punch. It came off the foot well. I saw the back of the net ripple and that was good enough for me.”
- With Terry Dunfield out with an injury, Jonathan Osorio made his first MLS start. But he came off at halftime in place of Luis Silva.
- “Delighted to see a second half effort like that, where we dominated the game dominated possession and dominated the chances beside their goal which we were caught on the break,” said Nelsen. “I’m frustrated by the fact that it took adversity to get the character and personality out. We are going to learn to show that from the start.”
- There is an injury concern for the weekend with fullback Richard Eckersley. “Ecks said he felt his hamstring when he celebrated the second goal, which is an interesting one,” Nelsen said. “He might have been sprinting to celebrate with [Darel Russell] rather than sprinting during the other 90 minutes. He is just cautionary at the moment and we are just keeping him out of training as he has a tight hamstring.”