When the Philadelphia Union travel to East Hartford's Rentschler Field on Saturday to take on Toronto FC (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), a lot will be on the line for both teams. Tied on 28 points and sitting two points behind Supporters' Shield leading Columbus Crew SC, the two have a chance to go top of the table.
Despite their high standing, one member the Union feels like they are being unfairly underrated.
"I think we still don’t get the respect that we deserve because [we’re] playing very very strong and very very good, especially in the defense, but also creating now a lot of chances in the offense," Union forward Kacper Przybylko said ahead of the match on Friday. "I think not just talking for my team and as a team, it’s also individually, we have so many great players. I just think we don’t get still the respect that we deserve because we have so much quality."
The Union's opponents, though, have plenty of respect for the league's second best team. Ahead of the match, Toronto head coach Greg Vanney echoed Przybylko's belief that the Union are a team with strengths across the board.
"Their center backs have done a good job of just not making mistakes and not giving up silly goals and obviously Andre Blake is a guy in certain situations who can definitely come up with the odd save here or there to keep them in games," Vanney said. "They’ve got two strikers who really do a good job of occupying the backline, all four players, because of their mobility and the way they move and Brenden Aaronson and lately Anthony Fontana have really benefited from the space that’s created by those forwards and then obviously in their diamond, the wide players, they’re reliable on the ball."
Vanney was in particular full of praise for Aaronson for his role, part of a Union team that has become hard to play.
"I think, in Aaronson who I really like as a player, that really finds good spaces and keeps the tempo of the game high and they’ve got two big forwards that are a handful, that really make the backline work and so they’ve got a system and a way of doing things that has been successful and they’ve got some experienced guys and some young guys who provide them with the roles that they need to be successful."
Greg Vanney's press conference
For Przybylko, the game is a chance to demonstrate that continued good form of 2020, but also make a statement about how strong they are against a well established top MLS side in Toronto.
"Give a statement against Toronto, it’s like second against third," he said. "This is a great opportunity also to prove now that we are strong, that we have a lot of quality. It’s going to be an interesting game I think, but we’re going to see tomorrow whose team is going to stick more together."