Michael Bradley stepped up to hand Toronto FC all three points in an action-packed season opener against the Philadelphia Union. The US international midfielder scored on either side of halftime start TFC on their way a 3-1 win, spoiling the debut of new Union star Marco Fabian, who scored his team's lone goal.
TFC got their first big chance of the game from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute. After a highlight-reel save from Andre Blake on TFC's Nick DeLeon, Auro's follow-up shot was blocked by Kai Wagner, only for referee Nima Saghafi to whistle for a penalty. Jonathan Osorio stepped up, but Blake played the hero again, saving the Canadian midfielder's tame effort.
Bradley would get TFC their goal in first-half stoppage time, though, arriving late to finish a simple chance from Auro's cutback. The veteran midfielder made it two for himself and TFC just after the hour mark, slamming home a loose ball after Laurent Ciman's cross ricocheted out towards the penalty spot.
Fabian would net his first official goal for the Union from 12 yards out after Osorio was whistled for a handball, but Toronto FC were able to ride out a tense final spell highlighed by Laurent Ciman's goal-line save, and iced the game via DeLeon's stoppage-time effort.
- 45+3' – TOR – Michael Bradley | WATCH
- 62' – TOR – Michael Bradley | WATCH
- 73' – PHI – Marco Fabian | WATCH
- 90+3' – TOR – Nick DeLeon | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: TFC will take a lot more from this one than Philadelphia so early in the season. The Union certainly have some things to work on, but after TFC's disastrous 2018 and elimination from the Concacaf Champions League, there were big questions being raised about the future of the 2017 champs. This result certainly doesn't put those questions to bed, but such a composed road performance shows that the Reds might still have what it takes to contend in the East.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Bradley's second goal proved the decisive goal a tightly-contested, tightly-officiated match, but it was Ciman's goal line save that preserved the three points for Toronto. With the Union having pulled one back already, they very nearly equalized following a mad scramble, only for Ciman to save the day with a sliding clearance at the very last second:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Credit to Michael Bradley for his all-action performance. He put in some stiff tackles to put the Union off their game, and nailed two composed finishes to hand his team a morale-boosting win. Hat tip to DeLeon and Auro for standout performances of their own.
- Philadelphia: Sunday, March 10 at Sporting KC (3 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- Toronto: Sunday, March 17 vs. New England (7:30 pm ET | TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the USA)