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MATCH RECAP: Union Throttle Toronto 3-0

After an underwhelming home performance against Chicago, the Union welcomed the improved Toronto FC into Subaru Park. I was fortunate to be in Chester for AATB, and my summary from the Union's amazing victory is below.

Starting XI



Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo

Flach, Martinez, Gazdag, Bedoya

Santos, Pryzbylko



Lawrence, Mavinga, Zavaleta, Laryea

Gonzalez, Osorio, Bradley, Delgado

Soteldo, Altidore

First Half Summary

Good start to the Union, as Elliott lined up a loose ball and fired it at Bono. It almost ricocheted to the closing Union players, but ultimately the Toronto keeper reeled in the shot. Great way to start the match.

The first corner kick for the Union came in the 8th minute, as Mbaizo's cross was sent out behind the goal. 2021 MLS All-Star Kai Wagner sent the corner across the pitch, and it ultimately found the head of Kacper. His shot was saved by Bono, who had been put to work early.

Kacper had another great chance in the 11th minute. Gazdag had a beautiful pass into the box, but Pryzbylko was not able to put it away. The crowd applauded the effort, and they cheered even louder in the 12th minute. Gazdag again sent a great cross into the box, and the Norwegian CB Glesnes connected with his head to put the Union up 1-0! You felt it building, and it was absolutely what Philly needed to start this match.

The Boys in Blue kept their foot on the pedal, as they continuously forced Bono to keep his team in this match. What a great first 15 minutes from the Union. The best of the season for sure.

Shortly before the 23rd minute, Bedoya had a great pass to find Santos, who then used some fancy footwork to give Gazdag a shot on net. The rebound went right to where Santos had been, but he over ran it and the ball was cleared away. Sergio being back has given this team such confidence, and tonight would prove to be one of his most memorable performances.

The offensive surge continued to come from Santos. First, he had a beautiful back heel pass to himself, which ultimately led to a Union corner. Flach then made a brilliant run into the box, and his pass found the left foot of Sergio. Somehow, the ball was kept out of the net, but Santos was not done. In the 32nd minute, Sergio snuck into the box and was tripped up by the desperate Toronto keeper. A PK was awarded, and Gazdag finally let me cash in on my Anytime Goalscorer bet. The Hungarian put the Union up 2-0! My footage of the goal can be seen below.

Did I mention Sergio was on fire? I could not even keep up with his (and everyone's) chances in the first half. Let me just summarize it by saying the offense was spectacular. The next brilliant moment came in the 36th minute. Jose had a wonderful pass to the moving Santos, who found himself in the box one on one vs the goalie. As you'd expect, Sergio calmly put the ball into the back of the net, and sent the Union up 3-0! Passing has been such an issue of late, but tonight the Union were dominant in their connections.

Bedoya almost made it 4-0 in stoppage time. The Captain had himself a tough angle from the side of the net, and he almost caught the back post. That would have been the nail in the coffin for Toronto, who went into the lockers in a huge hole. The crowd erupted after 2 minutes of stoppage time, and the Sons of Ben gave their team a round of applause as they walked into the tunnel.

Second Half Summary

Philly came out of the locker room and looked to extend their lead, while Toronto made their first sub with DeLeon replacing Mavinga.

Not the start you wanted from Philly. Kai held onto the ball a bit too long when Toronto was issued a throw in, and the ref quickly gave the All-Star a booking.

The issues continued for Philly in the 51st minute. Elliott did well to stand Laryea up, whose foot ended up catching the back of Jack's leg. Laryea fell, and the ref quickly called for a PK. Even after discussing it on his ear piece, the official refused to go to VAR. One of the worst calls I've seen. Soteldo, who had been hearing the boo birds all night, then stepped up to take the PK. Andre did what Andre does best. The Jamaica keeper sent away the low shot with his right hand, and the Union kept themselves up by 3 goals.

Toronto made another sub in the 60th minute, when Laryea was replaced by Achara. Philly also made a sub, just moments after Sergio was taken down from behind. Burke replaced Santos in the 66th minute, and unfortunately Sergio came off limping. Hopefully it is nothing more than a stinger.

Toronto made two more subs, with Osorio and Altidore being replaced in the 71st minute by Perruzza and Mullins. The Union then brought on some more fresh legs in the 74th minute. Sullivan and Paxten Aaronson came on for Kacper and Gazdag. This is the most time Paxten has seen thus far.

Not enough will be said about Jack Elliott tonight. He was outstanding and made some really great stops. A lot of criticism has come to the back line, but they rose to the occasion. Well done by each.

The match slowed down a bit, and the next big moment came when Flach was brought down hard from the back. Leon grabbed for his lower back, and soon tried to continue. Not much later though, the young midfielder went down again reaching for the same spot on his back. McGlynn then relieved Leon, who hopefully will be fine by tonight.

The three homegrowns did well during their time on the pitch. They made the right passes, had some solid runs, and ran as hard as you'd expect from a few teenagers. The future is bright for Philly.

Mbaizo was shown a yellow for his tackle on Soteldo. The 90th minute was then announced, as was seven minutes of stoppage time. After the young guns made an attempt to notch a fourth goal, the whistle ultimately blew, and Toronto was sent off with a 3-0 loss. What an absolutely stellar performance from a team who looked lost only a few days prior. We see the number 1 seeded New England Revolution in just a few days!

- Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323)

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