MATCH REPORT: Union Blow Early Lead, leave Toronto with 2-2 Draw.


Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union


The Union had a huge Home Win against Nashville on Saturday night. The Second Place Boys in Blue then travelled to Toronto for a mid-week battle. AATSports has the full match coverage here!


Starting XI

Union

Freese

Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo

Flach, Martinez, Bedoya

Monteiro, Gazdag

Przybylko


Toronto FC

Westberg

Lawrence, Mavinga, Bradley, Auro

Osorio, Okello, Pozuelo

Shaffelburg, Altidore, Delgado


First Half Summary

If the Union left Toronto with a win, then they would punch their ticket into the playoffs. Bedoya wanted to get the party started early for Philly. Kai Wagner sent a nice ball into the center of the box, where Gazdag controlled the pass. He then turned to his right and found Bedoya inexplicably alone. He fed the Captain, and Ale did the rest. An easy goal for the Union, who immediately found themselves up 1-0!


Despite the hot start, Toronto was the more threatening side during the first 15 minutes. Fortunately for Philly, Freese was not tested, and the Union began to gain a bit more possession in Toronto's side of the field.


The next scoring chance came in the 30th minute. Philly earned a free kick, and Jamiro's well-placed cross found the head of Glesnes. He did well to put it on target, but ultimately it was far too easy for Westberg.


A close scoring chance from Toronto came in the 40th minute. The Union turned the ball over, and Toronto marched down the field with ease. A low shot forced Freese to make a kick save, and the Homegrown Keeper was livid when he rose to his feet. Rightfully so. The Union were making it far too easy for their opponent to attack the net.

The first half whistle was finally blown, and Philly returned to the locker room with a 1-0 lead. Considering the flow of the match, the Union was fortunate to have that.


Second Half Summary

The first ten minutes of the half started similar to how the first half ended. Toronto did well to put pressure on Philly, who was not able to threaten Westberg at the opposite end of the pitch. Although Freese remained untested, the Union were one mistake away from being tied 1-1.


The first booking of the night came in the 57th minute. Brujo was leading the counter down the field, and he was brought down by Mavinga right before midfield. An easy call for the official there. Curtin then used the stoppage in play to make a sub. The recently injured Sergio Santos was brought into the match for Daniel Gazdag. Curtin mentioned Sergio not being ready for a full 90 minutes, but he certainly needed to see some minutes before the playoffs.


The Union had an excellent chance to extend their lead in the 64th minute. Bedoya did well to lead Wagner behind the defensive line, and Kai sent an excellent cross to the feet of Kacper. Przybylko was somehow stopped by Westberg, who sent away the close range shot. This soon proved to be a costly missed opportunity.


Toronto was attacking in the box, but the ball found its way out to Kacper. Instead of clearing it away, the forward tried to back heel it to Brujo. The ball was turned over, and after a blocked shot, Altidore sent a powerful strike passed Freese. Another careless mistake by Philly. 1-1.


The draw didn't last long. A ball was failed to be cleared out, and a cross came in from the left side of the pitch. Elliott dove for the cross to send it out of play, but he got a poor touch on the pass, which sent the ball passed Freese. What a gut wrenching few moments from Philly. They went from leading 1-0, to trailing 2-1 in a matter of minutes.


Many people have called Santos the most dangerous forward on this club, and tonight he showed why. Wagner sent a perfect cross into the box, where Sergio was alone in front of the net. He put a well placed header to the corner of the net, and Westberg had no chance. 2-2 Union, but the scoreboard watching was fully underway. Nashville had been down 2-0, but then stormed back to make it 4-3.


An unfortunate moment came in the 85th minute. Bedoya began to limp, and he was immediately taken out for Bueno. Hoping the Captain is alright with Cincy up next on Sunday.


The next booking came shortly after the substitution. Brujo did not agree with a foul call, and his obvious displeasure was quickly answered with a yellow.


The official then made his impact felt in the closing minutes of regulation. Miro did well to find Kacper inside the box, and Przybylko's shot was quite clearly struck by Bradley's extended arm. Somehow, the officiating crew did not find the need to go to VAR. What a huge moment in the match, which would have given the Union the chance to make it 3-2.


Ultimately, the final whistle blew, and the Union left Toronto with a draw. Nashville took the lead and never let go, which bumped them back into 2nd place. Philly now returns home on Halloween against Cincinnati.


- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)

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