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Preview: Union, TFC look to keep it up under new coaches

PPL PARK, Chester, Pa. July 8, 2012 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #169)
4 p.m. ET (WPVI-abc6; TSN/RDS2)

A pair of clubs who have changed coaches in the last month meet for the second time this season when Philadelphia Union play host to Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park. Union, under John Hackworth, have won twice, coming off a thrilling 2-1 win at the LA Galaxy last Wednesday. TFC, under Paul Mariner, have run off five games without loss in league play, after a scoreless draw at FC Dallas, also at midweek.


REFEREE: Paul Ward. SAR (bench): Jason Cullum; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Mark Kadlecik MLS Career: 35 games; FC/gm: 23.2; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 11; pens: 7


  • PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: FW Chandler Hoffman (L big toe fracture); FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion symptoms); DF Bakary Soumare (R knee meniscus recovery); PROBABLE: DF Sheanon Williams (R big toe fracture recovery) ...
  • TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); DF Doneil Henry (illness); QUESTIONABLE: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); DF Ty Harden (R adductor strain); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain)




  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez ... TOR: Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman, Richard Eckersley, Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings

ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Union 2 wins, 10 goals ... Toronto FC 2 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 1 AT PHILADELPHIA (2 meetings): Union 1 win, 3 goals ... Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 9/15: Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 1 p.m. (TSN/RDS)
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A goal from Danny Koevermans in the 88th minute gave TFC their first victory of the MLS campaign, May 26 at BMO Field.
• The victory in the first meeting was the first for TFC in four meetings with Union. • Union set a club record with a six-goal outburst in a 6-2 win against Toronto FC last May 28 at BMO Field. • Coaches record: Paul Mariner vs. PHI: first game ... John Hackworth vs. TOR: first game

5/26: TOR 1, PHI 0 (Koevermans 88)
• The game's lone goal came two minutes from full time. Nick Soolsma found second-half substitute Danny Koevermans just outside the left side of the post after some determined work down the wing. Koevermans' first effort was stopped by goalkeeper Chris Konopka, but the Dutchman muscled home the rebound from close range.
• TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Doneil Henry, Adrian Cann, Ashtone Morgan - Luis Silva (Nick Soolsma 70), Torsten Frings, Julian de Guzman - Reggie Lambe (Richard Eckersley 54), Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Danny Koevermans 63).
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Chris Konopka - Raymon Gaddis (Michael Lahoud 37), Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan - Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Kai Herdling (Antoine Hoppenot 65) - Lionard Pajoy, Danny Mwanga (Josue Martinez 83).

Philadelphia Union won on the road for the first time in more than two months, going to The Home Depot Center and coming away with a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday evening. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 15 games.


WATCH: Full Match Highlights

  • The Galaxy nabbed the equalizer in the 73rd minute. Landon Donovan fed Todd Dunivant on the left side of the area, who slipped a ball across goal. It threaded through a group of players, flicked on by Robbie Keane, and Chad Barrett was there to tuck it in from close range.
  • Deep into stoppage time Union snatched the winner. Substitute Lionard Pajoy shielded a defender then hit a backheel into space for Michael Farfan. The midfielder dribbled into the area and curled a shot past goalkeeper Josh Saunders inside the right-hand post.
  • Union interim manager John Hackworth made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Freddy Adu, Michael Lahoud and Jack McInerney came into the team, in place of Gabriel Gomez, Jorge Perlaza and Lionard Pajoy.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-1-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan - Freddy Adu (Antoine Hoppenot 71), Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Gabriel Gomez 61), Keon Daniel (Lionard Pajoy 75) - Michael Farfan - Jack McInerney.
  • Union took the lead in first-half stoppage time thanks to a bit of individual brilliance. Michael Farfan raced down the right side of the area, got to the touchline and pulled a centering pass back toward goal. It found a streaking Jack McInerney, who got to the near post and flicked a backheel that snuggled just inside the back stick.


  • Since John Hackworth has taken over as coach, Union have gone 2-2-0 and won two of their last three games. • “I think we are the youngest team in the league, if I am not mistaken, and they can play. We have the ability to
  • fight and battle but we can also play quality soccer and that is what we are trying to do,” Hackworth said. “When we all believe that there is a little bit of confidence that comes with that and then you get a result like this on the road in a crazy tough atmosphere against the defending champions, it is a massive win for us.”
  • Union have scored seven goals over their last three games, with multiple goals in two of those, after the 2-1 win in LA. They have scored multiple goals in just three league games this season.
  • “It’s a season-changer. We can build off this and maybe with a couple home games we can string a few wins together and we’re right back into the playoff race,” said Jack McInerney. “ ... I think the last three or four games we’ve been playing like this, and I think we’ve been playing well lately. The results haven’t always been there but (Saturday) was all about effort.”
  • Jack McInerney returned to the starting lineup for the third time in the last four games and scored his third goal in his last two games, after missing out on the Houston game.
  • “The left and right backs are making a lot of runs forward and we can play the ball in to Freddy (Adu) or Keon (Daniel) to leave a lot of space in behind. We didn’t always get the ball in the spot but we did a good job of creating space,” said McInerney.
  • Michael Farfan had a goal and an assist in the same game for a second time, also performing the feat last Sept. 29 vs. D.C. United.
  • “For Michael, the work he did the whole game, he was Superman,” Hackworth said. “Going up and down, the playmaking, the defending – and then to pull off that kind of classy finish at the end was fantastic.”
  • “I think (it’s) just Hack giving us confidence... and letting us know that it’s our job out there to be creative and put ourselves in good situations and make things out of whatever happens,” said Farfan. “I think he’s doing a very good job and letting us use our imagination out on the field and letting us be creative in our own way.”
  • Lionard Pajoy made his first substitute appearance of the season and set up the game-winner with another nifty backheel, his second assist in the last three games.
  • “Both were special,” Sheanon Williams said. “And I hope to vote for both of them for goal of the week.” Said Michael Farfan: “I really liked Jack’s. He’s a really good player and shows us in practice what he can do. To see it on the game field isn’t really a surprise to any of us.

Toronto FC lengthened their league undefeated run to five games, reaching a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Wednesday evening in Frisco. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 10 points from 16 games.


  • FC Dallas jumped out to a dream start. In the fifth minute, a Daniel Hernandez corner was cleared to Jackson 35 yards from goal. The Brazilian sent a curling ball to Andrew Jacobson, whose smart header back across the box was in turn headed home by Zach Loyd.
  • Toronto FC equalized through Danny Koevermans in the 31st minute. A cross was never effectively cleared, and the ball fell to Eric Avila. He fired in a waist-high rocket that Danny Koevermans flicked past FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and into the back of the net.
  • TFC head coach Paul Mariner made no changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at BMO Field.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Logan Emory, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe, Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield (Julian de Guzman 81), Eric Avila (Luis Silva 68) - Danny Koevermans (Nick Soolsma 88), Ryan Johnson.


WATCH: Mariner talks Philly

  • Toronto FC now have four draws and one victory in their last five games, and are 1-1-4 in league play since Paul Mariner took over as head coach.
  • “Taking the game from Dallas in the second half and later stages of the game, they could have nicked it late,” said Mariner. “We didn't have the greatest start with the poor goal we gave away, but we fought back well with a pretty even first half. I'm struggling to find what Dallas did to us in the second half, but I'm delighted with what we did.”
  • Danny Koevermans scored for a fifth consecutive game, with six goals in that time. His nine goals are now tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings; eight of the nine have come since May 19 (eight games).
  • “He's got a ridiculous eye for goal and a knack for getting on the end of things. You can see the work he does on the ball and off the ball. He's a special player. He's a goalscorer,” said Mariner. “With a lot of young players, they try and smash it into the back of the net, but Danny just guides it over the line. That's a goalscorer. It doesn't matter if the net bulges, it just matters if you can get it over the line.”
  • The MLS record is seven consecutive games with a goal, held by Raul Diaz Arce, Wolde Harris and Carlos Ruiz.
  • “It doesn't matter how you score. If you can put your feet, or your head or your nose on the ball and in the net, it's a goal. I don't mind how I score or how the team scores, as long we score it's fine with me,” Koevermans said.
  • For a second consecutive match, Toronto FC allowed the opening goal within the first five minutes of the match. They’ve allowed six goals in the opening quarter-hour, tied for most in MLS.
  • “I don’t really know what happened, we need to do a better job of coming out for games,” defender Logan Emory said. “We didn’t come out with a lot of energy for whatever reason. We can’t give them a head start like that.”
  • After conceding multiple goals 10 times in the first 13 league games, TFC have allowed just two goals total over the last three games, with one clean sheet.
  • “It's just got to do with the back four. [Ashtone Morgan] reads the game very well for such a young player, and I'm struggling to find a better left back in the league at the moment,” said Mariner. “The defense bodes well for the future. We played [in Dallas] against a very explosive forward line.”
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