Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
TORONTO FC vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
Sept. 6, 2014 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #245)
2 p.m. ET (TSN2; TCN-Phi)
Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union meet in the back end of their home-and-home series over the week when the teams face off Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. Union won 1-0 on Wednesday evening at PPL Park, leaving the teams deadlocked on 33 points, and both currently holding down a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. It will be the first home game in charge for TFC head coach Greg Vanney, whose coaching debut came in the loss in Chester.
REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Jeff Muschik; AR2 (opposite): Gianni Facchini; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 4; pens: 3
SUSPENDED: TOR: Ashtone Morgan (through Sept. 7)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Michael Bradley, NE: Lee Nguyen, Collen Warner … PHI: Maurice Edu
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Steven Caldwell, Jackson, Justin Morrow, Dominic Oduro, Warren Creavalle, Gilberto … PHI: Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: PHI: Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone; 9/6 v Cote d’Ivoire; 9/10 v Congo); Rais Mbolhi (Algeria; 9/6 v Ethiopia; 9/10 v Mali); Carlos Valdes (Colombia, 9/5 v Brazil), Zach Pfeffer (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 10 goals … Union 5 wins, 18 goals … Ties 4
AT TORONTO (5 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Union 1 win, 9 goals … Ties 2
9/3: PHI 1, TOR 0 (Casey 55)
- The teams are meeting in the second game of a home-and-home series during the week. Conor Casey’s goal 10 minutes into the second half gave Union a 1-0 win Wednesday at PPL Park.
- The only road victory in the all-time series came at BMO Field on May 28, 2011, when Union claimed their biggest-ever victory, a 6-2 defeat of TFC. The last two meetings in Toronto have ended in 1-1 draws.
- Union have never lost to TFC at PPL Park, with four wins and two draws in six meetings all-time, winning the last two matches there by 1-0 scorelines.
- Coaches record: Greg Vanney vs. PHI: P1 W0 L1 T0 … Jim Curtin vs. TOR: P1 W1 L0 T0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The game's lone goal came in the 55th minute. After Cristian Maidana sprung Sebastien Le Toux free down the right wing, Le Toux played a perfect centering pass from the edge of the area that Conor Casey ran onto on stride and put first-time past a helpless Joe Bendik in the TFC goal.
- TFC finished a man down when fullback Ashtone Morgan was sent off in the 77th minute after he dragged down Le Toux from behind to thwart a breakaway, receiving a straight red card from referee Jose Carlos Rivero. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath returned between the posts and was credited with three saves for the shutout.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Ethan White, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis - Amobi Okugo, Brian Carroll - Sebastien Le Toux, Cristian Maidana (Fred 71), Andrew Wenger - Conor Casey (Brian Brown 61).
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Nick Hagglund, Ashtone Morgan (ejected 77) - Daniel Lovitz (Bright Dike 83), Collen Warner, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio (Gilberto 46) - Dominic Oduro (Ryan Richter 84), Luke Moore.
Toronto FC saw their winless streak extended to four matches in Greg Vanney’s first game in charge in the 1-0 loss at Philadelphia. TFC sit in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 33 points from 25 matches.
- Vanney made two changes to the team that fell 3-0 to the New England Revolution at BMO Field in his coaching debut. Ashtone Morgan came into the back four for Bradley Orr, and Daniel Lovitz started in place of Gilberto.
- “It’s a tough one to take for us. We obviously wanted to get a point coming in here. It seems were in a bit of a slump, but it’s not something that isn’t expected,” said midfielder Collen Warner. “It’s a long season and we’re facing a lot of injuries at the moment. That’s what I take away from it, but we’re still fighting through all this. It’s the way it works and we’re waiting to catch our break.”
- Toronto FC were shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive match for the first time this season, and have now gone 190 minutes since scoring their last goal.
- “We had to work through some things in the first half,” Vanney said. “We weren’t able to really move our attack into the opposition’s half and from a possession standpoint, they sat back and waited for us, and our spacing and positioning wasn’t such that we really made them make some decisions. One of the things we talked about today was trying to be a little more forward-thinking with that initial pass out of transition. In the first half, we weren’t winning balls where we were looking to win balls. We were getting a little bit stretched out.”
- Ashtone Morgan made his first league appearance since the season opener on March 15, when he came on as a late substitute vs. Seattle. It was his first league start, his third in all competitions for TFC this season – but he will miss the return match with Philadelphia after being sent off.
- “With Morgan red-carded, clearly I’m going to have to re-evaluate what options we have and make some form of adjustment,” Vanney said. “I just don’t know exactly that is just yet.”
- For the first time since his arrival from the Columbus Crew, Dominic Oduro started the game in the attack, partnering Luke Moore. He was moved back to the flank to start the second half with the introduction of Gilberto, who came off the substitutes’ bench for the first time since July 30 to replace Jonathan Osorio.
- “Jonathan’s (Osorio) nurturing some stuff now and we’ll see how he’s doing. He’ll be reevaluated in a few days. With Gilberto, we wanted him to get on the field and we didn’t think we had 90 minutes in him because of his calf tightness. But he looked strong [Tuesday] and we thought we could get something out of them. And I thought Dom gave them some troubles on the flank too,” Vanney said.
- Daniel Lovitz made his first career MLS start, on the right side of midfield, after making 11 appearances as a substitute. Lovitz did start both legs of the Canadian Championship final.
- “The guys worked their socks off the entire match. Even a man down, we created some problems for them. We got to turn it around over the next few days and turn some things around,” said Vanney. “There’s really only so much that we accomplished in terms of tactics in this match. We really tried to focus primarily on Philadelphia and how we wanted to approach the match. But at the same time, I wanted to drive and give the team some confidence to be more attacking and create more chances. I’m proud of that through all of that difficulty, they worked hard.”
- Bright Dike made his second appearance of the campaign, coming on for the final seven minutes, and Ryan Richter made his first appearance in any competition this season for TFC, also as a late substitute.
- “Bringing on Bright [Dike] and Andrew [Wiedeman], they’re attacking-minded players. But with Andrew, he’s a workhorse too, so he can get up and down the line,” said Vanney. “We had switched to three in the back so we needed somebody on the outside that had fresh legs that could get up and down and help us defensively, but also help us out offensively.”
Philadelphia Union won their second match in a row and extended their home winning streak to four games with the 1-0 victory Wednesday night. Union are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 26 games.
- Union interim manager Jim Curtin made three changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 at PPL Park in their last match. Zac MacMath came back in between the posts for Rais Mbolhi, and Brian Carroll and Cristian Maidana came into the team in place of Carlos Valdes and Vincent Nogueira.
- “Good teams win 1-0 games and that’s what we did. I didn’t want to throw this out earlier in the week because it would probably depress the guys but it was our first shutout since Chivas USA in a league game. It’s been a while,” said Curtin. “We talked all week internally about getting four more points from Toronto. We’re on a good pace for that. We can’t just split with them because that gets us nowhere. We can’t just split 3-3. We need to go to Toronto now and take points there. That becomes the focus.”
- Conor Casey returned to the scoresheet, scoring his seventh goal of the season, his first since July 16. Casey has scored 17 goals in his two seasons with Union.
- Sebastien Le Toux recorded his fourth assist over the last two games, playing a part in all five Union goals in the back-to-back victories. Since Le Toux was installed into the Union starting lineup by interim manager Jim Curtin on June 28, he has scored seven goals and added four assists.
- “He was dangerous. He is confident. When Seba’s confident he is tough as anyone to cover. I’ll be the one to start the Best XI conversations with him. If you look statistically and you look at what he’s done, he’s hot right now. If he continues the form that he’s in then he has to be in the discussion for Best XI of our league which is probably the highest honor you can get,” said Curtin. “I think he’s playing that well. The ground he covers is unbelievable. He just runs and runs and runs. The pressure that he provides defensively leads to a lot of our chances offensively.”
- Cristian Maidana made his first appearance since he was forced from the field injury in the July 16 match vs. New York. He recorded his ninth assist of the season, his first since July 12, sitting in a tie for 10th place on the MLS assist leaderboard.
- “[Maidana] was able to get a good 68 minutes and you can still see the class he can play a final ball and his service on restarts is something I can’t teach – that’s just all him. He’s a special player. So again, it’s a team effort. Everybody is stepping up,” said Curtin. “Would you love to have [Vincent] Nogueira healthy? Yes absolutely. Maybe we will get that one for the Open Cup final. We can finally get that one out there with the whole gang healthy and on the field at the same time.”
- With Rais Mbolhi away on international duty with Algeria, Zac MacMath returned to the starting lineup after a two-match absence and recorded his fourth shutout of the season, his first since a 3-0 win at Chivas USA on May 31.
- Said Sheanon Williams: “He’s been a great pro. I know it’s not easy for him with the situation he’s in. But he’s taking it in stride and he knows we’re going to need him if we want to make the playoffs. And, after not being called upon for a couple games, he comes in today and comes up huge. I’m proud of him and proud of the way he’s handled everything. And this is not going to be the last time we’re going to need him.”
- With Carlos Valdes also away on international duty, Maurice Edu returned to central defense, partnering Ethan White. Amobi Okugo remained in a deep-lying central midfield role along with Brian Carroll, who made the 299th league start of his MLS career.
- “We have depth. We’re missing several guys on international duty that are playing international games with their countries right now. For guys to slide in and do the job that they did tonight is impressive. And we talk about having to juggle things,” said Curtin. “We put Maurice Edu in the backline as a center back and for me he was excellent tonight. He was one of the best players on the field. It was a good team effort. I think Brian and Okugo broke up a lot of plays.”
- After starting six consecutive games following a three-match absence, Nogueira did not feature in the first TFC match.
- “He hasn’t had a break. I can’t manage that now; I don’t have games to say “Hey take 3 or 4 games off.” He’s a guy that wants to be on the field,” said Curtin. “It’s kind of a groin but it wraps around to the high hamstring. He feels it when he tries to strike a ball. Is it something that will keep him out long term? I don’t think so. The things I’m getting is positive. Does that mean he’s a sub in Toronto? Maybe. Does that mean he starts in Toronto? I don’t know. We’ll see. We need fresh legs obviously. He will be a pretty good player to throw in your lineup that’s for sure.”