PREVIEW – The Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC matchup will be a game between two teams that only have a one-point difference. TFC heads into this game with a seven-game unbeaten run, however only one of those seven games ended up with a win. This is while the Union has struggled as of late in MLS play and is desperately trying to find some momentum on Saturday.
Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC at Subaru Park
Philadelphia Union (1-3-1)
In the last five games, including the two Concacaf Champions League games, the Union has only mustered one win, with one of the other three draws also coming up against Atlas of Mexico on the road. If one was looking at the last five MLS season games, the Union has struggled a lot. They then have a record of 0-2-3. Still, there is still something to learn about this Philadelphia team as they did eliminate a Liga MX team. This is what Jim Curtin said of the draw in Mexico in Sydney Hunte’s MLS article:
“But I still think our group shows a lot of heart…it’s one of those games tonight where when the own goal goes in, you just think it’s going to be one of those nights. But I think from that point on, we actually really took over the game and got stronger and showed our fitness and maybe could have stolen the game, too.”
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) April 16, 2023
They also fell behind the Chicago Fire FC 2-0, as they came back from behind to tie the game on the road thanks to goals from Dániel Gazdag and Julián Carranza. They are a team with a lot of heart, and their record does not show how well they have played. Remember, balancing the Concacaf Champions League and MLS play can be very hard to deal with, as TFC fans are well aware of their 2018 Concacaf Champions League run.
Carranza and Gazdag co-lead the team with three goals and Gazdag leads the team with five assists.
Toronto FC (1-4-0)
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) April 16, 2023
Toronto FC is an interesting team this year. They have only one win, but also only one loss this year. In the last game, TFC was able to come from behind to draw at BMO Field against Atlanta United FC. Brandon Servania was the one who scored the 90+4-minute goal as TFC avoided losing their first game at home this year. Bob Bradley said this about the game (James Grossi of Toronto FC):
“I said we need more guys stepping up and really giving us more,” he added. “And I think that that was definitely the case tonight.”
Bradley also said that he was “proud of the group,” who showed character after coming from behind. It also made a change as it was normally the other team coming from behind to draw against TFC (and in D.C. United’s case, came from behind to win against Toronto FC).
Federico Bernardeschi leads the team in goals and also in assists. TFC goalkeeper, Sean Johnson, is another player to keep in mind as he played a role in TFC earning some points with some big saves.
The problem for TFC is that they can play enough to win but are unable to hold on to a lead, which is why they are not higher in the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
Injuries For Both Teams
Cristián Gutiérrez will be out with the flu. He is the only one listed on the injury list according to transfermarkt.
Kai Wagner is 100 percent, Jim Curtin said. Trained fully the last two days, “no lingering effects”
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) April 19, 2023
The good news for Philadelphia is that Kai Wagner could be returning to Subaru Park and he is one of the better players on the team, so it is something for TFC to watch out for.
Both Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union made club history against each other. TFC in 2016, won their first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs game in 2016 against the Union, while Philadelphia won their first-ever Supporters’ Shield at the expense of Toronto in 2020.
Each team shared the spoils last year. The Union won 4-0 in their last meeting on October 9, 2022, thanks to three goals scored by Gazdag, but TFC won their home game on April 16, 2022.
This is what Bradley said of the previous game, and what he is looking at against the Union (source: James Grossi of Toronto FC):
“You really need to compete as a team against Philadelphia. They’re a team whose style is football forward, fight for loose balls, they run very hard, and I said we have to be up to all of those kinds of battles. We really raised the level in terms of just the way we went after the game.”
— David Malandra Jr (@DaveMReports) April 19, 2023
Philadelphia Union 1 – Toronto FC 2
This is going to be a close game as both teams will battle to earn points. However, the Union will probably rest some players to get ready for the Los Angeles FC game. It is never easy managing the MLS and Concacaf Champions League season, but in this case, resting players for the more important LAFC game makes sense, even if the game against Toronto is a home game.
Photo Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports, on October 9, 2022, of Dániel Gazdag’s Headshot.
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