Recap: Philadelphia Union Beat Toronto FC; Sweep Two-Game Series
photo via Philadelphia Union’s twitter.
The match between host Toronto FC and the streaking Philadelphia Union was a matchup of teams going in the opposite direction. The Union have now won three straight, including both games played in four days against struggling Toronto. First half goals from Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger gave the Union the 2-0 shutout and are now in a playoff spot that seemed highly unlikely earlier this summer.
Toronto knew exactly how Philadelphia would play this game. The Philadelphia Union under interim manager Jim Curtin have become counterattacking masters and in the first half today Toronto seemed powerless to stop them.
Casey scored his eighth goal of the season in the eighth minute by heading home a beautiful Sheanon Williams cross. Casey was left alone near the six yard box by a Toronto defense that is in shambles. Playing without injured Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow, along with the suspended Ashtone Morgan the defense has struggled mightily. Morgan was sent off late in Wednesday’s loss in Philadelphia.
The hosts had much of the possession but never threatened the Union goal and the Union sealed the victory in the 43rd minute with a header from Andrew Wenger, with an assist from Williams who headed the ball back across the goal to Wenger after a corner kick.
Greg Vanney, in just his second game as head coach, started Dwayne DeRosario in an effort to generate offense. It seemed like a desperate move and it did not yield much more in the attack.
After a listless first half, Toronto finally woke up in the second half and began threatening the Union goal.
Michael Bradley began to assert himself and take control of the match and Toronto were unlucky not to score a couple of times being denied by the post. The Union held strong however and finally seem to have figured out how to kill off games and not only get three points but shutouts as well. Zac MacMath did not have much work to do but played well and Casey was strong as well.
The defense played very well and the back four of Williams, Ethan White, Maurice Edu and Ray Gaddis all played well. The best player for the Union today, however, was French midfielder Vincent Nogueira, who was all over the field today and led multiple Union counterattacks. Nogueira sat out Wednesday’s match after suffering a minor groin injury in training.
The Philadelphia Union host New York next Saturday afternoon, while Toronto will travel to Chicago for a Saturday night match.