Date: Saturday, February 27th
Time: 4:00 PM
Venue: Al Lang Stadium - Tampa, FL
Streaming: Philadelphia Union
All-time record: Historically the Union have always played Toronto well, compiling a 7-5-5 record all time against the Reds. Toronto however won all three matches in 2015 by a combined score of 6-2.
What Toronto will look like: Toronto made the playoffs for the first time in club history last season, however they were bounced out in the first round 3-0 by arch-rivals Montreal Impact. Already a strong team with players like Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Herculez Gomez, and the inimitable Sebastian Giovinco, Tornto added solid MLS veterans in Drew Moor, Clint Irwin, Will Johnson, and Steven Beitashour as well as rookies Tsubasa Endoh and Philadelphia Union Academy product Darius Madison. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2016, and will most likely look to give their starters a good run out before their opening match against the New York Red Bulls in New Jersey. Altidore however will miss the match with (surprise) a hamstring injury.
What Philadelphia will look like: I would expect Union Manager Jim Curtin to also give his projected starters a good amount of work ahead of the Union's first match against FC Dallas. After 60 to 70 minutes, look for the reserves to come on for Curtin to get one last good look before the season starts.
What to expect: Look for the teams to work on the little things - set pieces, positioning and for the Union, not getting into foul trouble and fights like against the Red Bulls. Of particular interest for the Union will be not only the midfield personnel, but their rhythm and how they create offensive chances. Again, the final score isn't as important as fitness and flow.