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Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC

Redemption is spelled U-N-I-O-N. At the very least, that’s what the Union will hope as they square off with the team that eliminated them in 2016.

Ken Tribbett scores a goal for the Philadelphia Union against Toronto FC.
Ken Tribbett scores a goal for the Philadelphia Union against Toronto FC.
Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

Game: Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC

Time: 4:30 PM EST, 3:30 PM CST, 1:30 PM PST, 9:30 AM UTC

Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, PA)

Television: US - CSN Philly, Canada - TSN 4 and 5

Streaming: TSN GO, MLS Live (Subscription Only)

Referees: REF: MARK GEIGER AR1: Logan Brown AR2: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho 4TH: Jose Carlos Rivero

All-time Record: 6-6-5, 4 GD

What Toronto will look like:

The team that bounced the Union out of the playoffs last season make their return to Talen Energy Stadium on the back of a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on opening weekend. The Reds have RSL keeper Nick Rimando to thank for their result, but will most certainly feel that match could have gone their way.

Toronto will travel to Chester still fielding the best player in MLS history in Sebastian Giovinco. The Atomic Ant is a Union killer, and has played some of his more consistent games against Philadelphia. If Toronto is to succeed in disappointing the Union faithful again, don’t be surprised if Giovinco is the reason. Will Toronto need Giovinco to upend Philly? Absolutely not. The rest of their team is stacked with players like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Osorio, and Armando Cooper just to name a few.

What will the Union look like:

Some took heart in the Union’s cross country trip and you’d think that this humble writer would also be in that boat. Unfortunately, something about the result left a bad taste. The logical aspect of my brain recognizes a defense that did its job and on the road against a very good Vancouver Whitecaps side. The emotional side of my brain wished the Union got more from the match as Vancouver tired in the second half.

Either way, the Union should take heart in settling some worried minds by picking up a clean sheet as all four of the back line plus Andre Blake did their jobs. Oguchi Oneywu and Richie Marquez fit the bill as neither center back had a glaring misstep against Vancouver.

Offensively, there are still some question marks. The biggest coming from captain Alejandro Bedoya. The man is an absolute workhorse, but his influence on the game offensively is definitely worth a look at. As the 10, he seemed to be a half step behind or a half step ahead others depending on the situation. I’ll chalk it up as still getting a feel for his new teammates, but I’ll be looking to see if his role on the team improves.

What to expect:

These two teams have had some closely contested games in recent memory. Both teams have to want to wash the taste of a scoreless draw out of their mouths. I would be surprised if these two don’t go for the win. The Union don’t have to contend with the speed of Vancouver this time around, but the skill and cleverness of Giovinco will be a primary concern. Derrick Jones will have to be on high alert once again in order to aide Marquez and Oneywu in their battle.

Projected Lineup: 4-2-3-1: GK Andre Blake; LB Fabinho, LCB Oguchi Oneywu, RCB Richie Marquez, RB Keegan Rosenberry; CDM Derrick Jones, CDM Haris Medunjanin; LM Chris Pontius, CAM Alejandro Bedoya, RM Fabian Herbers; ST Jay Simpson

Result: Philadelphia Union 1-1 Toronto FC