The post-Giovinco era is off to a rough start in Toronto.
In their first two games since the Italian star departed, TFC shipped four goals to Panamanian side Independiente, then only managed a 1-1 draw in the return leg on Tuesday. The 5-1 aggregate defeat ended TFC’s hopes of returning to the CONCACAF Champions League final, and it’s sparked worries about Toronto’s upcoming MLS campaign.
This is great news for the Union, of course. TFC regressed big time last season, finishing 9th in the East after falling in the CCL Final on penalties. If it weren’t for Giovinco, who tallied 15 goals and 13 assists in 28 games, it would have been even uglier. With the Italian now gone, and supposed replacement Alejandro Pozuelo tied up in a transfer saga, TFC arrive in Chester tired and weak.
Much of their first-choice XI started on Tuesday as Toronto tried to salvage their CCL campaign. Notable absences were Drew Moor, who came off the bench, and Jozy Altidore, who will not be available for tomorrow’s game.
For the Union, all eyes will be on Marco Fabián tomorrow, as the Mexican playmaker is expected to debut at the tip of the diamond midfield. Though Fabian’s spot is assured, there are questions all over the field for the Union as the season begins. Left back, right back, left central midfield, and both striker positions could see heated competition in the first few games of the season.
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Ray Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin; Derrick Jones, Alejandro Bedoya; Marco Fabián; Sergio Santos, Cory Burke
Toronto FC: Alex Bono; Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Auro; Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio; Justin Morrow, Terrence Boyd, Nick DeLeon
How to Watch
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 1, 2019
Streaming: ESPN+ (blackout restrictions may apply)