Wow. That was something else. To fit the Union’s win over Toronto FC from Saturday into just three lessons was a challenge. Nonetheless, let’s dive into the most important parts from Saturday’s victory.
The Striking Difference
The story of Saturday’s match was obviously Sergio Santos’ hat trick, and for good reason. Santos’ hat trick was the Union’s first since CJ Sapong’s in 2017, and only the fourth in all of club history. Santos has also had himself a good run in the last few games, carrying the offense in recent matches.
To contrast that, Kacper Przybylko hasn’t scored since the Union’s 1-4 victory over Montreal in New Jersey, where he notched a brace against the Canadian side. However, as discouraging as this is, this may be the beauty of the Union attack.
Santos, like Przybylko, has had his off moments throughout the season. The most interesting part is that whenever one seems to turn off, the other is able to turn on and carry the Union’s offense. Maybe it’s the chemistry, maybe it’s the style of play that the Union has proven to be so good at, but they’ve figured out a method to always have a goal scorer.
Maybe Przybylko does need a few games off to reset, maybe Cory Burke or Anthony Fontana will have to step up for him. But in the end, Przybylko up top seems to be working out.
The return of Jose Martinez
After all the drama involving Jose Martinez’s time in Venezuela with the national team, the star defensive midfielder has made his return to Subaru Park. And boy did he show out.
Martinez managed to only commit one foul while taking five, and was able to make a difference throughout the match. Martinez was strong with the ball, was able to create positive plays, and overall made the match significantly easier for the Union. It was hard to remember what he contributed while he went away, and his exit might not have been noticed that much. But his return showed why the Union wanted him to stay so badly, and why Martinez is an important part of the club.
How much does this matter?
As incredible as that win was, and as amazing as the continuous beat down of Toronto’s defense turned out to be, the fact of the matter is that Toronto was missing some pretty strong players. While the Union most likely would’ve had a strong showing even if these players were on the pitch, Toronto definitely got the short straw coming into this one. So while this win is impressive, the Union still has to focus on the next three games, because every point still counts.
The Union is still tied with Toronto in terms of points, making any small mistake count toward who wins the Supporters’ Shield. The Union also have a more challenging schedule than the Canadians, meaning that they’ll have to play their absolute best soccer against teams that will presumably have healthier lineups than Toronto.
To sum it up, stay cautious Philly. The hard part comes now.