Union Trying to Avenge Early Season Loss
The Philadelphia Union will look to avenge an early season loss to
Toronto FC on Saturday as they near the midpoint of their regular season. Although the Union find themselves at
the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just 11 points and a 3-8-2
record, the club is coming off of a 1-0 victory in a friendly over Scottish
power Celtic and have played very well of late.
Toronto enters Saturday’s match with loads of confidence as the
third place team in the East. They carry an eight game unbeaten streak into PPL Park and haven't lost since May 1 against Real Salt Lake. Most recently, Toronto defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 at BMO Field on a 61st minute goal from Fuad Ibrahim, giving the Reds 22 points after starting 2-4-0.
Toronto is led by
Canadian National Team star and MLS All-Star First XI Dwayne De Rosario, who
leads the Reds in both goals and assists this season. He has netted eight goals less than half way through the
season, while dishing out three helpers. De Ro has also proven to be a threat on set pieces, and the
Union are well aware of this aspect of his game.
In the previous match
between these two teams, De Rosario scored both goals for Toronto in a 2-1 win
over the Union. Both goals were
off set pieces; the first came from a free kick that Union keeper Chris Seitz
mishandled, and the second was a late penalty kick that gave the Reds the 2-1
The other threat for the Reds is forward Chad Barrett, who has
four goals and an assist this season. Speedy forward O’Brian White will miss Saturday’s match due to illness
and Argentine midfielder Martin Saric will miss the match due to a quad
With these two players out for the game on Saturday, Toronto may work in Mista, a 31-year-old Spanish forward who was recently signed as the club’s
DP in the international transfer window. Toronto manager Preki stated that Mista will not start, but he will most
likely see some minutes. With the
two injuries, Mista just may see a lot of minutes as he hopes to get Toronto out of
their scoring woes. Mista’s skill
on the ball and finishing touch will be a great addition for Toronto.
Despite their offensive struggles, Toronto is one of
the best defensive teams in the league. They have compiled six shutouts in the league and have only given up
three goals during their eight-game unbeaten streak. They are a tough, physical team that is very confident
The Union, in need of a victory, will look to break
down this stingy defense on Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia are coming off of a 1-0 victory over Celtic in
which they outplayed the Scots for much of the match. The Union are certainly capable of moving the ball around
quickly, slicing through the Toronto defense, and opening up the flanks for
service into the box. If the club can create scoring opportunities, Sebastian Le Toux and Danny Mwanga know how to finish them.
Defensively, the Union must maintain their shape and
organization in the back. They
will be successful if they can keep De Rosario from getting too much
space with the ball and limit the fouls in their third. The Toronto attack isn’t overpowering,
but free kicks in Philadelphia’s half will enable Toronto to get numbers
forward and attack the goal.
If the Union continue to play as well as they's been playing in their past few home games and can avoid defensive lapses, they'll be in good shape on Saturday.