Union cautiously confident for road contest vs. TFC
CHESTER, Pa. -- It’s no secret that Toronto FC are the only winless club in Major League Soccer.
The Canadian side are 0-9-0 in MLS competition and 0-5-0 at BMO Field.
Toronto did, however, secure a victory on Wednesday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps to secure the Canadian Championship title and a berth in CONCACAF Champions League play.
None of that information matters to the Philadelphia Union. Whether the Union are facing a winless club or an undefeated club, the task is always the same – just win.
The Union (2-6-2) are winless in their last four matches, but left FC Dallas with a 1-1 draw last Saturday after playing a terrific second half.
Philadelphia are hoping to take that momentum and carry it into Saturday afternoon at Toronto FC (4:30 p.m. ET, TCN).
“We’re looking at it focused on us,” defender Sheanon Williams said after training on Wednesday. “Obviously, we want to win the game. We want to win all the games. That doesn’t always happen. We’re going to Toronto with the intent we’re going to get points if we play like we’ve been playing and we fight and we’re aggressive. I think we have a good chance of getting a good result.”
The Union got a great result last season at Toronto FC with a franchise-record six goals in a 6-2 victory.
This is a new season and the Union are hoping for a similar result. Getting a road win here could go a long way towards helping the club dig out of an early-season hole.
“We’re in the same boat looking to get the breaking moment for the rest of the season,” manager Peter Nowak said. “I think for us, it was very important to play the game as we did, the result wasn’t our way against New York, but the way we played 90 minutes from beginning to end, it was the start we’ve all been looking for since the beginning of the season. We’ve been waiting for a game like that for a good couple of weeks.”
Following that 3-2 loss to the Red Bulls, the Union secured a much-needed draw at FC Dallas. In that match, they had some players nicked up.
Heading into Saturday, Nowak said defender Carlos Valdes (head laceration) is “OK and doesn’t have any problems.” Valdes did receive nine stitches and is listed on the league’s injury report as questionable. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath (concussion symptoms) is also questionable but Nowak said that he believes his starter will be available. Backup goalkeeper Chase Harrison is listed as out with a left ankle sprain.
“The swelling is coming down, but it’s still pretty purple,” Nowak said of Harrison’s ankle.
Midfielder Gabriel Gomez, who scored the equalizer against FC Dallas, is receiving treatment three times a day for his left quad contusion. Nowak wouldn’t rule Gomez out just yet.
“We’re not scratching him from the game yet,” Nowak said.
Defender Gabriel Farfan trained Wednesday at full capacity and is deemed probable.
Injuries aside, the Union realize the importance of playing well, compiling three points and then preparing for the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday May 29. Every match is a must-win in the players’ eyes.
“They have no pressure on them,” Williams said. “They only way they can look is up. That’s definitely dangerous for us, but you know just looking at ourselves, we need wins as well. We can’t take anybody for granted. We’re not sitting on top of the league looking down on anybody. We’re still looking up.
“We need to keep inching forward. In this league, anybody can beat anybody on any given day and we’re not looking at it like they haven’t won a game yet. We’re looking at what they do well and what we need to do to get points out of the game.”
Preview: Union vs. Toronto FC