Recap: Union stay in first place with 2-1 road victory at Toronto

Philadelphia Union kept its unbeaten streak rolling by going north of the border and knocking off Toronto FC, 2-1, to earn the best start in team history.

The Union looked dangerous early and turned Toronto over multiple times in the opposing half but both sides struggled to create opportunities. The prevailing tactic of the day was to use fullbacks to create attacking width and Toronto did it out of a 3-5-2 while the Union operated out of a 4-4-2 diamond with Marco Fabián restored to the first eleven.

In the 11th minute, Kacper Przybylko made a beautiful run through the left channel and blasted a left footed shot that Westberg tipped around his post. Toronto’s response came six minutes later as they opened the left side for Justin Morrow. In acres of space, the wingback lasered a shot directly at Carlos Miguel Coronel and the Union goalie pushed it aside to keep the score even. That was the only shot on goal Toronto could muster in the first half, a number exactly half of what Przybylko generated on his own.

The big striker got his second look on frame in the 22nd minute from deep in the middle, but once again Westberg was equal to the task. Three minutes later, Philadelphia was out in front but didn’t even get a shot registered for its troubles. A magnificent underlapping run from Kai Wagner allowed the fullback to pop into space alone up the left. Fafa Picault hit the jets and darted in front of Chris Mavinga. The ball deflected off of Mavinga and past Westberg. Although Picault was initially credited with the tally, the league later awarded an own goal.

The home side came out in the second half determined. to even the scoreline. Striker Jordan Hamilton had a shot in the box deflected wide then saw a header off the ensuing corner fly outside of the goal frame. New signing Alejandro Pozuelo eventually evened the score with a cheeky free kick from the center that Coronel got a hand on but could not push around the post.

Philadelphia responded through Brenden Aaronson who entered in the second half for Fabián. After starting the break, Aaronson found space in the box but Przybylko’s excellent ball inside was tight on the teenager and he took an extra touch that allowed Bradley to dispossess him. Przybylko wasn’t on the scoresheet through nearly 70 minutes of play before contributing in the 68th minute. Pinging the ball through Toronto’s defense, Przybylko found Jamiro Monteiro in the center as the midfielder streaked through on goal. A deft tuck into the corner gave the Union a lead they would not relinquish.

TFC created three late opportunities as they pushed to save a point, but Jack Elliott’s massive game helped Philadelphia escape with all three. Elliott slid in to block a point-blank shot from the center, then Coronel spilled a shot in front of substitute Jozy Altidore but the Union cleared it away.

In Steaz stoppage time, Pozuelo unleashed a rocket that spun wide of goal and followed it up by pushing over Auston Trusty, though he only received a caution.

The win keeps Philadelphia in first place in the Eastern Conference as the Union head into a three-game homestand against opponents from the west. The club’s next match will be Saturday, May 18 at Talen Energy Stadium against Seattle Sounders. Tickets are available here.