A trio of first half goals saw Philadelphia Union extend its home unbeaten streak to eight-consecutive matches as the knocked off Toronto FC, 3-0, at Subaru Park.
After failing to find the winner against Chicago Fire last time out, the Union came out of the gates with their foot firmly on the accelerator reminded Toronto FC that Subaru Park is not for them. The offense began from the back, with Jack Elliott unleashing a rocket from 30 yards out that was knocked down by Alex Bono.
Philadelphia Union’s MLS All-Star selection, Kai Wagner, continued his strong run of form, nearing grabbing an assist off a corner kick that Kacper Przybylko got a head on. Bono made the reflex save to keep the scoreboard even.
Despite Bono’s early acrobatics, the Union didn’t hang their heads. In fact, Jakob Glesnes turned his into a weapon. Daniel Gazdag's 13th-minute corner kick smacked into Glesnes’ head as the big Norwegian rose above the fray to notch his third goal of the season, most among MLS defenders.
The Union weren’t done as Sergio Santos reprised his role as Toronto FC’s worst nightmare. In the 32nd minute, the Brazilian looked in on goal after a deflection at the top of the box saw him react first. Only Bono could make the play as he took out Santos and forced Ted Unkel to point to the spot. Playing in just his third game at Subaru Park, Daniel Gazdag tallied his first MLS goal in front of the Union faithful as he rocketed the penalty into the left corner for a 2-0 lead.
The final goal of the half, fittingly, came through Santos. After a strong defensive stand, the forward was off to the races. Collecting the ball in the defensive third, Jose Martinez saw the run and directed an angled ball through the lines and into the striker’s path. It was easy cooking for Santos as he sent a little chip over Bono’s outstretched leg and sent Subaru Park’s fans into delirium.
As the second half kicked off, Toronto pushed to get an early goal. Richie Laryea swiveled on the right and kicked the back of Jack Elliott’ leg as he turned. Ted Unkel pointed to the spot and did not review the VAR monitor, telling Andre Blake to step back before Soltedo approached the spot. Blake waited patiently before diving to his right to parry Soltedo’s low effort. The ball bounced around until Altidore pummeled it over the goalframe. Union players took a moment to gather around the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after his stunning stop.
Blake’s save knocked the air out of TFC and they lost the energy to chase the ball. Achara entered the match after a long injury layoff for the visitors and Cory Burke came on for Philly as Santos exited under his own power after taking a knee-to-knee hit. The timing of Santos’ exit was unfortunate as it was clear he and Gazdag had begin to find a rhythm.
Burke was immediately involved after Olivier Mbaizo floated the ball up the line and Bedoya ran onto it. The captain picked out Burke but the Jamaican star’s shot smacked into Przybylko and flew wide of Alex Bono’s net.
Toronto flipped out their attackers as Altidore’s night came to an end. Philly cared little who the Canadians threw on and immediately combined up the right only to see Mbaizo’s cross curl too close to Bono.
In the 74th minute, Jim Curtin gave his side a different look by adding Paxten Aaronson and Quinn Sullivan in place of Przybylko and Gazdag. The energetic 17-year olds went on the attack and Aaronson saw a low drive from the center slam into a mass of bodies in the box.
Philly was in full control as the match wound down and Jack McGlynn stepped in for Flach, showing just how many young talents Curtin has champing at the bit for a bigger role.
McGlynn’s patience opened a lane for Wagner to fire in a blocked cross before Sullivan looked to thread in Aaronson.
The Boys in Blue continue a grueling August slate as they head north to Eastern Conference leading New England Revolution on Sunday, August 8th. Kick off from Gillette Stadium is set for 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on PHL17 as well as on PhiladelphiaUnion.com free of charge for viewers within the Philadelphia DMA.