Match Recap

Union battle Toronto FC to scoreless draw


Philadelphia Union extended its shutout streak to three as they battled Toronto FC to a scoreless draw on a wet evening at Subaru Park.

Philadelphia Union returned to Subaru Park for a midweek matchup on Wednesday, taking on Toronto FC after a two game away stretch. The Boys in Blue made one change to the Starting XI with forward Julian Carranza absent after picking up a knock in training on Tuesday. Instead, Mikael Uhre, Quinn Sullivan, and Daniel Gazdag were the attacking trio, while the midfield were comprised of Jack McGlynn, Alejandro Bedoya, and Leon Flach were in the midfield.

Meanwhile Toronto FC was missing one of their most impactful players as well – with the club announcing proper to kick off that Italian playmaker Lorenze Insigne had taken a flight home to Naples to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. Fellow countryman Federico Bernardeschi was back however for the Canadian side after missing the hectic match against FC Cincinnati last weekend due to yellow card accumulation.

In Philadelphia’s most recent match, Flach was one of the best on the pitch, and he started strong again on Wednesday. Sullivan crossed the ball into the box in the early in the contest and although it didn’t find one of his teammates at first, Flach took control of the possession, nearly creating a chance for Gazdag to break through. In the 14th minute, Sullivan found a wide-open chance in front of the net after a pass from Gazdag. It likely would’ve been called offsides, but 1v1 against Toronto keeper Sean Johnson, Sullivan opted to try and lift the ball over the keeper, who was off his line, instead of his typical big boot toward the back of the net, but the decision didn’t go in his favor, as the attempt landed on top of the net.

A few minutes later the Union continue to create as Gazdag took the ball from Matty Longstaff to spur another promising possession for the Union, starting with a Sullivan cross through the box that again didn’t find a teammate. It resulted in a corner kick, and a tap attempt from Uhre near snuck through the crowd, but it was stopped by a foot.

Elliott’s been in good form at center back and he showed up early, clearing a shot from Longstaff. In the succeeding Union attack, Uhre sped toward the net to attempt a cross into the box, but it went out of play, resulting in another McGlynn free kick that didn’t amount to a goal for the Union.

Toronto FC turned up the pressure on the Union in the 22nd minute as Derrick Etienne Jr. ripped one from the top of the box that was deflected by Elliott but went just wide of the Union net. Bernardeschi took the free kick, but Semmle remained unshakeable, making two consecutive punching stops. While trying to get the ball out of Toronto’s attacking end, Bedoya was shown a yellow card caution for reckless offense.

Opposing defender. Raoul Petretta tried a shot from distance after collecting a pass with his chest, but it went above the net. Passes between Alsonso Coello, Bernardeschi, and Etienne Jr. forced Semmle to make another massive save in the 27th minute.

Just before the break, Toronto almost claimed the lead when Jonathan Osorio took advantage of an overload run on the left side. With Semmle’s full attention locked on the opposition’s captain, he opted to pass to Bernardeschi instead of taking the shot. The Italian couldn’t handle the hard pass however and ended up redirecting the ball clear over the crossbar and into the River End.

Both teams emerged from the locker room aggressive, looking to claim the first lead of the match early in the second half, but each group’s first chances were stifled despite close calls for both teams. In the 48th minute, a Jack Elliott tackle to stop Bernardeschi nearly sent the ball past Semmle, but the touch instead just barely grazed the left post in what could’ve been a very unfavorable touch for the Philadelphia Union.

The home team almost scored in front of their fans in the River End, when the team captain found himself right in front of Johnson with a chance to score after a pass from Kai Wagner who intercepted a poor clearance from the visitors. The experienced 34-year-old MLS keeper made the stop with a reaction save to his left to protect the near post and deny the Union the opening goal.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half, both sides failed to create any scoring action, spurring the first sub for Toronto FC in the 67th minute. Head Coach John Herdman made the call to take out Deandre Kerr and bring on midfielder Deybi Flores to add some fresh legs in the middle of the pitch. Right after the switch, Philly went direct with a long diagonal ball connecting with Sullivan at the edge of the box. The Union homegrown had a perfect touch to cut inside his marker but saw his blocked on its way to the Toronto shot stopper.

With the match still scoreless, Curtin turned to a triple change in the 78th minute as Chris Donovan, Tai Baribo and Jose Martinez entered for Uhre, Bedoya and Jack McGlynn. As the Union pushed all their numbers into the attack, Toronto dropped back in response. Counter attacking was the only play forward when the circumstances called for it. Back to back chances came shortly after the Union substitutions with Bernardeschi’s solo run caught by Semmle followed closely by substitute Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty slipping in behind to be saved.

Philly took control of possession after the two Toronto chances with quick combination passes nearly sending Chris Donovan in on goal but Johnson timed his run off the line to scoop it up before the Drexel graduate got on the end of it.

Philadelphia Union is back in action this weekend as they kick off June hosting CF Montreal. The game serves as Alumni Night for the Union with players form the past 15 seasons making their return to the area for the contest presented by Primepoint. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 7:30PM ET.

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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