Hoppenot v Toronto

Match preview: Union ready to dictate game in Toronto

Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.; Where: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario

TV: The Comcast Network with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno

Radio: None; Online: Streaming video at mlssoccer.com/live

Referees: Geoff Gamble (main), Joe Fletcher, Philippe Briere, Drew Fischer (fourth)

Int'l duty:  Kyle Bekker; Doneil Henry; Ashtone Morgan; Jonathan Osorio (all Canada); Darren O’Dea (Ireland)

All-time (eight meetings): Toronto FC: two wins (nine goals); Union: three wins (15 goals); Ties: 3


The Philadelphia Union picked up one point following a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC April 13 at PPL Park.

In the aftermath of that match, manager John Hackworth said he was frustrated with how Toronto FC played and their tactics throughout the 90 minutes.

There’s no way to really know how smooth the action will be when these two clubs meet again Saturday at BMO Field in Toronto.

No matter what transpires, the Union are focused on what’s most important – leaving with three huge points on the road.

“I mean, my hope is that the game is a little different,” Hackworth said. “My expectation is that it is not going to be really any different. I think they have some new players, they added some very quality players on the field. So it is a different team a little bit for Toronto. I think that makes this a little interesting. I still think you are going to have two clubs that are really fighting for points and are going to try to go out and get a result. Hopefully it is a better soccer game than it was here but that is all we can ask for.”

The Union (5-5-3, 18 points) are in the midst of a difficult stretch.

After a tough 5-3 loss at Montreal last Saturday, the Union rallied for a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Ocean City Nor’Easters in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Once again, it’s a tough turnaround back in league play.

Toronto FC has a subpar 1-7-4 ( seven points) record, but nothing is a given. Especially when Philadelphia is fully aware of what happened in its last league match at Montreal.

“You never really forget about games like that,” said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. “It’s always in the back of your mind. When you give up a lot of goals, it’s not acceptable. We have a very good defensive team and we know we can all play better. We have to keep doing it on a consistent basis. I think consistency has been an issue for us and we know we have to improve on playing 90 minutes each game.

“We have a tough schedule coming up and we need to be focused for each step of it. I think we’ve proven that we can go out and get points on the road. That helps a lot, even though we could definitely have been much better in Montreal.”

The Union are 3-2-3 all-time against Toronto FC but they’ve gone just 1-2-1 at BMO Field.

“Winning on the road is never easy in this league,” said defender Sheanon Williams. “We’ve done it and gotten three points in tough stadiums under tough conditions. I think we all realize what we need to do to keep compiling points on the road. We have to be focused and concentrate from the start and keep it going for 90 minutes. We can’t make mental mistakes or let down for a second.

“I think we’re a focused club with so many games coming at us at once. I know we’ll go to Toronto and be ready to play.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com

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