Saturday will be a memorable match for Union fans in attendance at Talen Energy Stadium. Philadelphia’s most decorated USMNT star and newest acquisition Alejandro Bedoya will make his home debut against Toronto FC, with a kick-off scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Union acquired Bedoya on Aug. 3 via the Allocation Process after the club secured the #1 spot in the Allocation Ranking Order in a trade with the Chicago Fire. For Philadelphia sporting director Earnie Stewart, having a high quality player like Bedoya is exactly what Philadelphia Union wanted.
“He brings a lot of experience, excitement, being overseas a lot,” Stewart said. “He’s somebody that we can add to our core group right now that has that experience to bring us over the line. But most and foremost, he checks all those boxes that we believe a player of the Philadelphia Union has to have.”
Bedoya made his MLS debut with the Union this past Saturday in New England when Philadelphia squared off with the Revolution. Bedoya was penciled in the starting lineup logging 72 minutes for the Union, while completing 40 of 45 pass attempts for an 89 percent passing completion.
The presence of the new acquisition helped the Union secure their largest margin of victory of the season in a 4-0 win over New England. Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin praised Bedoya for his ability to control the tempo of the match and give the Union a calming presence.
“I think you saw with the addition of Alejandro, a guy that can slow the game down when it needs to slow down, and can speed it up when it needs to speed up,” Curtin said. “It gave us a little bit of a calming presence in possession. I think the guys fed off of that. I thought we were tough to break down all night.”
Philadelphia will look to Bedoya to continue to give the club that calming presence at home against a strong Toronto FC club that features the reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco, who is putting on a sensational 2016 campaign. Giovinco tied with NYCFC’s David Villa for the league lead with 15 goals and is tied for second in MLS with 11 assists.
Off the field Bedoya is getting acclimated to his new home. The USMNT star has quickly become a fan favorite in Philadelphia by appearing on billboards, local television shows, radio podcasts and to top it all off, Bedoya threw out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies game Thursday night.
As for his plans on the field, Bedoya has made it very clear what his intentions are for his new team and the city of Philadelphia.
“I’ve already met the guys, been part of the group. I think it’s a great group of guys,” Bedoya said. “Hopefully I can help them make a push into the playoffs, and make a run into the playoffs. I’m here for three and a half years, and I hope I can make a big difference and pay Philly the respect back that they’ve given me.”