Defeating teams near the bottom of the table is expected of a good squad in any sport. But going on the road to one of the top teams in the league and not only getting a win but doing so after momentum is taken away?
That’s a statement.
And that is what Philadelphia Union did with a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon north of the border against Toronto FC.
“Overall it was a really special win for the group,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said afterward with typical understatement. “Initially the challenge was to get above the red line, then it was to push for 1st place and stay in 1st place. And today the challenge was against the top team in the East in their building and what would we look like.
“Every player to a man stepped up in a big way.”
The question will be asked: Is this team really as good as their record indicates? After all, the Union are getting results as a team and not getting standout performances from a well-recognized designated player. In fact, the Union are doing with stars Andre Blake and Marco Fabián injured (the Mexican international made his return to the starting XI against Toronto). Despite the obstacles and deadline transfers of David Accam and Derrick Jones, the Union stuck together and brought three points back to Philadelphia.
“I think they respect everybody, but they’re not scared of anyone,” Curtin said of his team. “We know we had something special in the locker room but now I think people are taking notice that it’s a team that can play with anybody in our league.”
That fearless mentality has contributed to three consecutive wins, five straight victories at Talen Energy Stadium, and the best start in club history: 7-3-2, and a place on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“It shows the attitude that we can fight like a team,” forward Kacper Przybylko said after he helped pull out three points when one seemed more likely. “We wanted to prove that we also can play against a good team and Toronto is a good team.”
The Union aren’t going to sneak up on any opponent now; even Toronto didn’t overlook current conference leaders as they rested seven against defending champs Atlanta United midweek to prepare for Philly’s finest.
Up next is a three-game homestand beginning with a stern test from a Seattle side that hasn’t lost in five matches. Kick off from Talen Energy Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available here.