Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union
Full-time: Toronto FC have won this match and finally won their first ever playoff match. They go to Yankee Stadium this weekend to face New York City FC. The Philadelphia Union tried to make it a game in the second half but TFC's overall quality shone through in the end.
90+3' Cheyrou gets fouled in his own area and TFC can clear their lines.
90+2' TFC have a corner but the Union get possession and move up the field.
90+1' TFC get the ball again and Giovinco uses quick feet on the byline to get an effort on goal.
90' YELLOW CARD: Toronto win the ball quickly and Ricketts is pulled back by Tribbett who earns a yellow card as well.
90' Toronto work the ball a little before Giovinco tries to find Ricketts who was unmarked at the far post. Tribbett reads the cross and clears the ball.
88' SUBSTITUTION: Tossaint Ricketts replaces the goal scorer Altidore.
Altidore wins the ball back in midfield from Creavalle. He plays a quick through ball to Giovinco who can't get the ball into his stride. He stalls and waits for runners before chipping the ball to Altidore who scores off his own rebounded effort. Tribbett should have kicked the ball away but instead his clearance fell back to Altidore's feet.
85' GOAL! Toronto ice the game!
85' Giovinco finds the late run by Johnson but the substitute can't connect on his volley well and the shot is picked up by Blake.
84' SUBSTITUTION: Charlie Davies comes in for Rosenberry as the Union go for broke here.
83' Barnetta puts in a fantastic free-kick which Bedoya almost gets onto and Irwin has to get down quickly to stop the ball from sneaking into the far post.
81' Morrow gives the ball away far too easily and the Union get forward quickly. Alberg's cross isn't a good one and Irwin collects the ball.
80' Bradley send in the delivery which is cleared by Philadelphia. The away side try to break but Hagglund puts in a great tackle to stop the break away.
80' Giovinco shows some fantastic footwork to go by two defenders and wins a free-kick. He brought people to their feet with that move.
78' TFC have almost disappeared from this game and the Union are taking advantage of how far the home side is dropping deep to defend.
77' Ilsinho does well to keep the ball and then pass it out wide to Barnetta. Barnetta cross goes into the hands of Irwin.
75' The Union win another corner but Pontius is called for a foul which gives the ball back to Toronto.
Tribbett wins the first ball and after some touches in the box, Bedoya gets the ball right in front of the goal and scores. Deserved goal for the Union.
73' GOAL! The Union are back in it!
73' Pontius wins a corner for the Union.
70' SUBSTITUTION: Roland Alberg comes in Sapong for while Benoit Cheyrou replaces Cooper.
70' Toronto finally get some pressure after some good passing by Bradley. Their momentum halts after Giovinco trips up Tribbett.
68' A few lazy passes by TFC keep gifting possession back to the Union who are trying their hardest to get a goal.
67' The Union continue to push and Pontius calls for a handball after his shot if deflected which is ignored by the referee. Ilsinho then has a go and his effort is deflected into Irwin's hands.
65' SUBSTITUTION: Will Johnson comes in for Osorio who had a strong game tonight.
65' Toronto seemingly cannot get out of the box and then Bedoya kills the momentum by playing a pass too long for Barnetta.
64' Ilsinho gets forward into the box and Irwin makes a mess of his punch. Fortunately for the goalkeeper, his defenders recover first and clear the ball.
63' CHANCE! Altidore steals the ball from Rosenberry but he can't get his angles right and he shoots straight at Blake.
62' The Union are trying to keep the pressure on Toronto's back line as they try to find a goal . Their attack ends when Fabinho puts his cross right into Irwin's hands.
59' SUBSTITUTION: Ilsinho comes in for Herbers who has had a quiet night for the Union.
55' Fabian Herbers tries ot find Pontius at the far post but his cross is too long. Pontius recovers and as Bradley and Sapong tussle for the ball, Sapong goes down in the box. The referee tells him to get up.
53' Altidore chest the ball down well to Giovinco and his shot goes out for a corner as Tribbett gets his body in the way of the shot.
52' Pontius picks up the ball out wide and tries from a long way out. It goes high and into the stands.
51' Toronto break forward again but Giovinco can't find Altidore with his cut back.
Hagglund gets a touch off the corner and the ball falls to Osorio who has no problem slotting it home from close range. Great start for TFC here in the second half!
49' GOAL! Toronto extend their lead!
46' The teams are back on. Can the Union recover or will Toronto go on to win this?
Half-time: Toronto FC go in with the lead in their first ever home playoff match. The Union still have 45 minutes to get back into this game.
45+1' YELLOW CARD: Altidore leaves a foot in late on Creavalle and earns a booking.
45' The Union try to break but Pontius' pass is poor and Moor almost plays in Giovinco immediately. His pass is just too long for the diminutive forward.
44' Giovinco takes it again but the wall does it's job and TFC have a corner now.
43' YELLOW CARD: Bedoya cynically takes out Giovinco and picks up the third card of the match. Another great opportunity for TFC here.
42' Barnetta picks up the ball outside of the box and tries to curl it into the far post but makes a hash of it.
41' Giovinco finds Morrow alone out wide and Morrow plays in the right ball but Warren Creavalle recovers well enough to knock it out for a corner. The resulting corner leads to nothing for TFC.
39' Toronto try to build an attack but Altidore gets called offside.
37' Barnetta puts in a decent delivery and Sapong gets to it but he sends it straight to Irwin.
36' Hagglund fouls Sapong and Philadelphia have another free-kick.
36' Hagglund heads a Union free-kick away but Philadelphia stay in possession.
35' Keegan Rosenberry tries to find pick out Sapong in the box but his cross goes over the striker's head and out for a goal-kick.
34' The ball is bouncing around in midfield at the moment as both teams try to regain possession.
31' Osorio gets forward but slips as he shoots and his effort is caught easily by Blake.
30' Richie Marquez does well to stand up Giovinco and stop him from crossing the ball into the box.
27' CHANCE! Giovinco begins to wheel away in celebration as he puts in a lovely bend on his free-kick but it curls just wide. Great play there by Giovinco.
26' Tribbett now concedes the next foul on Giovinco and a great position for TFC.
25' YELLOW CARD: Sapong picks up the next booking of the game after fouling Bradley.
25' After a shaky start Toronto have seemingly shaken off their nerves and now beginning to exert some pressure on Philadelphia.
23' Ken Tribbett fouls Steven Beitashour and Toronto regain possession.
23' Altidore's pass is a little off and is cut out otherwise Giovinco would have been through on goal.
21' The second corner is cleared by the Union and eventually falls into Blake's grateful hands.
21' CHANCE! Hagglund wins the first ball from the corner and Blake does well to spread himself and stop Moor from extending TFC's lead.
20' After initially awarding a goal-kick, the referee gives Toronto a corner kick.
19' Giovinco wins a free-kick in midfield off of Fabinho and they can move up the field.
18' Moor gets to the ball first again from the resulting corner and TFC can clear the ball up the field.
17' The Union try to respond quickly through Pontius and win a corner which is cleared for another one.
Toronto FC 1 -0 Philadelphia Union
A long ball finds Giovinco and he lays it off to Altidore who chips Richie Marquez. Andre Blake comes out of his goal and Altidore beats him to the ball and finds Giovinco who makes no mistake from inside the box.
15' GOAL! Toronto grab th opening goal!
15' YELLOW CARD: Bradley earns the first booking of the night after fouling Barnetta in midfield. That seemed a little harsh by referee Baldomero Toledo.
14' Giovinco shakes his marker and send in a cross that is cleared by the Union.
13' Toronto get forward and Altidore goes down in the box but the referee does not give him the penalty that he's asking for. As that was happening, Cooper took a shot at goal but his effort goes wide again.
12' Osorio wins a free-kick in midfield and Toronto play it quickly.
10' Barnetta gets pulled back by Nick Hagglund after the Union keep the ball well under some high pressure from the home side.
9' CHANCE! Giovinco and Altidore combine for the first time in the game. Giovinco cuts inside and his shot takes a deflection before rolling out. The Union clear the resulting corner.
8' Toronto recycle the ball and Armando Cooper tries from long range but it goes well wide.
8' Jonathan Osorio tries to slip Sebastian Giovinco in but his pass is intercepted.
7' Philadelphia continue to control the tempo here as they try and breach the TFC back line.
5' Philadelphia have started well here but Pontius' cross goes right into the hands of TFC goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
4' Barnetta pick-pockets Michael Bradley in midfield and the Union try to attack. Play stops as some Union players are on the ground.
3' Jozy Altidore combines with Justin Morrow but his cut back is cut out well and the Union counter quickly.
3' CHANCE! Sapong gets to the byline and cuts it back to a wide open Chris Pontiusin the box. His shot is blocked and Toronto get away with one.
2' Drew Moor gets his head to the ball first and clears it but the Union keep the ball.
1' CJ Sapong wins a free-kick early on for the Union and gets into a slightly heated discussion with Eric Zavaleta. Alejandro Bedoya and Tranquillo Barnetta stand over the free-kick.
1' And here we go!
19:35 PM EST: Almost time for kick-off in tonight's winner-take-all match up! Here's to a good match for everyone to enjoy tonight.
19:12 PM EST: Players are out on the field and warming up. Getting closer and closer to kick-off now.
Philadelphia Union: Blake; Rosenberry, Tribbett, Marquez, Fabinho; Bedoya, Creavalle, Herbers, Barnetta; Pontius, Sapong. (4-4-2)
18:57 PM EST: Here is your starting XI for the Union.
18:55 PM EST: In case you were wondering, it's 5°C/41°F right now in Toronto with not a lot of wind and if the forecasted rain holds off, we should have no problems seeing this game out with no weather interruptions.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Hagglund, Moor, Zavaleta; Beitashour, Cooper, Bradley, Osorio, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco. (3-5-2)
18:50 PM EST: TFC have started things off tonight and released their official starting line up first.
18:45 PM EST: Good evening everyone and welcome to the start of the Audi 2016 MLS Playoffs at BMO Field on a chilly Wednesday night in Toronto, Canada. I'm Kudzi Musarurwa and I will be your host for this evening!
Toronto FC 3, Philadelphia Union 2
Prediction: In playoff situations, form tends to go out the window. Usually, the team that has enough desire and well-executed game plan tends to the be the one to win, even if they are the underdog. However, Toronto FC may just be too talented for the Philadelphia Union to completely shutdown. There are too many good players in the home team that can change the game in an instant and the Union has not had a great time shutting down the best teams in the league. Although Jim Curtin will probably see an improved performance from his team, this is Toronto FC's game to lose and will most likely be a huge upset if they fail to advance to this weekend's game against New York City FC.
The head coach for Toronto FC is Greg Vanney. His opponent on the day will be the Philadelphia Union's Jim Curtin.
Blake; Rosenberry, Tribbett, Marquez, Fabinho; Bedoya, Creavalle; Barnetta, Alberg, Pontius; Sapong.
Projected Lineup: Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1).
Irwin; Hagglund, Moor, Zavaleta; Beitashour, Osorio, Bradley, Cooper, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco.
Projected Lineup: Toronto FC (3-5-2).
Here is the projected lineup for both Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union.
The officiating crew for this match is led by center official Baldomero Toledo. CJ Morgante will be the first assistant and Ian Anderson will be the second assistant. The fourth official is listed as Silviu Petrescu.
The match will be played at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada and is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30PM EST. For those unable to attend the match in person, the game will be broadcasted on ESPN 2 in the United States and on TSN 2 in Canada.
So far this season, Toronto and Philadelphia have met twice, with Toronto winning the first meeting and the other meeting ending up in a draw. The key match ups will certainly be Pontius against Toronto's right back Steven Beitashour and Bedoya - Bradley in midfield. Whoever can win those smaller battles will most probably help their team progress to the next stage of the post-season.
Along with Pontius, the Union's danger men are Alejandro Bedoya and Roland Alberg. Bedoya is well-known to most fans of soccer in this part of the world and since returning to the United States of America from France in August has performed well enough for the Union. The Union coaching staff will want more than what Bedoya has offered so far with just one goal and no assists since he joined their team and there will be no better stage to prove his transfer worth than in the MLS Playoffs and in particular, in Toronto. Alberg, on the other hand, has been a bright spot for Philadelphia this season. In his first MLS season, the Dutch midfielder has notched up nine goals and three assists for the Union and remains one of their most consistent performers even during this last poor run of games for them. Alberg will be the one in charge of limiting the midfield play of the likes of Bradley and Jonathan Osorio and if he can do that along with getting forward to support his front line, then Philadelphia have a great chance of winning this match up.
The Union will look to Chris Pontius to trouble the Toronto back line that is prone to lapses in concentration and capitalize on those lapses with goals. Pontius comes into this match with twelve goals so far this season and although he plays out on the left, the forward's runs into the box are difficult to track and if he is not watched carefully by any of Toronto's back four, then Pontius will find himself on the score sheet as many times as he can possibly be. Pontius was silenced in the Union's last regular match of the season as they went down to a 2-0 loss against the New York Red Bulls and he will be looking to correct that against Toronto if given the opportunity.
The Philadelphia Union know what is ahead of them when they come to BMO Field on Wednesday night. After backing into the playoffs, with no wins in their last seven matches, they will need to find a spark somewhere and if any game can produce magic from a team, it's a knockout playoff scenario. As the underdogs, the Union will look to cause the upset and hopefully go on a run like that of the Portland Timbers in last year's playoffs that culminated with the MLS Cup. The Union will be hoping that this year will be the year for them to go on a hot streak and bring home the trophy for their fans.
Right there with Giovinco is Toronto FC's other two stars; United States internationals Jozy Altidore and captain Michael Bradley. Both players had a slow start to the season but after their return from international duty at the Copa América Centenario and in Altidore's case, a long layoff due to injury, they have ably assisted Giovinco in propelling Toronto to the post season. Altidore's strengths are well-known and during Giovinco's absence, Altidore took up the mantle of the chief creator for TFC to great effect. Bradley has also grown into his role as the anchor in Toronto FC's diamond midfield and his set piece delivery, along with Giovinco's, continues to provide his teammates with great deliveries to attack with the ball. Lastly, left-back Justin Morrow is probably one of the unsung heroes of Toronto's season. He will not get the accolades that his more illustrious teammates receive but in a system that needs its full backs to perform, Morrow has been exceptional and has found himself open to cross or shoot more often than not. He will be another key figure for the home side as they enter the business end of the season.
As always, Sebastian Giovinco will be the key to anything that Toronto will want to do as they embark on their playoff journey. The home side missed him in September when he was ruled out for a month due to injury and his return to full fitness could not have come at a better time. Not only is the little Italian magician healthy again but he was on the score sheet and helped create two goals for Toronto in their last match of the regular season against the Chicago Fire. Giovinco looked dangerous all game long and he will want to continue that good form into Wednesday night's match and potentially, the rest of the playoffs. Giovinco has built up a great partnership with his teammates and will always look for them if he cannot get a shot on target himself which makes him one of the most, if not the most, dangerous player in MLS. A performance from him like that of Sunday afternoon will suit Toronto FC just fine against the Union.
Toronto FC enters the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern conference. Although the home side would have liked to have a bye and begin their post-season this weekend, no one will be unhappy with their first ever home playoff match for the team at BMO Field. This will be a great chance for Toronto to use the home advantage that saw them spend a large portion of the season in a battle with FC Dallas for the 2016 MLS Supporters Shield.
Hello, there and welcome to VAVEL USA's LIVE coverage of the Audi 2016 Major League Soccer Playoffs! The knockout rounds begin with Toronto FC hosting the Philadelphia Union in a winner takes all battle on Wednesday night. My name is Kudzi Musarurwa and I will be your host for the beginning of the post season for both TFC and Union fans,