In their first Major League Soccer Cup Playoff game in five years, Philadelphia Union saw their 2016 season come to an end at the hands of Toronto FC, 3-1. 21,759 spectators filled into BMO Field Wednesday night to watch the first playoff win in Toronto FC’s history.
All eyes on Philadelphia's plan for Giovinco and Altidore
The main storyline heading into this match was how Philadelphia would would attempt to stop Toronto’s duo of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore from taking over the match. To try to keep these two contained, Philadelphia went with the selection of Warren Creavalle, who was revealed to be playing with three broken ribs, over Brian Carroll in the starting eleven.
Union open well, but mistakes cost them - Toronto FC
For the first 15 minutes, Philadelphia looked to have relish their role as severe underdogs as Jim Curtin’s team came out with intensity to look for the early goal.
However, mistakes would cost the Union the opportunity to open up the scoring. In the 15th minute, Union centerback Ken Tribbett mishit a clearance back into his team’s box. Altidore pounced on the loose ball and flicked the ball over a charging Andre Blake’s head to near the penalty stripe, where Giovinco was waiting. The Atomic Ant did what he has done best in his MLS career and opened up the scoring in favor of Toronto,1-0.
From that point on, Toronto controlled the match is aspects as Philadelphia could not get much going offensively. Drew Moor almost doubled the scoring in the 20th minute with a header off a corner kick that was saved by Blake to keep the difference at one goal.
Union midfield overran with large amount of Toronto talent
Philadelphia’s midfield seemed to be unable to handle the talented attack of Toronto FC as Giovinco and company continue to put Philadelphia’s double pivot and backline under duress. For their efforts though, Toronto could only muster a one goal lead at halftime giving the Union a puncher’s chance at making a co,meback.
Toronto continued their excellent play and found their second, and what would be game-winning goal, on the day. In the 48th minute, Jonathan Osorio was left wide open on the backpost off a corner and made the pay. Osorio received the ball off a Giovinco corner kick and smashed it into the back of the net, with little pressure from any Union defender, to double the Toronto lead, 2-0.
Philadelphia would make it interesting late when Alejandro Bedoya scored off a Union corner kick in the 73rd minute off some excellent heading combo play from Philadelphia. The one goal difference would be as close as Philadelphia would get on the scoreline.
Altidore would add a goal in the 85th to seal Philadelphia’ fate off an unlucky bounce off Tribbett as referee Baldomero Toledo would blow the whistle shortly after with the scoreline still at 3-1.
Toronto will now move on to face New York City FC on Sunday October 30th in the MLS Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Philadelphia will head home to begin their second offseason with Sporting Director Earnie Stewart at the helm.