Sebastian Giovinco Downs The Union With A Fantastic Free Kick


Toronto FC won consecutive matches for the first time all season, after Sebastian Giovinco’s stunning free kick in the 35th minute was all the Reds needed to defeat the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Saturday afternoon.

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It hasn’t been an easy start to the season for Toronto, having had to play seven consecutive road games to kickoff the campaign. However, they were able to snap a four game losing skid last week in Orlando and followed that up with another important away victory against the Union.

Defense has been a major problem for Greg Vanney’s side early on, but even with starting goalkeeper, Joe Bendik, out of the lineup on Saturday afternoon, they were able to earn a second straight clean sheet. Backup keeper, Chris Konopka, could not have asked for a better professional debut as he looked solid throughout the match and certainly impressed his coach.

“I thought he played great. I thought he did everything asked of today,” said Vanney following the match.

“I think he got a finger on the one that hit the crossbar which was important. Then he made a couple plays and got some crosses that I think were very important as well. In terms of a couple punches and one grab in particular that end a little bit of pressure so for Chris I thought it was an excellent night for him and great start of a season for him.”

Despite Konopka’s solid play though, the majority of the post-match discussion was around Giovinco’s brilliant goal.

“Yeah he is a phenomenal player. He hits a lot of those free kicks in training and will sit around and laugh as the ball knuckles around and moves all over the place. Keeps the goalkeeper guessing so I feel for their goalkeeper and I know what it feels like, but we are happy that he sunk one and it was difference. He is a phenomenal player especially when he gets space out running he had some other chance over the course of the game he definitely getting in form now.”

Philadelphia, on the other hand, have now lost three consecutive matches and only the Montreal Impact (who have only played four matches) have less points than the Union.

“It’s tough times right now, for sure,” said head coach Jim Curtain after the game.

“The group is doing their best to stick together. We still had a decent performance from Richie Marquez who plays his first MLS minutes. That’s not an easy situation for a center back to go into so credit to him and credit to Toronto. We talked about their three key guys before the game started. I thought we kept them fairly quiet on the day but they have a special player who can score a goal from 36 to 38 yards out. It’s disappointing.”

The Union will do their best to turn things around against another Canadian opponent next week, the Vancouver Whitecaps. With just six points from their opening 10 matches, Curtain needs to get his side playing better football if they are going to be fighting for a playoff spot come September.

Toronto will travel to Montreal to take on the Impact Wednesday evening in AMWAY Canadian Championship action, before they finally play their first home match of the season against the Houston Dynamo next Sunday.

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