Philadelphia Union: Sergio Santos the hat-trick hero

Philadelphia Union. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Union. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Sergio Santos led the way in the Philadelphia Union’s victory over Toronto FC.

A battle of the Eastern Conference heavyweights ended up being a runaway victory for the Philadelphia Union. They won comfortably over visiting Toronto FC by a final score of 5-0. Forward Sergio Santos was the main difference-maker in the match as he recorded his first career Major League Soccer hat-trick.

An offensive onslaught

Offensively the Union overpowered the Toronto defense in this match. They outshot their opponents 27 to three and could have certainly scored more than five goals. Quentin Westberg was called into action on many occasions. The Toronto goalkeeper made seven saves and prevented the scoreline from being an even greater margin.

There were many contributors to the Union’s fantastic offensive display. In addition to Santos’ hat-trick, Jamiro Monteiro registered a goal and an assist. Kacper Przbylko and Kai Wagner both recorded two assists. Recent Red Bull Salzburg signing Brenden Aaronson continued his impressive campaign with his sixth assist of the season. Overall, it was one of the best team performances the Union has had all season.

The battle for the top spot in the east heats up

The Union’s victory moves them up into first place in the Eastern Conference based on goal differential. They are now level on points with Toronto which sets up an interesting last two weeks in the battle for the top spot in the conference. For Toronto, this defeat will be a very disappointing result as they were completely overpowered by Philadelphia. As the playoffs draw near, the Union now appears to have replaced Toronto as the favorites to advance to the MLS Cup final.

As the top seed in the conference, the Union would be looking at home matches across the board in the playoffs as they advance to each round. They have not lost a single match at home so far this season. For this reason, it’s hard to see the Union not advancing to the MLS Cup final if they do remain the top seed in the Eastern Conference. If Toronto visits Philadelphia again in the playoffs they will be faced with another tough task.

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Supporters Shield awaits

Not only did the Union’s victory move them up into first place in the Eastern Conference, but they also move into the top spot in the Supporters Shield race. On Friday, it was announced the Supporters Shield would be awarded to the top club in the MLS standings at the end of the regular season. The Union now has the top spot in the east and a trophy on the line in the final weeks. If they can hold onto the lead then it will be a huge moment in the club’s history.