The Union dominate Toronto F.C. for first MLS win since March 12th.

Apr 22, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Mikkel Uhre (7) celebrates a goal against Toronto FC in the first half at Subaru Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Mikkel Uhre (7) celebrates a goal against Toronto FC in the first half at Subaru Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

It might be safe to say that the Union might have figured out some of the issues they have been dealing with over during their winless streak, not counting the Champions League win of course. Coming into this rainy and cold match at Subaru Park, Toronto has only given up 8 goals in their MLS campaign. Their defense has been such a strong part of their team, that was, until the Union scored half of their total amount of goals given up this season. Mikael Uhre was the star of this match, but the front three as a whole were phenomenal. Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza made some great plays that helped lead to goals.

The ball movement, confidence and overall pace played by the Union was overwhelming for Toronto. We might have seen the best 60 minutes by the Union in quite some time, but as Jim Curtin said in the press conference, it wasn’t a full 90 minutes. I fully believe that them going on cruise control towards the end of the game isn’t a huge deal with LAFC coming to town on Wednesday for Champions League play.

As Always Jim Curtin started the press conference off with a statement.

“Thank you to the fans, we can’t get a break in terms of the weather here. I think this means it’s going to be great this summer in terms of temperature and atmosphere. Thanks to all of them for sticking around after I thought this was going to be delayed. I thought we played our best 45 minutes of the season in that first half. I thought we looked like us, we were proactive. The challenge for the guys was playing a complete 90. I think this was our closest to a complete 90, but I still see room for improvement. Its always disappointing to concede goals. The one at the end still irritates me still. Having said all that, I really think the first half set the tone for scoring goals. The front 3 getting going was important and is good to get them going moving forward!” Jim Curtin said opening up the press conference.

Both Toronto F.C. and the Union have been struggling early on in this season. Toronto was 1W-6D-1L with only 8 goals against and having 3 clean sheets. Toronto added a lot of pieces this offseason spending some big money trying to help rebuild this team to be more dangerous up front. Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne are two of those big signings brought in to help score goals. Bernardeschi was a little limited to minutes with an injury while Insigne was able to make an impact and get Toronto on the board to erase the Clean Sheet for Andre Blake. It wasn’t just these two. Toronto looked lost from the opening kick. The Union were able to smell the blood in the water and attacked.

“It definitely got away. They came out with more intensity, we were second to every ball, we made some bad mistakes. When you come here you understand that they play balls forward, they run really hard, they get guys in the box, they put really good balls across and so your understanding of what kind of game it’s going to be is important.” Toronto F.C. head coach Bob Bradley discussed post-game.

Bradley has had a rough start to this season, and it has shown in all leagues of play. This match wasn’t exactly 100 percent on him. This was just a game the that the Union came out with confidence and wanted to get a win. You could sense it from the start. After Lukas MacNaughton’s own goal, it just felt like Toronto began pushing and searching for answers.

“They put us behind the 8 ball pretty quickly. The harder we tried, the worse it got. When you’re chasing the game down 2, plans start to go out the window.” Jim Curtin said earlier on in the season after the Orlando City loss. Sometimes it’s hard to see it until you see it on the other side of the pitch. As a coach, it’s hard to control any aspect of the game once the whistle blows.

“If you allow a team to beat you to every play, come away with every duel. Philadelphia plays with a physical edge; we didn’t respond well. You can’t win a game like that just because at times you move the ball quick.” Bradley said. Bradley is not wrong about the physical edge.

It most likely comes from the way the Union had to play against Atlas in Guadalajara. It was a physical match and got chippy at times. The Union thrive off of this play, especially Jose Martinez, who has been so good for the Union this season!

As for the Union goals, Uhre knocked off his first hat trick in the MLS. Uhre seemed very engaged in from the get-go. His speed was crucial in this game, especially when scoring his 2nd goal of the game. Especially when he gets himself going!

“It makes it easier for us. He is a very good striker, very fast. We can use him behind the defenders. If you saw his 2nd goal, you saw how fast he was. If he can play like this all season, it will make things easier.” Gazdag said. Gazdag has also been a target for teams because of how well he has been playing. With him coming in deeper to get the ball or finding other ways to get involved, Gazdag understands and is ready for that type of attention. “I try to play as fast as I can so they can’t catch me. Obviously, sometimes they do and it hurts, but it is how the game is going and I understand that, and I am ready for it!” Gazdag said.

Players disciplined:

PHI: Jack Elliot 36′

TOR: Lorenzo Insigne 45’+1′

PHI: Julian Carranza 63′

Scoring summary:

PHI: OG Lukas MacNaughton 16′

PHI: Mikael Uhre 20’/43’/60′

TOR: Lorenzo Insigne 66′

TOR: Richie Laryea 90’+2′

The second half of the game was just on cruise control for the Union after Uhre scored his third goal of the night. This was most likely due to the Union having a tough task coming up on Wednesday hosting LAFC. The Union will have a bye week and get a full week’s rest before they head out to LA to play the 2nd leg of the Semifinals of the Champions League. The Union play at 9 pm on Wednesday.

Watch the full highlights here ↓