clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match Preview: Toronto FC set for biggest test of the season vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday

The first-place Reds can go six-points clear—and extend their unbeaten run to 10—with a win on Saturday against the second-place Philadelphia Union

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC
Oct 3, 2020: Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola (20) works for the ball against Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie (4) and midfielder Jose Andres Martinez (8)

TORONTO, CanadaToronto FC’s strong performances of late has them sitting in first place in the MLS regular season standings. And now, as the Reds prepare to travel to Philadelphia on Saturday, the club ahas the opportunity to open up a six-point lead on their closest rivals, the Philadelphia Union, heading into the final three games of the regular season. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m EST.

The last 10 days or so has seen TFC and its fans experiencing a whole range of emotions. From disappointment when the New York Red Bulls equalized late Wednesday night to snap a five-game winning streak, to anger and frustration at the announcement that the Supporters’ Shield wouldn’t be awarded this year, and finally, excitement as Pablo Piatti scored a late winner to snatch three points against Atlanta on Sunday.

Piatti’s clever 89th-minute winner landed the Argentinian on last week’s MLS Team of the Week with right-back Richie Laryea, who produced yet another strong performance and provided the assist for Piatti’s game-winner also finding himself among last week’s top performers.

The duo’s contribution helped extend the Reds unbeaten run to nine games during which the Reds have won seven times, including six by a one-goal margin, and drawn twice.

While a decision on the Supporters’ Shield has yet to be reversed, it’s clear that finishing the regular season atop the standings is still a priority for Greg Vanney and his team.

Sunday night saw the return of club captain, Michael Bradley, after a length stint on the sidelines with a knee injury. However, his introduction was bittersweet as it came in place of stand-in captain, Jonathan Osorio, who was forced to leave the match midway through the first half. At half-time, Vanney was hopeful that Osorio’s exit wasn’t serious and stated that it was a “precautionary sub”.

It sounds like The Reds head coach expects the Canadian international will be back this weekend, which will be an added boost for the squad as the Reds get closer to full-strength, but we will get an update on that closer to game time. For what it’s worth, Bradley looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, and the Reds should also have Ayo Akinola and Chris Mavinga back in the mix after both missed out against Atlanta with minor strains.

It won’t be an easy task for TFC on Saturday night, however. The Philadelphia Union currently sit just three points behind the Reds and currently are on an unbeaten run of their own where they’ve picked up points in four straight matches, including three wins after a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution last week. Their last loss came against these very Reds at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field when Ayo Akinola and Alejandro Pozuelo scored second-half goals to overcome an early Sergio Santos strike.

While both teams have clinched a spot in this year’s playoffs, Supporters’ Shield or not, there is still plenty to play for on Saturday night.

Additional Notes

  • Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union own impressive records on the road and at home respectively. TFC has a 6-1-2 road record in 2020, while the Union boasts a 7-0-1 record at Subaru Park.
  • The Reds have had the upper hand in this match-up over the last few years. Prior to the Union’s win in May 2019, TFC held a five-year long winning streak dating back to 2014.

How to Watch:

Who: Philadelphia Union
When: Saturday, October 24, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Subaru Park
TV: TSN 1/4
Radio: TSN 1050