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FT: Toronto FC 0-5 Philadelphia Union–Match thread, preview, & how to watch

The first-place Reds can go six-points clear—and extend their unbeaten run to 10—with a win. Follow along and chime in with Michael Singh on what is TFC’s biggest night of the year so far.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Live Match Thread

FT: Toronto FC 0-5 Philadelphia Union—The Reds suffer their worst MLS defeat since March 2018.

77’—Wow! Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty almost scores after some great work to bring a Tsubasa Endoh cross down, but his left-footed volley—hit well—goes right at Andre Blake. Real chance there for the youngster who has looked really good since coming on.

70’—It’s a 2-on-0 & it’s 5-0.....

65’—18 year old Ralph Priso checks into the game for his Toronto FC/professional debut. I wrote about him in the club’s newest signing in my latest TFC Notebook.

64’—GOAL! Philadelphia Union 4-0 Toronto FC—Alright, where’s Jahkeele Marhsall-Rutty and Ralph Priso?

56’—GOAL! Philadelphia Union 3-0 Toronto FC—Bar-down. Montero. Wow, what a strike after a beautiful dummy from Brendan Aaronson at the top of the box. But way too easy, again, from Toronto FC.

50’—Liam Fraser screaming at Tsubasa Endoh to start showing may have just changed the game... probably not, but stay tuned.

46’—Love these subs from Greg Vanney. Justin Morrow and Liam Fraser are checking into the match for Toronto FC, replacing Auro & Marky Delgado. Although, to be fair, I thought it’d be Endoh making way, not Delgado. Do the Reds have some magic in them tonight?

HT: Toronto FC 0-2 Philadelphia Union—The Reds trail by two heading into the break for the first time this season. Was that the worst 45’ we’ve seen from TFC this season?

41’—Sergio Santos almost makes it 3-0, but Michael Bradley tracking back does just enough to put the ball wide. On the ensuing corner, Quentin Westberg makes a fantastic diving save to his right to once again keep things within reach.

37’—Tsubasa Endoh has been horrible tonight so far. Lots of time to turn that around, but damn.

33’—GOAL! Philadelphia Union 2-0 Toronto FC—Shocking. Shocking defending from Toronto FC as a header off a corner is put back across the net, and from four yards out, McKenzie—wide open—heads home. Oh boy. Vanney making a sub as Gallardo checks out for Mullins.

30’—CHANCE! Another opportunity for Philadelphia as Martinez cuts back onto his weaker foot at the top of the box, but his strike is denied by Q. TFC need to change SOMETHING. Put Poz at LW when we don’t have the ball and throw Gallardo up top. He hasn’t been good on the wing at all.

27’—GOAL! Toronto FC 0-1 Philadelphia Union—Yup. It’s the Union striking first as Sergio Santos makes the Reds pay off the counter attack. Great left-footed ball whipped in by Wagner to find the streaking striker’s head.

25’—Steady hands, Q!

20’—Nothing comes of it but a corner. 20 minutes in, things are scoreless, but something needs to change if you’re Toronto FC. I have a feeling if the game keeps going down this road, Philadelphia may be the ones to open the scoring...

18’—And we’re back to a 4-5-1. Gallardo playing LM when we don’t have the ball, but RF when we do? That doesn’t seem ideal. Free kick coming up for Philadelphia from a really dangerous position...

16’—This formation is too random. Too much chaos going on. No one is on the same page. This team needs some more structure right now... & it looks like we got that as I’m typing this. Gallardo now pushing up top alongside Poz as the Reds are now in a clearcut 4-4-2.

14’—Completely forgot that Tsubasa Endoh was in this game... this is a really weird formation we’re seeing from Greg Vanney, one we haven’t seen this season.

9’—Auro Jr. picks up a yellow card which means he will be unavailable for Wednesday’s game against New York City FC. Thankfully, fullback been one of TFC’s deepest positions this season and Justin Morrow (calf) is back in the mix tonight after missing the last few.

6’—CHANCE! Union striker Przybylko makes a great run but his open header from six yards out goes wide. One diagonal ball over the top beats the TFC back line...Philadelphia is looking like the more dangerous team early on.

4’—When Toronto FC don’t have the ball, it looks like Erickson Gallardo is playing on the left wing while Alejandro Pozuelo hangs up top. 4-2-2-2?

1’—Players take a knee prior to kickoff in protest against racial injustice—and we’re off. Toronto FC’s nine-game unbeaten run is on the line this evening! Can they make it 10? It will be quite impressive if they can manage to pull something off.

7:36 p.m. EST—Gentlemanly Sports Enthusiast put it best in the comments: “I’ve wanted to see more Gallardo, but NOTLIKETHIS.” Nothing to add to that, folks.

7:25 p.m. EST—Small change tonight from what we’re accustomed to as there will be a small group of fans allowed at Subaru Park. And of those in attendance... none other than our very own Murphy Malone! Make it feel like a home game, Murph!

7:21 p.m. EST—So FiveThirtyEight had Toronto FC at 60 per cent odds at winning the Supporters’ Shield this season as of this morning. I wonder if that took the injuries into account...

7:19 p.m. EST—And here is your friendly reminder to leave your guesses for tonight’s final scoreline in our prediction league! About to crack a cold beverage here, what are you all drinking tonight?

7:16 p.m. EST—How is TSN airing Sportscentre instead of an MLS pregame show? They have a triple-header tonight.. smh.

6:55 p.m. EST—I just took in that we might see False 9 Poz for the first time since the MLS Cup Playoffs a year ago. No Patrick Mullins in Vanney’s starting XI this evening.

6:50 p.m. EST—It’s the first time Toronto FC haven’t had Pablo Piatti available since pre-pandemic as well. Well, Gallardo has his chance. What formation should Toronto FC play? I’m thinking 4-4-2 like they did last week and have Gallardo play in that Piatti role running behind the back line.

6:40 p.m. EST—The Toronto FC Starting XI just dropped...and yikes. Erickson Gallardo is making his first start for the Reds since pre-pandemic as you can add Pablo Piatti’s name to the lengthy list of T

6:30 p.m. EST—Here we go. We’ve been waiting for this one as The Reds pay a highly-anticipated visit to Subaru Park to take on the second-place Philadelphia Union, who are eager to gain ground Toronto FC in the Supporters’ Shield race. Thank you once again for joining us, and if it’s your first time, you picked a great outing as this game should have that playoff-like feel to it, even without fans. Look out for the intensity level right from the get-go as I expect both teams have been itching to get going right out of the gate. But as always, you know where we stand. Come. On. You. REDS.

Starting XI’s

MATCH PREVIEW (Courtesy Aasim Hashim)

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