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Toronto FC blown out by Philadelphia Union; drop first game under Javier Perez

It was another night to forget at Subaru Park as TFC do themselves no favours in a push for a playoff spot.

TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC suffered their first defeat under Javier Perez, losing for the first time in six games, as they were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at Subaru Park after conceding three first-half goals.

Unfortunately for Toronto, the match was reminiscent of the last time the Reds travelled to Subaru Park, when they were trounced 5-0 last October.

With Javier Perez electing to roll out a 5-3-2 formation for the second time in a row, Toronto FC struggled to keep possession moving forward and in turn, invited a lot of pressure. With question marks surrounding the quality of the club’s back line, the game plan was not an ideal recipe for success, as Philadelphia would take advantage of a flurry of opportunities just 12 minutes into this match.

Off a corner, poor marking would cost the Reds, as Jakob Glesnes would find himself unmarked in the box, heading home to put Philadelphia up 1-0.

Soon after, the Union would double their lead, this time after Alex Bono — who was forced into making a number of saves in the first half — would take his man down in the box as the referee rightfully awarded the home side a penalty.

Daniel Gazdag would step up to the spot and make no mistake rifling his shot from 12 yards out into the top-left corner past a sprawling Bono.

And just three minutes later, things would go from bad to worse for the Reds. Sergio Santos, who scored four goals in his last two matches against Toronto FC, would once again wreak havoc, easily breaking past the Toronto back line before slotting home to give his side a 3-0 lead before halftime and essentially put this one to bed.

After halftime, Perez elected to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Nick DeLeon checking in at fullback as Chris Mavinga made way. The change appeared to make a difference as the Reds looked lively out the break.

In the 51st minute, the team appeared to catch a break following their most sustained run of pressure, as Richie Laryea went down in the box — and the referee, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, would reward TFC with a penalty. On the replay, it looked as though Laryea initiated the contact, but with the club trailing by three, I’m sure they weren’t complaining.

Up to the spot stepped Yeferson Soteldo, who fired a decent attempt low and hard to his left-hand side, but Andre Blake would come up with the massive stop for the Union to keep TFC off the scoresheet.

From that point on, the game would essentially fizzle out, eventually finishing 3-0.

One bright spot for Toronto FC was the return of 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick Achara in the 70th minute with the Reds down 3-0. The winger made his one and only appearance on March 7, 2020 vs. New York City FC — in the final game before the pandemic put the season on hault. He would score the winner in a 1-0 win, but suffered an ACL injury in July in the lead up to the MLS is Back Tournament, which kept him sidelined for over a year.

Jordan Perruzza also made his first appearance for the club since returning from a loan stint with San Antonio FC.

The loss was Toronto FC’s first defeat in six games with Javier Perez in charge on the touch line. The team is now 10 points back of the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 16 matches left to play.

The team will try and right the ship on Saturday when they host a red-hot New York City FC team.