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Recap: Toronto FC hand Philadelphia their first loss of the season

With their win against the Union, the Reds are now unbeaten in four straight matches - picking up three wins and one draw along the way.

Jesús Jiménez watches his shot go past Union ‘keeper Andre Blake and into the net which pulled TFC level on Saturday, leading to an eventual victory.
(Sean Pollock/Waking The Red )

Head coach Bob Bradley made three changes to Toronto’s starting XI after their 2-2 draw on the road against Real Salt Lake last weekend.

With Carlos Salcedo suspended for this match, Chris Mavinga took his spot in defence, while Kadin Chung and Jayden Nelson came in for Kosi Thompson and Lukas MacNaughton.

From the off, the Union had an opportunity to take the lead in the fourth minute with a chance from defender Jack Elliott. Following a corner, an unmarked Elliott flung a foot at the ball, which ended up going over the bar.

Philadelphia then had another chance just three minutes later as Kai Wagner’s driven cross went past numerous players without finding a foot from anyone.

Toronto’s first big chance came in the 17th minute from Jayden Nelson. Some nice ball movement from the home side concluded with a strong shot from Nelson, but Philly ‘keeper Andre Blake was equal to the task.

Nelson had another opportunity in the 27th minute, where he received a pass from Alejandro Pozuelo, turned a Union defender, and then took a first-time shot that went off target. Nelson’s confidence on the pitch was evident as the youngster was not only taking more shots, but also taking on more defenders.

Philadelphia opened the scoring in the 34th minute through Designated Player, Julián Carranza, who is at the club on loan from Inter Miami. Mikael Uhre got onto the end of a ball and drove forward before exchanging a couple passes with Dániel Gazdag. Uhre sent in a lofted cross towards the back post, which Carranza headed home.

TFC almost immediately equalized through Pozuelo. The play was created by a Nelson run down the flank, the ball found Pozuelo, and his shot was parried behind by Blake for a corner.

The Reds then went on to score in the 39th minute with a goal from Jesús Jiménez. Jonathan Osorio pushed forward with the ball before playing a quick one-two with Jiménez. Osorio then continued to dribble through the Union defence as he sent a pass back to Jiménez, who hit a first-time curling shot into the far corner.

Philadelphia would retake the lead in the 42nd minute with a goal from Wagner. Yet, after a VAR review, the goal was called back due to offside.

In the second half, TFC took the lead in the 51st minute with a goal from Pozuelo. Kadin Chung beat one defender and then sent a pass to Pozuelo as he dribbled past a couple more Union players inside the box before sending a low shot with his weaker foot past Blake.

Alejandro Pozuelo celebrates scoring the game-winning goal against Philadelphia on Saturday.
(Sean Pollock/Waking The Red )

Some nervy moments for the Reds came throughout the second half, notably in the 71st minute. A Philadelphia opportunity from a corner led to a scramble in the box, where TFC ‘keeper Alex Bono eventually made sure the ball stayed in his arms.

A couple of milestones were reached in this match for Toronto FC, including Jacob Shaffelburg’s 50th appearance in all competitions for the club. Bob Bradley picked up his 200th win as an MLS coach, while Jonathan Osorio is one game away from becoming the first player in Toronto FC history to make 300 competitive appearances.

Next up for TFC is a trip to Citi Field as they take on New York City FC next Sunday. Kick-off is set for 5 pm EST.