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Preview: Toronto FC II hosts Philly in MLS Next Pro playoffs

The Young Reds will get a taste of the bright lights on Saturday night.

Kadin Chung on the pitch at BMO Field during Toronto FC’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia Union on April 16, 2022.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Who’s ready for some playoff action at BMO Field?

It won’t be the first team on the pitch on Saturday night, but instead, Toronto FC II takes on Philadelphia Union II in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2022 MLS Next Pro playoffs.

The game can watched for free on at 7:00 pm EST.

After securing postseason qualification with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Orlando City B last weekend, TFC II earned the right to host their first round playoff match.

Toronto finished second in the East, just a point above Saturday’s opponent.

After going 10 matches unbeaten between June and August, the Young Reds dropped three of their last five regular season outings, but were able to hold onto their playoff spot.

Toronto won their two regular season meetings against Philadelphia, snatching three points in both of the hard-fought fixtures. Speaking to the media on Thursday, TFC II head coach Gianni Cimini spoke about what he expects to see in his side’s third match against the Union.

“Philly is a team that has a clear identity,” he stated.

“The message for us is to make sure we are dictating the flow of the game and playing with the ball on the ground.”

First team players Kadin Chung and Jordan Perruzza were loaned to TFC II back in June, with the pair featuring late in the season in the midst of a hectic playoff push. Perruzza, the all-time leading scorer for TFC II, has bagged 19 goals in 39 matches for the club.

Starting goalkeeper Luka Gavran highlighted the forward’s impact on the group when speaking to the press on Thursday.

“They’ve helped us new guys adjust ... in the game they’re quick to adjust to things and they help the people around them,” Gavran said.

“As a leader Jordan has done well coming down from the first team.”

Jordan Perruzza high-fives supporters following Toronto FC’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia Union at BMO Field.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Gavran also spoke about the opportunity to play at BMO Field. Playing most matches at York Lions Stadium, TFC II only played two regular season matches on Princes’ Boulevard. The Hamilton native didn’t feature in either of those two fixtures.

“I’m really excited to play at BMO ... I think the crowd is going to help out a lot.”

If the Reds are able to claim victory at home they will face the winner of Saturday’s earlier conference semifinal between Columbus Crew 2 and Rochester New York FC.