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Game thread: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union (Live)

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Let’s get it started in here

MLS: Champions League-CAI at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

FT — Unbelievable win for the Reds, who badly needed some positivity.

93’ Philadelphia Union 1-3 Toronto FC — Nick DeLeon! The winger poaches a ball from the defence just outside the box and crushes it into the bottom left corner from far out. Excellent finish from the new Red who’s been great in both of his TFC performances now.

80’ — Tempers boiling over now, as Santos knocked Drew Moor out of the air and the teams were instantly at each other’s throats. Just a yellow for Santos, but both sides need to be careful now.

75’ — Uhhh.... something just happened. A massive scramble in front of the goal and the ball trickles toward the net past Bono, but Laurent Ciman slides to clear it right off the goal line — the Union were screaming that it was in. Alex Bono now receiving treatment for a collision during that scramble.

73’ Terrence Boyd comes in for Jordan Hamilton.

70’ Philadelphia Union 1-2 Toronto FC — doop. Marco Fabian slots a penalty that was given quite harshly for a Jonathan Osorio handball on the edge of the box. Tough break for the Reds.

62’ Philadelphia Union 0-2 Toronto FC — Ahahahahahahahahaha no way. Michael Bradley smashes home his second of the game after a Laurent Ciman cross came loose in the box. Hilarious turn of events after TFC survived some pressure for the prior 20 minutes or so.

60’ — The Union and their fans were screaming for Bradley to see a second yellow after he knocked down Fabian again, but the ref disagreed — and rightly so, I’d say.

55’ — Michael Bradley gets a yellow card for... something? He steps into Fabian, who immediately falls over.

50’ — Oof. Fafa Picault misses an absolute sitter for the Union as it rolled to him at the goalmouth with Alex Bono way out of the picture.

47’ — Mavinga has been excellent defensively. He just used his incredible pace to chase down a dangerous looking attack.

46’ — We back. Let’s see if the Reds can improve on a good first half.

45+ Philadelphia Union 0-1 Toronto FC — MICHAEL BRADLEY?! The skipper puts the Reds up 1-0 just before halftime after an excellent ground cross by Auro. Who picked that?

35’ — Name a more iconic duo than TFC and missing penalties. VAR gives it for a bit of a handball in the box, and Jonathan Osorio essentially passes it into the keeper’s arms.

25’ — Toronto FC have been tested a couple times now, and they’ve escaped by the skin of their teeth. Philadelphia hits the post off a corner, but the Reds get away with it.

15’ — TFC have been... not that bad? Ball movement has been great; they’ve had several decent looks in the attacking third. That said, the finishing has left a LOT to be desired.

1’ — We're off in Pennsylvania!

Lineups:

Preview

Toronto FC are down in the land of delicious sandwiches and Gritty this afternoon to open up the 2019 MLS campaign against the Philadelphia Union. It’ll be a pretty interesting test of their mettle as they shift their focus to what’s now their only objective for the time being: making the playoffs.

The Union are a decent side, although they lost some of their goalscoring power with the recent departure of CJ Sapong. They’ve still got some talent in Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya, but they might struggle to get much going offensively.

They did, however, make a major pickup in Marco Fabian, their latest designated player. He signed with them from Eintracht Frankfurt. He’s also represented Mexico internationally 42 times, with nine goals to his name. He’ll be a serious threat in MLS.

Last season, the Union were unable to score a goal against TFC in either of their two meetings. Toronto won 3-0 at home in May — remember when we thought that was going to be the season’s turning point? — and they won 2-0 in Philly about a month later. Unfortunately, two of TFC’s five total goals over those games came from players who have since shipped off to the Middle East.

Still, the Reds have some firepower left. Jonathan Osorio has looked decent through two games, and sooner or later Terrence Boyd will shake off the rust. We’ll see if Greg Vanney decides to rotate his squad a little, maybe giving minutes to deserving players like Tsubasa Endoh or Jay Chapman.

The weather in Philadelphia today is positively balmy compared to Tuesday (a high of 4 degrees), but it’s possible the home team struggles with the cold a little more than the visitors, who’ll be much more used to frosty conditions.

Team news: lineups & suspensions

Toronto FC: Jozy Altidore will remain out with his injury, but he’ll hopefully be working his way back — the home opener on March 17 has been circled for a potential return. The MLS website also lists Eriq Zavaleta as questionable.

Philadelphia Union: No injuries I can find.

Pregame reading

Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Philadelphia Union

Toronto FC Prediction League 2019: Round 3 (@ Philadelphia)

Gritty goes streaking at Lincoln Financial Field, gets ejected

How to watch

Match date/time: Saturday, March 2, 1 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 1 & 4 (Canada), 6abc (Pennsylvania)
Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)