Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-2 Toronto FC

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union’s strikers finally produced goals, but only enough to draw 2-2 with Toronto FC in a freezing, windy Chester, PA Saturday afternoon.

Alejandro Bedoya smashed a first half penalty off the crossbar before Jozy Altidore finished a spot kick of his own as referee Mark Geiger put himself at the center of the action throughout a rough and ugly home opener for the Union.

Jay Simpson opened the scoring with a brave header and C.J. Sapong notched his first goal since August to round out the Union’s scoring.

Even with Warren Creavalle fit and available, Jim Curtin named an unchanged starting XI from last week’s draw in Vancouver.

Philadelphia started the stronger of the two teams with good opportunities for Chris Pontius and Fabian Herbers inside the opening eight minutes.

The Union’s strong start led to their opening goal of the season in the 11th minute. Haris Medunjanin did well to find Pontius with a lovely diagonal pass to the left corner of the  box. Pontius flipped his header into the path of striker Jay Simpson, who dove at the ball to push it past Clint Irwin.

Philadelphia had a great opportunity to double their lead in the minute. Medunjanin moved quickly from a free kick just inside the Toronto half with Herbers getting behind the Toronto back line. Left center back Nick Hagglund got a big chunk of Herbers as both went up for the ball and tugged the Union winger to the ground on the edge of the area. Referee Mark Geiger looked to his assistant for help and eventually pointed to the spot for a Union penalty kick. Alejandro Bedoya went for power, firing a hard shot to Clint Irwin’s right that hit square off the crossbar and bounced out.

Toronto equalized just before the stroke of halftime through Jozy Altidore. Oguchi Onyewu fouled Sebastian Giovinco 30 yards from the Union goal,* forcing the Toronto man off the field with a leg injury. From the ensuing free kick, Jones was adjudged to have pulled back Altidore in the box and Geiger immediately pointed to the spot. Altidore fired his shot into the right side of the Union goal with Andre Blake sprawled the other way.

Jozy Altidore had a great chance to give Toronto the lead in the 56th minute. The American striker broke through the Union back line with the ball and was one on one with Blake. The Union goalkeeper did incredibly well to make himself big and save the shot with his feet.

Toronto took the lead in the 71st minute. A free kick from just inside the Union half caught Keegan Rosenberry napping as Justin Morrow ran in behind down the Toronto left. The wingback had time to settle and take two touches toward goal before finishing from a bad angle past Blake.

The lead was short lived, however, as Sapong brought the Union level again in 73rd minute. Fabian Herbers showed great patience on the ball as he drove down the center of the pitch, waiting for Sapong to get free. Herbers was eventually able to release the striker who made a perfectly timed run behind the Toronto back line. The striker still had plenty to do with Irwin charging out, but he remained calm on the ball, pushing it around the Toronto goalie and finishing into the empty net.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Oguchi Onyewu, Keegan Rosenberry, Derrick Jones, Haris Medunjanin, Fabian Herbers (Fafa Picault 78′), Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius (Roland Alberg 89′), Jay Simpson (C.J. Sapong 29′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Ken Tribbett, Warren Creavalle

Toronto FC
Clint Irwin, Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Tsubasa Endoh (Chris Mavinga 85′), Armando Cooper (Jonathan Osorio 77′), Justin Morrow, Sebastian Giovinco (Tousaint Ricketts 45+2′), Jozy Altidore
Unused subs: Alexander Bono, Marco Delgado, Raheem Edwards, Jay Chapman

Scoring Summary
PHI: Jay Simpson — 11′ (Chris Pontius, Haris Medunjanin)
TOR: Jozy Altidore — 45+2′ (penalty)
PHI: Justin Morrow — 71′ (Michael Bradley)
TOR: CJ Sapong — 73′ (Fabian Herbers)

Disciplinary Summary
TOR:  Eriq Zavaleta — 52′ (Unsporting behavior)
PHI: Fabian Herbers — 53′ (Unsporting behavior)
TOR: Armando Cooper — 57′ (Unsporting behavior)

Philadelphia Union Toronto FC
10 Shots 5
3 Shots on Target  3
4 Shots off Target 1
 3 Blocked Shots 1
 2 Corner Kicks 3
 14 Crosses  18
4 Offsides 1
23 Fouls 15
 1 Yellow Cards 2
 0 Red Cards  0
 425 Total Passes  449
72% Passing Accuracy  73%
 48.2% Possession 51.8%
63 Duels Won 67
 48.5% Duels Won % 51.5%
 16 Tackles Won 16
 1 Saves 1
 24 Clearances  19

82 Comments

  1. I thought we looked good.

  2. MikeRSoccer says:

    Great game. I was expecting a loss, but they looked much better than I thought they would. Jones, Haris, Pontius, Keegan (with the exception of his laziness on the second TOR goal), Onyewu, Marquez, and Blake all had excellent games. I was also thoroughly impressed with Simpson prior to his injury. He kept possession and the ball moving even when his teammates hit him in tight spaces. His deft touch on the goal was also impressive. In years past, that header would have gone directly into the keeper. Very happy.
    .
    Also, I think we should all recognize just how fantastic Jones is playing for his age and experience. A beast defensively and as an outlet to shuttle the ball. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

    • Before the game, if you would have asked me about a 2-2 draw, I’d have taken it.

      Having seen the game, I’m disappointed in the result, but not the play. Had Bedoya finished that penalty…had Geiger done anything but continually scree the union…

      Still, as with everyone else, I’m in love with the Medunjanin Jones pair.

      Can we please free up some $ and dump Edu?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        If Edu pairs with Medunjanin it will be much harder for for the opposing midfield to double-team either. Right now Jones is not a longer-pass offensive threat. Edu would be.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Boy that ball was dead out there today…if you didn’t strike it perfectly on the ground it died…quite a few passes came up short.
    .
    For 42 minutes that was a game played that gives one terrific hope…then Geiger became culpable for it falling apart into a NHL game in the second half. Too bad.
    .
    Thus far….Derrick Jones is a fucking stud. There I said it. Rangy. Destroyer. Physical. Available. Outlets for possession, keen vision and a sneaky desire to attack on the dribble– which I can’t wait to see more of even if it bites us in the ass once in awhile~~ to be honest… I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
    .
    HM is a stone faced liar. I love it. Looks players off. Deceives without touching the ball… slips the pass in an instant. Enjoy watching him play.
    .
    Thought Ale, HM and DJ controlled every second of first 42 minutes.
    .
    OO answered any questions about his ability to play. Stud.
    .
    Big mistake by KR on second goal. BIG.
    .
    Fabinho nominated for my Sun Rocket this week as I stopped counting after his 6th turnover.
    .
    Why Oh Why Woe is Me and this team’s history of losing top players to injury- entire game changed when CJ came on and Simpson went off though didn’t watch closely enough to see if that was a halftime adjustment by Vanney…Boot it for the flick to CJ- can’t beat him up too bad though as he scored a nice gol on a lovely FH pass.

    • So. Damned. COLD.
      .
      I don’t what the temp actually was, but it felt 20 degrees colder no matter what. (And I WAS dressed for it)
      .
      Onyewu played like a kid out there. I was kind of expecting Groot, but I saw a very nimble and energetic (almost playful at times) big guy.
      .
      Thing that impressed me most about Onyewu? When Blake went down and the River End was off it’s nut, he’s gesturing several times for everyone to calm down and get rational. One of the best things I’ve ever seen a player do.
      .
      And yes EP, totally agree on Jones. That kid looked like he belonged and he KNEW it. Really great to see.
      .
      No more penalties chances for Bedoya please. I believe that’s his second miss now in Philly and this might have been a very different game if they’re cruising 2-0 for the first half.

      • Was that during the “**** you ref” chant? I am a few thousand miles away, so I didn’t have a good view. But I did notice that it sort of stopped out of nowhere.

        • And I don’t remember it being cold at all. 85 is a bit warm for March 11. 😉

        • It was actually a “**** you Geiger” chant, so a little more personal. People were outraged that Geiger didn’t take any punitive action after Blake was kicked in the face.
          .
          I do think Geiger is generally a poor referee, with questionable decisions and a penchant for pushing himself in the spotlight. If you listen to Curtin’s conference, I think he may have been mentally chanting the same thing. That said, Gooch trying to calm the SoBs also makes me think highly of him.

      • Buccistick says:

        At halftime, the scoreboard put it at 20°F.
        .
        One of the yobs in my section touted Toronto’s captain for leading by example: no gloves … short sleeves … and of course, a shining hairless pate worthy of the Bradley name.

  4. They looked like a good team out there. Most of the time. Well done, Coach. Let’s give some credit where it’s due.
    .
    I’m still cold.
    .
    Derrick Jones was even better, both sides of the ball, than last week.
    .
    Welcome to The Cow and The Curd. Let’s see your poutine on the menu, ASAP.
    .
    Man I’m still cold.

  5. Pragmatist says:

    “Philadelphia Union’s strikers finally produced goals…”
    .
    Kinda harsh for just the second game of the season!

  6. -Gooch had a great game.
    -There is a good chance Gooch will get suspended for maiming Giovinco.
    -Tolerable Fabhino morphed into rocket into the sun Fabhino as the game wore on.
    -Goddammit Bedoya.
    -Sapong had a great goal.
    -Sapong had a terrible game.
    -Alberg did this thing where when the Union gained possession of the ball he ran towards goal.The rest of the Union should try that.
    -The three man backline for Toronto was a terrible idea
    -Was Bedoya a second striker in the first half?
    -Jones is the truth.
    -The food selection at PPL sucks.
    -The cold sucks
    -Geiger sucks.

    • As usual, little to argue with, except: brat on a pretzel bun. Nuff said.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Just watched the replay of the first half and there is no reason for the league to consider suspending Gooch unless it wants to show outright favoritism towards superstars. It was a normal tackle where he happened to catch the player too. It was no more dangerous than the play where Simpson got hurt. Both were more from the cold than from the other player.

    • No maiming, that was classic #4 play.

  7. Geiger is an absolute joke. Both PKs awarded were suspect in my opinion. Every time someone wearing red fell down he blew the whistle. I hate talking about the ref but he sucks. He inserts himself in every game. Whatever.
    .
    No excuse missing the PK but overall the U were good today. Gooch looked good. Jones and Haris are working well together. Hope Simpson isn’t hurt long term. I am very encouraged by what I saw today. Still should’ve had 3 points tho
    .
    And… holy balls was it cold

    • He had two hands on Herbers arm and yanked him down. Questionable?
      .
      Let’s all tap the breaks on the Jones Hype Machine. If all he becomes is greater than C&C and a fifth the cost of Edu, he’s a walking gold bar. He played well. He also made quite a few mistakes.

      • I’m willing to stick my neck out and say Jones is better than Crevalle.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Yes I agree let’s not appoint Derrick Jones as Patrick Viera….
        .
        It is however okay to be excited… each corner of the mouth pulls up, eyes open a bit wider and smile. I know, So Union…but it’s okay though..this tenuous film of mistrust we have had for quite so long in Philly. Our little soul.
        .
        🙂

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        He’s 20, and was gassed by the end. Gotta have him get into back-to-back-to-back 90 minutes shape.

      • Pragmatist says:

        The Herber’s play was a foul, but it was outside the box and shouldn’t have been a PK.

        • Agreed. It’s pretty easy to see watching the game back. Herbers was definitely fouled, and it was definitely not in the box. On the other hand, the foul was clearly a tactical one, so I suppose that’s the kind of fire you play with when attempting that sort of thing.
          .
          The Toronto pk was just an experienced striker taking advantage of a young player and a trigger-happy referee.

          • pragmatist says:

            Funny, but your explanation of the Toronto PK never actually claims it was a foul…
            .
            Eye of the beholder on that one, I guess.

        • Is it even a foul if Herbers was offside? Also, did Geiger overrule the AR on the location?

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Good strong game for the team, although obviously they need to improve on their set piece defending. Glad that the Union were able to score 2 from open play.
    .
    Weird stat. I was looking through old results and the Union tend to play really well in game 2 of the season. All time, they now have 1 loss and 2 draws.
    .
    Trivia questions. Which 4 Union players played the first half without gloves? Which 1 of those 4 didn’t put gloves on in the second half either? (and no, it’s not a trick question where the answer is Jay Simpson)

  9. Hey MLS, no more philly home games until the third week in March!
    Geiger sucks! What was up with the ending whistle during play?!?!
    Overall a lot more than I expected and quite happy but going forward I should be expecting a win (bedoya!)
    I think we need to raise the bar as a fan base and start to expect wins and a playoff spot should be the norm from now on.
    Maybe it’s just the cold leaving my brain.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Video Replay disagrees.

    • The choice to end the game in the middle of a ‘play’ sure smacked of revenge for the “F*** you Geiger” chant.

    • And if the home schedule must begin in early March, how about starting the games at noon/1:00 instead of at 4:30? Having the sun overhead throughout Saturday’s match would have helped counter the cold (at least a little), plus an earlier start would have made it easier for those of us on the bridge side to see the field (instead of staring into the setting sun).

  10. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Gooch looked like a general commanding that middle of the field. Every time the ball came into the middle he seemed to step at the right time to break it up. Can’t say I saw how Toronto got the penalty but after it was called, Blake got lucky the ref didn’t give him a card as he almost kicked the ball out of the stadium in anger. Also loved Jones competing on the sideline with two men on him and finally getting a call from the ref, he jumps up and waves to the crowd to make some noise. It was something to see as he always seems so laid back. Other than the bitter cold and the missed penalty it was a good day as they looked like a team coming together.

    • Buccistick says:

      “Blake got lucky …” or Geiger just held to form, missing something everyone else in the stadium plainly saw 😉
      .
      Gooch may settle nerves both on the grass and in the stands.
      .
      He may not give any quarter going toe to toe against even his physical equal in the Altidores of the world.
      .
      He may still read the game well (though the first few times loose balls fell between him and Rosenberry looked dicey, with each looking to the other to step up and take the initiative).
      .
      But something else about him worries me far more than a few miscommunications with teammates (which already began to abate after Simpson’s opener). Namely, the ol’ Zlatan-slayer looked … ungainly. Not out of shape. Not lacking for match fitness. Several of his moments, on bouncing balls in particular, he just clattered about awkwardly.
      .
      I’ve tracked bad soccer mechanics from the couch, and from the stands, and from the bench. They rarely bode well; and the cumulative effect plays out worse under reps and stress.
      .
      To say nothing of an injury history. And age. In his prime, Gooch moved much more smoothly.
      .
      So you heard it here first … much as I want him to succeed … barring the sort of 60-minute substitution patterns that finally eased Pontius into a full season last year (and we know that doesn’t happen with CBs … coached by a ex-CB, even one who signs off on such fitness management) … in Gooch’s future, I smell an injury of the self-inflicted sort 🙁
      .
      Heal up quick, Yaro.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Yaro won’t be back for a while.
        .
        He will do injury rehab in Bethlehem once he’s easy for that.
        .
        I would bet August.

        • Buccistick says:

          No doubt on Yaro’s timetable. And that pacing makes great good sense for such a promising young buck.
          .
          But upon further review: as badly as Rosenberry “fell asleep” on Morrow’s goal, that sequence also exposed the awkwardness of Gooch’s mechanics (AND shone a harsh light on the communication breakdowns that plagued the right side of defense from minute zero).

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

        That’s not much of a prediction. He’s about to be 35 & missed the last two years. Predicting he will be defender of the year, now that would be going out on a limb.

  11. Mike, you need to make a correction: it was Onyewu that took out Giovinco, not D. Jones.

  12. I have to say that I was very pleased with how the Union absolutely TOOK IT to (possibly) the best team in MLS. In the first half particularly they were dominant.

    The story of the match was guys having a great game but doing One Thing Wrong. Bedoya was tireless, blanketing Bradley and getting to goal several times… and then missed that PK. Onyewu was an absolutely stud… other than crumpling Giovinco. Rosenberry had an excellent game, winning balls all over the place and getting nicely involved in the passing game… and then fell asleep for 5 seconds and cost us a goal. Derrick Jones was once again excellent, showing positional awareness and composure far beyond his years… and then costing us a PK (even if it was a mighty weak call).

    Soccer is a stochastic game; because it is so low-scoring, the final result doesn’t always match the gameplay in the short term. In the long term, quality shows. If the Union play like this for most of the season, they will be near the top of the Eastern Conference table. (Whether they can, indeed, play like this consistently remains to be seen.)

    • Word of the week: stochastic
      .
      sto·chas·tic | stəˈkastik/ | adjective
      .
      randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.
      .
      Greek origin: stokhos (aim)

    • I wouldn’t blame Jones for the PK. It was whoever was on the other side of the player fouled who tripped him(looked like Rosenberry). Geiger may have pointed to Jones, but Jones didn’t actually commit it.

  13. It was insanely cold but I still enjoyed myself. Its going to be a blast watching Jones and Medunjanin playing together this season. I loved watching them both tonight but especially Jones. He was like watching a cartoon with how he moved and flailed without ever falling. There were so many times that someone would shove or bump him and he would come out of the melee with the ball on his foot. I remember one specific time Altidore did one of his patented “I’m a big deal so they never call a foul against me” shoves on Jones but he just rolled with it and came away with the ball

  14. Adam Schorr says:

    I may have to take back everything I said about ES and his failure to replace C+C if Jones keeps playing like this.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      We all need to remember that to a degree the kid is still getting quite the adrenaline surge everytime he steps onto a game pitch.
      .
      The most encouraging thing to me is that he can power his way through an MLS double-team and keep the ball, sometimes.
      .
      He gives others the responsibility for longer distance offensive distribution, which is appropriate right now. Hopefully he is working on that in practice.

      • I disagree with the adrenaline surge. Bedoya to Curtin have talked about his calmness to the point they wonder if he’s comatose. He’s never once looked overly agitated or excited to me. He just glides from one play to another.

      • I recall your off-season comment about Jones’ ability to deal with double-teams. So far, so good!

  15. Should have been 2-0, then quickly went 1-1 just before intermission. Then coming back from 1-2 v. TFC says a lot about the fight and self-confidence this team has.
    Again the subs were offensive minded, although they could’ve been made sooner for me.
    Much better passing in the middle third. Jones’s runs also create space.
    Results and style of play are so far encouraging. Looking for 3 points v. ORL.
    Who takes PKs now?

  16. Old Soccer Coach says:

    As I think about the game the morning after, that Toronto stopped having its flurry of dangerous chances after the Union tied it back up is very encouraging. Somebody adjusted something, whether from the sideline or from the field.
    .
    Medunjanin will be heavily double-teamed until one of two things happens, Edu returns, or Jones starts to deliver longer-range offensive distributions.
    .
    Last point, as a tentative hypothesis, Simpson’s goal characterizes why they got him. He scored on a shorter length delivery among defenders. Sapong scored from green space behind the defense having left defenders behind.

  17. Geiger once again embarrassed himself, ‘both sides’ of the ball. I guess he must have pictures on Comm. Garber, or whoever is the head of the MLS ref association. How this idiot can keep his job when he can continues to insert himself in the game as if the center of the match is insane. I’m not sure which is worse, his non-calls, or his imaginary calls that just don’t occur?!? The MLS will NEVER get the games respect it tries so hard to achieve until it establishes a professional crew of qualified referees, at which currently they lack. Sad, just so sad, get your head out of the sand commissioner and do your job and make some serious changes.

  18. Well played, coach included, pleasure to see the teams over all quality of play elevating. This game last year may have been 2-1 loss but they never let up and earned a point, well played!!

  19. Anyone have a suggestion of where to watch condensed match replays if MLS Live is above your pay grade? Or full replays even better.

  20. I was watching the replay of Simpson’s goal and think that is where he took the shot to his ribs: the GK’s knee.

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