Major League Soccer is finally back, and it kicked off at the Talen Energy Stadium where Toronto FC looked to continue a streak of dominance over Philadelphia Union.
Toronto swept the season series vs the Union in 2018, winning 3-0 at BMO Field and 2-0 at the home of the Union in Chester, Pennsylvania.
It was an interesting test for the Reds, with their focus this season solely on making the playoffs.
The Union are a side that, like Toronto with Sebastian Giovinco, have lost their goal scoring power with the recent departure of CJ Sapong.
Toronto’s focus was now on stopping Union’s Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya, and their major pickup in the off-season, Marco Fabian, who signed with them from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Greg Vanney will look to rotate his squad with players such as Jonathan Osorio, Tsubasa Endoh, and Jay Chapman, while star player Jozy Altidore remains out injured, looking to work his way back to fitness in time for a potential return for the March 17 home opener.
It Reds captain Michael Bradley stepped up to give his team all three points in what was an action packed season opener. The midfielder scored on either side of half-time, spoiling Fabian’s debut although the Mexican scored his team’s lone goal.
TFC had another huge chance when a penalty was awarded for hand ball on the 32nd minute, but it was saved Andre Blake.
Bradley scored his first in first-half stoppage time, and bagged his brace right after the hour mark, slamming it into the net after Laurent Ciman’s cross ricocheted out towards the penalty area.
Fabian scored his first goal for the Union from the penalty spot, but In the 5th minute of injury time, Nick DeLeon put the icing on the cake to see the game end 3-1 in favour of the Toronto.
TFC and its fans can take more than just the win after beating the Union 3-1. Many questions were raised after an early elimination from the Concacaf Champions league.
While this result doesn’t put away the disastrous reality of the CCL elimination, such a controlled and well balanced road performance shows that the Reds still have what it takes to be contenders of the East.
Man of the Match
This goes to Bradley. He put in tackles that threw Union off their game, and found the back of the net twice to give his team a morale-boosting win.
Other players deserving of a mention for their impressive performances are Nick DeLeon and Auro Jr.
45+3- TOR – Michael Bradley
62 – TOR – Michael Bradley
73 – PHI – Marco Fabian (P)
90+3 – TOR – Nick DeLeon
Shots: TOR – 8 PHIL 18
Shots on target: TOR- 5 PHIL 4
Possession: TOR- 28% PHIL 62%
Fouls- TOUR 14 PHIL 16