Toronto FC Dominates Philadelphia 3-0 in Return to MLS Action

Toronto (3) Philadelphia (0) Final

By: Gordon Brown

Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday night featured an MLS divisional matchup between the Philadelphia Union and host, Toronto FC, at BMO Field.

It happened to be Toronto’s first match since being defeated by C.D. Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League Final last week. Not to mention, the Reds entered the night in last place of the Eastern Conference with a dreadful 1-4-1 overall record. For reference, that happens to be 16 points behind New York FC for 1st place in the East. 

If there was any time to turn their season around, tonight was be no better night.

As the action got under, it was clear this match would be filled with plenty of chances as either offence appeared to flex their prowess early on. Sebastian Giovinco was gifted a clear-cut opportunity early on versus Andre Blake but was denied by the sprawling keeper.

The Reds went down a man shortly after at around 17’ after Victor Vazquez went down with an apparent ankle injury, however, he returned shortly after and would make his presence felt almost immediately. 

Subsequently, the birthday boy, Nicolas Hasler, connected with Vazquez for a back-heel redirection to beat Andre Blake and secure a 1-0 advantage over Philadelphia at 29’.

Giovinco picked up a yellow card at 31’ but was clean for the remainder of the match.

The Union was not without some chances of their own, as Philadelphia’s captain, Alejandro Bedoya, managed to deliver a shot against Toronto FC during the 34’, only to be turned away by Alexander Bono to preserve his team’s lead.

At 37’, Giovinco got the fans back out of their seat’s but succumbed to pressure by missing a free kick high and over the mark.

Two minutes of injury time were added prior to halftime—which proved to be unnecessary as the score remained 1-0 by the time play was whistled to an end.

When play resumed in the second half, the Union stepped up their attack and produced minor opportunities but simply could not overpower Toronto’s potent defence. Additionally, the Reds’ offence continued to spell trouble for Philadelphia and Sebastian Giovinco was determined to prove that point.

At 65’, Toronto’s own Italian Stallion was back at the helm of an offensive attack and single-handedly delivered his squad to a 2-0 lead on the back of a spectacular strike. After handling the ball through several defenders, Giovinco laid the finishing touches with a quick boot past Andre Blake.

Jay Chapman went on to add an insurance tally at 89’ for the Reds, who sealed the deal with strong possession in the dying minutes of the match. By the end of regulation and penalty time, the score would stand at 3-0 in favour of Toronto to improve their overall MLS record to 2-4-1.

At this point, Toronto FC dominated 16-5 in shots on goal and looked a lot more reminiscent of 2017’s MLS Champions squad. Looking forward, the Reds will be back on the pitch this coming Wednesday as they get set to host the Seattle Sounders in a rematch of last year’s championship game. 

The start time is set at 7:30 p.m. EST.

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Photo Credit: @torontofc