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Disasterclass in Toronto: Philadelphia Union fall 3-1 to last place Reds



Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union suffered a difficult loss Wednesday, falling 3-1 on the road to Toronto FC. While the Union were expected to pull off a win over one of MLS’s worst teams, they played terribly in their second match of the week.

The Union’s lone goal came from Julian Carranza, though it was a rare moment of success for the Union. Jesus Bueno was also ejected at the end of the match, and will miss the Union’s next match against the New York Red Bulls along with fellow Venezuela international Jose Martinez, who will miss the game due to yellow card accumulation from a card he picked up entering the fray from Bueno’s red card offense.

Jim Curtin made two changes to his starting lineup from his team’s game against D.C. United Saturday, starting Leon Flach and Alejandro Bedoya over Jack McGlynn and Bueno, respectively. The match was Bedoya’s first start after an extended absence due to injury.

The Union started strong against a side that had lost its previous six matches under interim head coach Terry Dunfield and were trying to avoid stretching their winless streak to 14 games. While the Union didn’t create any shockingly powerful chances on net, they spent plenty of time in and around the penalty area.

Jose Martinez generated the first reaction from the home crowd on the night, as he powered a ball over the goal in the 19th minute and into the stands, as he so often has.

The disaster struck for the Union. After Toronto had only scored twice in its last six games, Lorenzo Insigne found the back of the net in the 23rd minute. Jakob Glesnes and the Union defense left Insigne all alone in front of the goal, and a quick pass from Deandre Kerr set the Italian up nicely to open the scoring.

Insigne’s goal gave Toronto plenty of momentum. The hosts pushed up against the Union backline through much of the first half with the lead in hand, willing to take risks and feeling inspired that they perhaps had a chance against a top side.

Philadelphia finally worked one back via Carranza. Mikael Uhre found Carranza making a run at the back post in the 45th minute, and after Toronto FC keeper Tomas Romero (a Union Academy grad from Cherry Hill, N.J.) nicked the ball but couldn’t redirect it, Carranza tied the game for the Union.

Both sides were even to start the second half, but Toronto eventually found its second goal. This time, it was Kerr sitting alone in the center of the penalty area in the 58th minute, receiving the same ball from Federico Bernardeschi that he had given to Insigne in the first half.

Five minutes later, Toronto pulled away. Jonathan Osorio outran Glesnes and Olivier Mbaizo before placing a header into the net from the six-yard-line in the 63rd minute.

Just over a minute later, Bernardeschi nearly continued the scoring with a shot that just missed the right post in the 65th minute. Kerr’s shot in the 67th minute rebounded off the left post and back into the arms of Andre Blake, who had missed Kerr’s initial shot. The Union were barely staying afloat in a game they had been expected to dominate.

The rest of the match wasn’t any prettier. Both sides had good chances to score, but neither Bernardeschi nor Jack Elliott could find the net. To make matters worse, a scuffle broke out at the end of the match that saw Bueno sent off with a red card.

Philadelphia played so poorly that it’s hard to find a man of the match. Carranza’s goal was a bright spot, but not one player shined for the Union in Toronto.

The Union return to play at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, at Subaru Park against the Red Bulls with no Bueno, Martinez and possibly no Flach as well. The match will be broadcast on Apple TV for free.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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