Chester, Pennsylvania (March 2, 2019) — The Philadelphia Union might have had some preconceived notions about the Toronto FC team they would face at Talen Energy Stadium.
In the last two weeks, Toronto FC struggled mightily against Club Atlético Independiente de la Chorrera in the CONCACAF Champions League. After an embarrassing 4-0 loss down in Panama, Toronto FC couldn’t muster up enough magic, or keep Independiente off the board, to move on in the CCL.
Michael Bradley scores opening MLS goal in Toronto FC victory
However, on MLS opening day against the Philadelphia Union, a different team showed up. At first, it didn’t seem that way. Toronto were missing chances left and right. Goalkeeper Andre Blake had made a diving save to prevent an opening goal from Nick DeLeon.
However, on the same play, Philadelphia gave up a penalty kick. Despite having a glowing opportunity to put Toronto ahead, Jonathan Osorio managed to smack his penalty into the loving arms of Blake.
Meanwhile, more back and forth attempts ensued. However, in first-half stoppage time, it was Michael Bradley that scored the opening goal of the 2019 MLS regular-season. Bradley’s goal wasn’t his only tally of the match. In the second half, Bradley added another tally for Toronto in the 62nd minute. “Father Time” isn’t slowing Bradley down, which is a big boost for Toronto.
Philadelphia had some momentum turn their way in the 73rd minute.
After awarding a penalty to Toronto, referee Nima Saghafi awarded the Union a penalty. Osorio’s day for Toronto went from bad to worse, as he was the guilty party who conceded the penalty.
Meanwhile, Marco Fabián netted his first goal as a member of the Union.
But, Toronto FC wasn’t ready to let the Union gain any confidence. After more chances, pushing and shoving, Toronto’s DeLeon smacked in the game-winning goal. Just seconds later, the final whistle blew, giving Toronto a confidence-booster win.
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 2, 2019
- Union fans had a right to boo: Since when did Toronto FC sign Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar? In the second half of the match, Toronto didn’t do much to mince the theatrics from players. Most notably, Laurent Ciman fell to the pitch in second-half stoppage time, at least 10 seconds after the ball was moved away from him. Even game announcers were calling the theatrics “petty” for Toronto. That type of action has no place in MLS — or any league.
- Fabián is just what Philadelphia needs: After scoring his penalty, Fabián did little celebrating. Instead, he was instructing teammates where to position themselves and got the ball back in play. Forget the fact that he’s played in the world’s best leagues. This is a player that has no problem taking the reins and being an organizer. His partnership with Alejandro Bedoya will get better with time. However, today was a good start for the two.
- Don’t blame this loss on Andre Blake: The Jamaican goalkeeper was all over the place for the Philadelphia Union. Blake made a fantastic penalty save and, of course, his acrobatic save against DeLeon just seconds beforehand. Blake is one of the more underrated goalkeepers in the league. He just needs his defense to be a little more crisp.
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) March 2, 2019
The Philadelphia Union will pick up the pieces and brush off this loss with a trip to the Midwest. Philadelphia will take on Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy park on Sunday, March 10. Kick off is slated for 3 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Toronto won’t see action until Sunday, March 17. Toronto FC will host their home opener at BMO Field against the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. ET.