Only a couple of days after being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League, Toronto FC started the new MLS season in Philly, where they faced the Philadelphia Union. But despite their recent poor form, the Reds played a good game and beat the Union 3-1.
Michale Bradley scored two goals for TFC, while Nick DeLeon bagged one for the visitors, who won their first game of the season for the first time in four years.
Many feared how would Toronto start the season, following the departures of Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez, but especially after they were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League by the Panamanian Independiente.
Coach Greg Vanney can breathe easily, although there’s a lot of work to be done, especially when building the team’s roster is in question. Still, the win will boost players’ confidence ahead of the upcoming games in the league.
A Good Start to the New Season
Chris Mavinga led the defence, which looked completely different when compared to the games in the CONCACAF Champions League. Last season saw Toronto game up 64 goals, which was their worst-ever record. They were strong against the Union, showing great composure throughout the game, but especially in the final 10-15 minutes, when the home team went all-attack.
Vanney stated on several occasions the team too often plays through the middle, but it seems DeLeon can change that, which would give Toronto a much-needed width in the attack.
Jozy Altidore missed the game due to a knee injury, and Vanney decided to give Jordan Hamilton a place in the starting eleven, instead of Terrence Boyd. The good news is – Drew Moor is back, and with Mavinga and Ciman in good form, Toronto’s defence could be unbreakable. This was the first MLS game for Nick DeLeon after moving from the D.C. United, where he spent a total of seven seasons before moving to Toronto in December last year.
The teams were pretty much even in the first half, and both sides could have easily taken the lead. Toronto had a chance to score from the penalty spot, but Osorio’s shot was saved by Andre Blake. Still, the visitors took the lead before the half time, after Bradley scored his first goal of the match. TFC captain made it 2-0 17 minutes into the second time, while Marco Fabian scored from the spot 11 minutes later to give a lifeline to the home team. However, Nick DeLeon set the final result with his first MLS goal for Toronto, deep into stoppage time.
Toronto’s next game is scheduled to take place on March 18 at BMO Field, against New England.