3 keys vs. Union

3 Keys to TFC vs. Philadelphia Union

For the second year in a row the U.S. Open Cup final ended in heartbreak for the Philadelphia Union.

The Union were defeated on penalty kicks by Sporting Kansas City. Jim Curtin was forthright following the loss. It was a gut punch.

“On another night, it could go our way, but for some reason it just doesn’t,” Curtin said following the defeat at PPL Park.

“That’s a difficult thing in this building. Our fans were amazing. They stuck with us like they always do. The atmosphere was all we could’ve asked for. All I can say is sorry for not delivering.”

Toronto FC will hope to add to Philadelphia’s misfortune this Saturday at BMO Field. The Reds will face a team exiting the emotional climax of their season. A positive start in this match, unlike what we saw against the Chicago Fire, will be massive.

Here are three keys to the match

Strong Start

To say TFC got off to a poor start against Chicago would be an understatement.

Former Reds striker Gilberto gave the visitors the lead 41 seconds into the match. 41 seconds. Fans at BMO Field had yet to settle in before their team fell behind.

Toronto’s response, as acknowledged by Michael Bradley following the match, was fantastic, but the Reds can make it easier on themselves with a better start against the Union.

Jim Curtin’s side is coming off a devastating loss. If their belief is lessens quickly that could essentially kill the game in what is a very important fixture for the Reds’ playoff aspirations.

Union On A Low

Two years in a row and the same result. The beautiful game can be beautifully cruel.

Curtin made a major coaching decision before penalties, opting to go with John McCarthy in goal. He was the one that helped the Union make it to the final in what is one of the more difficult competitions in the Americas. 

The game shouldn’t have gotten that far, with Philly playing at a higher level than SKC for large stretches.

“I say this very professionally: we kicked their butts,” said midfielder Michael Lahoud. “On a different day, we embarrass Kansas City. But today was their day.”

McCarthy was gutted following the loss. It’s hard to blame him or anyone associated with the Union for feeling that way after 120 minutes of high stakes football.

Andre Blake, who was terrific for the Union in their 1-1 draw against New England, played the majority of the match.

Giovinco Goes For More

Even the football Gods are voicing their support for Sebastian Giovinco.

With the MVP race effectively over and his name in the MLS record books there are a few boxes left for the Atomic Ant to check.

He trails Kei Kamara by two goals for the golden boot and is seven behind the all-time single season mark.

More important, however, than those records is three points for the Reds. Giovinco excelled against Philadelphia in both previous meetings this year. Expect more of the same on Saturday.

Traffic Note

It’s going to be very busy around BMO Field this weekend. The Fall Home Show, Baby Show, Antique Show, Medieval Times, and JFL are all happening on the Exhibition grounds on Saturday so it will certainly be busy and parking will be limited.

The first 10,000 fans at the stadium will receive a special General Bradley shirt so get there early!