Toronto FC-Union Preview
The Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC are seeing better results under new coaches, and both clubs will try to keep that momentum going at each other's expense Sunday afternoon at PPL Park.
Philadelphia (4-9-2) has won two of its last three MLS matches under John Hackworth and earned the latest of those victories in dramatic fashion Wednesday, 2-1 at Los Angeles.
Michael Farfan scored the tiebreaking goal during the fifth minute of stoppage time on a pass from Lionard Pajoy. Jack McInerney added his third goal in two games during extra time in the first half.
"We didn't play our best, but for the guys in our locker room to fight as hard as they fought and really make plays, that's fantastic," Hackworth said. "These kinds of games can define a team."
When Hackworth took over following Peter Nowak's dismissal on June 13, the Union were mired in a winless streak that eventually reached six matches following their new coach's debut. After its first full week under Hackworth, Philadelphia rebounded for a 4-0 rout of Sporting Kansas City on June 23 and snapped a string of three consecutive home defeats.
The Union have scored seven goals in their last three matches after totaling eight in their first 12.
Toronto FC (2-10-4), meanwhile, is riding a five-game unbeaten streak (1-0-4), its longest since a team-record eight-game run May 8-July 10, 2010. Danny Koevermans' sixth goal in five games gave the team a 1-all draw at FC Dallas on Wednesday.
Toronto has scored 10 goals in six matches under Paul Mariner, who took over for Aron Winter on June 7. The squad tallied eight goals in its first 10 matches this season.
"(It's) players in comfort zones, players understanding what they're doing, knowing their role and knowing their job," Mariner told the league's website. "The beauty about it is everybody knows what (his) job is, and if you don't do it, you get told. It's football."
In Winter's final game, Toronto edged Philadelphia 1-0 at home May 26 to end an MLS-worst 0-9-0 start and snap a three-game winless streak to the Union (0-2-1). Koevermans scored the lone goal in that game in the 88th minute, one of his already career-high nine this season.
"Philly is a team that we've already got a win against this year. Hopefully we can do it again," forward Ryan Johnson. "But at the same time they're a good team and they've been in good form. It's not going to be easy."
Toronto is 0-1-1 in two trips to PPL Park and needed Johnson's goal in the 58th minute to finish with a 1-all draw there Oct. 15.