Toronto FC vs Philadelphia Union: Can TFC Put 2018 Behind Them?

Toronto FC vs Philadelphia Union ~ March 2, 1pm ET ~ Talen Energy Stadium ~ TSN1/4

MLS First Kick!  Rawr!  Here we go again, and a not a moment too soon.  After a turbulent pre-season, followed by a disastrous Concacaf Champions League campaign, getting on with the business of the 2019 MLS season has to be something akin to relief for Toronto FC.  With more recent disappointments still hanging over them, there is still the spectre of a 2018 season lurking about, that still has fans and pundits shaking their heads.  However, it’s a new year, new season and a somewhat new TFC that have journeyed to cheesy Chester to take on the Philadelphia Union this afternoon to kick off (see what I did there?) the 2019 season.  No pressure boys.

Things To Note and Ponder:

  1. Seba, VV, Hagglund, and Irwin are the most notable players no longer with the club.
  2. Yes I left Akexte off that list on purpose.
  3. Yes I know that van der Wiel is technically still with the club – and what a weird limbo situation that is, he apparently still works out at the training centre.
  4. No Jozy – he’s injured and isn’t expected back until the home opener on March 17th.  Fun.
  5. TFC have a bye week next week – altering their schedule for anticipated CCL matches is likely going to work in their favour.
  6. Imagine the Pozzabilities – while still awaiting the formal announcement it does seem as though the deal bringing Alejandro Pozuelo is going to go through, but that’s weeks away.
  7. Laurent Ciman – unjustifiably vilified for his CCL play?  Or have TFC bought a lemon?
  8. Drew Moor – is he truly healthy?  Because they really need him to be healthy.
  9. Goals – who’s going to score them?  With Jozy out that job has fallen on the shoulders of youngsters Jordan Hamilton and Ayo Akinola, and newcomer Terrence Boyd.  No I’m not discounting Oso, I’d love nothing more than to see him score a bunch again this year.  Regardless, one of the three need to provide something to the attack.
  10. Who gets a card first?  Collin or Mavinga?

It’s hard to predict this game (TFC are probably going to lose), as Toronto still seem to be in pre-season form.  They played a better game on Tuesday night – though that’s a very low bar for them to step over – than last week’s game in Panama, but they still look uncertain.  However MLS isn’t CCL, the style of play is different, the opponents are at least somewhat known quantities and well, there’s an entire season with the ebb and flow of hot streaks, rounding into form, injuries, etc to work through.  I’m going to stick with my podcast prediction of 3-1 for the Union, but I’ll be delighted if they somehow manage a point.  Let’s get this season underway, it has to be better than last year right? Right?  Here’s hoping.

Kristin Knowles

Author: Kristin Knowles

Raised on basketball and baseball, Kristin soon saw the error of her ways when enrolled in a local football league as a child. Geography dictated she choose TFC as her team and ten years later she's still yet to flee the city. Cynically optimistic, she now channels her inner hooligan by singing random pop songs and making poor puns in the stands. May contain adult content. Find me on the internet machine @kzknowles

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