MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
09/02/2014 5:38 PM
09/02/2014 5:45 PM
Toronto FC (9-9-6) at Philadelphia (7-9-9), 7 p.m.
Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC will meet for the first time in four days when the two sides face one another at PPL Park on Wednesday.
The two clubs are heading in opposite directions as the Union have suffered just one loss in their last seven league outings while Toronto is winless in its last three.
The poor run of form has cost Ryan Nelsen his job as Toronto parted ways with the head coach on Sunday.
Expectations for Nelsen were sky-high given the sizable investment made in the squad during the offseason, but Toronto has only managed a .500 record (9-9-6) to this point in the campaign.
Greg Vanney was named Toronto's new coach, and the former MLS veteran is eager to put his stamp on the club.
"I'm very honored to be named head coach of Toronto FC and I am looking forward to working with an exceptional group of players," Vanney said. "This is a time for all of us to come together and achieve our goal of making the playoffs for the first time in club history. We're in a good position in the standings. I know the players in our room believe in each other and we are looking forward to a positive response on Wednesday."
The Union, who are coming off of a bye week, will be hoping to capitalize on Toronto's transitional period.
Philadelphia trails Toronto in the table by three points, meaning that maximum return from its home-and-home series with the Reds would see the Union erase the gap and go three points clear of the Canadian club.
"It's huge," Union interim manager Jim Curtin told the club's official website. "The fortunate thing is they (played last) Saturday against New England, so you hope they beat each other up. You don't know how Toronto's going to handle it all. Are they going to bank on being at home? Take it and put everything into the home game and rest a few guys here and be ready there. Either way, we'll be prepared for them. We have the rest and advantage and we have the home-field advantage in the Wednesday game.
"We can dictate things. That's a playoff type game with them. We're right around the same spot and having it in our home field, we'll have to get a win. Then you can go to their place and play with house money. It starts with our home match and we know we have to take care of business at home."
The two clubs have yet to meet this season, though Philadelphia has held the edge in head-to-head battles in recent years. The Union are 2-0-3 against Toronto in the last five meetings between the two sides, most recently edging the Reds in a 1-0 victory on Oct. 5, 2013.
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