Week 32 Recap: The Union Draw on the Road, and Also the Sky is Blue

By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

It’s another away game and another draw for the Union. A win would have secured their spot in the playoffs, but a draw welcomed in a bunch of complicated scenarios and relying on other teams to win and lose in order for the Boys In Blue to clinch.

The Union got off to quite the ideal start, with Alejandro Bedoya collecting a pass from Daniel Gazdag and scored just 37 seconds into the game.

Despite having the advantage on the scoreboard, Toronto FC controlled most of the possession after the Union scored. The Union’s back four showed why they’re considered one of the best back lines in the league, calmly shutting down any Toronto counterattacks before they could reach goalie Matt Freese.

The rest of the first half remained fairly quiet, save for some promising offensive runs from Kai Wagner and Leon Flach that unfortunately didn’t turn into anything.

In the 63rd minute, Kacper Przybylko lost the ball after a scoring chance, and Toronto were quick to seize their chance to attack. Jozy Altidore grabbed a loose ball from the crowd of bodies in front of the net and rocketed a shot past Freese to put the home side level 1-1.

Things went from bad to worse, as Toronto’s Jacob Shaffelburg attempted to put a low cross into Altidore’s path. Union defender Jack Elliott tried to intercept the pass, but ended up putting it into the net for an own goal.

Jim Curtin then substituted Sergio Santos for Gazdag, and it proved to be the right move. Just seven minutes after falling behind, Wagner picked Santos out in a pocket of space and sent a laser of a pass that Santos was able to deflect into the net to even everything up 2-2.

It was game on as the Union hunted for the game-winning goal, including a brilliant run and pass from homegrown Jack McGlynn to Przybylko, but the Polish striker sent the ball just over the crossbar.

In the dying moments of the match, Jamiro Monteiro weaved through Toronto’s defense to pick out Przybylko in the middle of the box. The shot deflected off of Toronto’s Michael Bradley, and the Union argued for a handball and penalty to be given, but the referee didn’t indulge their request.

Man of the Match: It was great to see Santos back on the pitch, especially seeing as he played like he hadn’t been sidelined with an injury. However, immense credit has to be given to Freese for staying composed and vocal when the Union were being bombarded with Toronto’s offense. Having a young goalie to stay that levelheaded in tense situations is worthy of praise.

The Main Takeaway: It was stated in the preview for this game that the Union struggle with winning games that they’re expected to win, and this game showcased that perfectly. They got the opening goal, but almost immediately sat back and got complacent, allowing for a struggling Toronto side to essentially run the game. It’s extremely uncharacteristic of the Union to display such a prominent lack of discipline, and it needs to be rectified before the game against FC Cincinnati.