The Union won 2-1 at Toronto FC on Saturday, a result that proved their holding first place in the Eastern Conference is no fluke. It was the Union’s first win in Toronto in five years, and only the third in team history.
An own goal by Toronto put the Union (7-3-2, 23 points) ahead in the 24th minute. Haris Medunjanin, Kacper Przybylko and Kai Wagner made the build-up, Wagner sent in a low cross for Fafá Picault, and Toronto centerback Chris Mavinga redirected the ball into his own net while yanking Picault to the ground.
There weren’t many shots for either side in the opening half - just two for Toronto (5-4-1, 16 points) and three for the Union - but Toronto’s lack of chances was a credit to the Union’s defense.
Jamiro Monteiro had an especially strong first half, with 3 tackles, 1 interception and 24 of 29 passes completed. Jack Elliott also contributed three clearances.
Toronto got its equalizer in the 50th minute after Alejandro Bedoya tripped Michael Bradley amid a failure by the Union to clear the ball just outside the 18-yard box. Alejandro Pozuelo stepped up and hit a brilliant chipped free kick into the top corner of the net.
Jim Curtin’s first substitution was withdrawing Marco Fabián, who looked a bit rusty in his first appearance since April 14, in the 58th minute. Brenden Aaronson came in, having overcome the hip flexor injury he suffered last Saturday.
The Union re-took the lead 10 minutes later as Przybylko and Monteiro combined for an impressive goal that Monteiro finished.
Toronto responded by bringing in one of the biggest guns in its arsenal, veteran U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore, in the 72nd. He had missed the last three games injured, and was raring to make an impression. Altidore’s chance came in the 79th, when Auston Trusty collided with Carlos Miguel Coronel and left Altidore wide open. Coronel recovered to make a big kick save.
Elliott made a huge block in the 88th, then helped the Union survive back-to-back corner kicks as six minutes of stoppage time began. The final moments were frantic and scrappy, but the Union survived to seal a statement win.
The Union now play their next three games at home: May 18 vs. Seattle, May 25 vs. Portland and May 29 vs. Colorado.