Toronto wins regular-season finale, misses first-round bye

SEATTLE WA- MARCH 06 Jordan Morris #13 of the Seattle Sounders FC dribbles against Amadou Dia #13 of Sporting Kansas City at Century Link Field

By now, we've talked at length about how bad the Philadelphia Union has been in September and October.

They'll kickoff the 2016 MLS playoffs on Wednesday night against third-seeded Toronto FC (14-9-11) in a knockout match.

The New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids have already secured first-round byes. If the defense holds up and Toronto can make it the next round, then the team will have genuinely improved upon what it achieved last season when it qualified for the postseason for the first time, but was sent packing after a knockout round loss to the Montreal Impact. The latter has shown genuine quality as a player and in several games down the stretch Cooper was TFC's best player.

2015 playoff appearance was a bright spot in the franchise's largely disappointing history, and this year's team is ready to take it to the next step.

"He's been extremely solid, and I think that's the main thing about being a centre back-to be solid every single day, do your job and be able at the highest level to help and communicate, and work with the guys around [you]".

"Brian has been a guy who's done it and won championships and lifted trophies", Union head coach Jim Curtin said.

There's not much good to draw from the team accomplishment. They are an experienced team, which I think in the playoffs can go a long way. "They're the home team..." While U.S. Internationals Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are much more familiar to American soccer fans, it's the Italian who makes TFC run. "I know we're capable of it". My guys should be loose, nothing to lose. "It's a challenge but one we're going to be up for". "Everything is a little bit more heightened". That said anything can happen in a victor take all game, and if the Union can suddenly find their long forgotten form they may be able to sneak a playoff win in. The two wins came against bottom-dwelling Chicago. If it's three games in a week, you can count Drew in.

"Anybody can beat anybody in one game", Vanney said. That may also be a huge boost for MLS ratings, as Philly vs NY is always a big deal no matter the sport, and with the interesting games the two have played all season that seems like a great idea for everyone. So coach Greg Vanney didn't mind that his family was watching a rerun of Toronto's 3-2 win over Chicago on Sunday when he returned home after the game. "Those two are as good as any in the league".

Goossens got the Fire a consolation goal in the 83rd minute when Brandon Vincent sent a cross into the box that was cleared short by Toronto, falling directly to Goossens whose one-time shot slammed the back of the net past Irwin to bring the game to 3-2.

The opening goal came against the run of play in the 18th minute.

Over the whole season, Philadelphia's offence has been fairly equitable to Toronto's, with one more total goal scored (52).

"They [Toronto FC] have a lot of big guns out there, and it consumes a lot of focus". They also put together a four-game winning streak at BMO Field. Did Toronto sacrifice defensive stability for an offense that was always going to live or die by the heroics of the Atomic Ant?

Toronto conceded the first goal for the fourth time in its past six games but battled back on goals from striker Sebastian Giovinco, on a penalty, defender Justin Morrow and midfielder Jonathan Osorio. It's clear to him that they haven't been good enough, but certain aspects of those setbacks have been worth retaining, like their strong play against Toronto. TFC has scored 384 goals and conceded 498 times. Either way, it's something that Philly should look to exploit. However, Toronto FC have been known to succumb to trap games.

They've played some 4-4-2 diamond, they've played some three-man defense, and they've moved around some of their attacking pieces in an effort to maximize output. The introduction of players like Drew Moor, Steven Beitashour, Will Johnson and Clint Irwin all played a role in a team that is as hard now to break down as it is to defend.

Since the departure of Perquis Toronto has often looked shaky defensively and that poor defensive form continued right to the last regular season game when a hapless Chicago Fire squad scored two goals away from home and nearly snatched their second road victory of the season against a TFC squad with a vastly bigger payroll.



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