Union face tough opponent in MLS-best Toronto FC

The last time the Philadelphia Union visited BMO Field, they were eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs last October. Now, on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Union visit the formidable Toronto FC side that’s odds-on to win the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s best regular season record.

With 50 points through 25 games, Toronto has a four-point margin on NYCFC in the Supporters’ Shield, has yet to lose at home this season and hasn’t lost a game in almost two months. The Union are in ninth in the East and are six points back of Montreal for the final playoff spot.

Given the task ahead of them, any points gained would be a confidence-boost for the Union.

“(Toronto forwards Sebastian) Giovinco and Jozy Altidore — that’s as big a challenge as there is in our league, to put it simply. Those guys get goals,” said Union head coach Jim Curtin. “They’re tough to deal with. You can watch all the tape you can show the guys but at the same time, they’re just playmakers and we have to play the percentages and try to limit their opportunities on the ball.”

In the only other meeting between the two sides earlier this season, both sides took the lead at different points but settled for a 2-2 draw.

That was part of Toronto’s slow start, when it won just one game in its first six, but it’s been the toast of the league since then and looks to add a win over the Union on Wednesday.

“We’re not looking past anything. Wednesday is the biggest game we’ve played all year in terms of following up a big win with an even better one,” said team captain Michael Bradley. “When you get to this time of year and teams that are hovering around the playoff line or just below it, they’re dangerous because desperation starts to set in.”

Toronto will have just about every player at its disposal with only Benoit Cheyrou (calf) and Nick Hagglund (knee) out long-term.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has Fabian Herbers (sports hernia) out and Maurice Edu (leg), John McCarthy (knee), Ilsinho (adductor) and Oguchi Onyewu (groin) all questionable.