Philadelphia Union hit road to face Toronto FC

The Philadelphia Union play their third road game of the 2022 Major League Soccer season on Saturday night at Toronto FC.

You could make the argument that this is the team's first road test against a full strength opponent since CF Montreal and New York City FC were both involved in the Concacaf Champions League at the times of the games on March 5 and 19.

Coverage of Saturday's match begins at 7 p.m. ET on The Gambler with the DraftKings Pregame Show featuring Sean Brace and Joe Tansey. The match call starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with postgame coverage to follow immediately after the final whistle.

The Union come into Saturday as MLS' lone unbeaten squad. They started with a 5-0-1 mark with 16 points.

The defensive unit of Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Kai Wagner and Nathan Harriel has been the star of the team. The Union conceded two goals in their first six games.

Philadelphia's back four, as well as defensive midfielder Jose Martinez, received a good amount of credit, but head coach Jim Curtin believes it is a full team effort that is responsible for the low numbers.

"They have been amazing, but I think it starts with our strikers and their commitment to really work hard and make the other team uncomfortable," Curtin told The Gambler on Wednesday. "We had some changes in the offseason where we lost some high quality players, so for it to come together as quickly as it has from the forward group, the midfield group, then the back five and Andre behind them, I think everyone has been excellent."

The back line received a bit of a scare in last Saturday's win over the Columbus Crew. Andre Blake appeared to hurt his arm after an awkward landing late in the first half.

Curtin confirmed that Blake came away with no major injuries and looked like himself in training.

"He's ready to go," Curtin said. "Initially when it happened I was nervous, just like everyone else in the stadium. It was the most quiet I've heard it the last 15 times we've been in it. Everybody took a deep breath. He hit the post pretty hard with his shoulder, but he was out there taking 1v1s, about 100 shots and looked like himself. We dodged a bullet there."

Forward Sergio Santos should be available for selection as well. The Brazilian forward suffered a slight hamstring injury a few weeks ago. He trained in full with the group throughout the week.

Toronto FC comes into Saturday's match on a three-game unbeaten run. The Reds beat D.C. United and New York City FC at home and then tied Real Salt Lake on the road.

Toronto manager Bob Bradley coached Curtin when he was a player. Curtin is always complimentary of his old boss, but he pointed out one area in which he may not get enough credit.

"He had a lot of turnover with the roster. I think he felt it was necessary. He has them playing with a good blend of experienced players, but also he's given a lot of young guys opportunities," Curtin said. "I think Bob through the years has been a guy that people don't talk enough about developing players. They think of him as a guy who wins trophies and has success everywhere he is. Within that, people don't realize how much he is willing to give young players an opportunity. They have a lot of Homegrowns getting minutes."

Toronto started three Homegrown Players in its draw with RSL alongside the likes of Alejandro Pozuelo and Michael Bradley.

The major difference between the two sides comes in defense. Toronto ranks second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with an expected goals against of 10.7.

The Reds will be without center back Carlos Salcedo due to a red card he picked up last week in Utah. The Union are not expected to have any absences through injury or suspension.

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