Photo: Paul Rudderow
Philadelphia Union’s strikers finally produced goals, but only enough to draw 2-2 with Toronto FC in a freezing, windy Chester, PA Saturday afternoon.
Alejandro Bedoya smashed a first half penalty off the crossbar before Jozy Altidore finished a spot kick of his own as referee Mark Geiger put himself at the center of the action throughout a rough and ugly home opener for the Union.
Jay Simpson opened the scoring with a brave header and C.J. Sapong notched his first goal since August to round out the Union’s scoring.
Even with Warren Creavalle fit and available, Jim Curtin named an unchanged starting XI from last week’s draw in Vancouver.
Philadelphia started the stronger of the two teams with good opportunities for Chris Pontius and Fabian Herbers inside the opening eight minutes.
The Union’s strong start led to their opening goal of the season in the 11th minute. Haris Medunjanin did well to find Pontius with a lovely diagonal pass to the left corner of the box. Pontius flipped his header into the path of striker Jay Simpson, who dove at the ball to push it past Clint Irwin.
Philadelphia had a great opportunity to double their lead in the minute. Medunjanin moved quickly from a free kick just inside the Toronto half with Herbers getting behind the Toronto back line. Left center back Nick Hagglund got a big chunk of Herbers as both went up for the ball and tugged the Union winger to the ground on the edge of the area. Referee Mark Geiger looked to his assistant for help and eventually pointed to the spot for a Union penalty kick. Alejandro Bedoya went for power, firing a hard shot to Clint Irwin’s right that hit square off the crossbar and bounced out.
Toronto equalized just before the stroke of halftime through Jozy Altidore. Oguchi Onyewu fouled Sebastian Giovinco 30 yards from the Union goal,* forcing the Toronto man off the field with a leg injury. From the ensuing free kick, Jones was adjudged to have pulled back Altidore in the box and Geiger immediately pointed to the spot. Altidore fired his shot into the right side of the Union goal with Andre Blake sprawled the other way.
Jozy Altidore had a great chance to give Toronto the lead in the 56th minute. The American striker broke through the Union back line with the ball and was one on one with Blake. The Union goalkeeper did incredibly well to make himself big and save the shot with his feet.
Toronto took the lead in the 71st minute. A free kick from just inside the Union half caught Keegan Rosenberry napping as Justin Morrow ran in behind down the Toronto left. The wingback had time to settle and take two touches toward goal before finishing from a bad angle past Blake.
The lead was short lived, however, as Sapong brought the Union level again in 73rd minute. Fabian Herbers showed great patience on the ball as he drove down the center of the pitch, waiting for Sapong to get free. Herbers was eventually able to release the striker who made a perfectly timed run behind the Toronto back line. The striker still had plenty to do with Irwin charging out, but he remained calm on the ball, pushing it around the Toronto goalie and finishing into the empty net.
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Oguchi Onyewu, Keegan Rosenberry, Derrick Jones, Haris Medunjanin, Fabian Herbers (Fafa Picault 78′), Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius (Roland Alberg 89′), Jay Simpson (C.J. Sapong 29′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Ken Tribbett, Warren Creavalle
Clint Irwin, Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Tsubasa Endoh (Chris Mavinga 85′), Armando Cooper (Jonathan Osorio 77′), Justin Morrow, Sebastian Giovinco (Tousaint Ricketts 45+2′), Jozy Altidore
Unused subs: Alexander Bono, Marco Delgado, Raheem Edwards, Jay Chapman
PHI: Jay Simpson — 11′ (Chris Pontius, Haris Medunjanin)
TOR: Jozy Altidore — 45+2′ (penalty)
PHI: Justin Morrow — 71′ (Michael Bradley)
TOR: CJ Sapong — 73′ (Fabian Herbers)
TOR: Eriq Zavaleta — 52′ (Unsporting behavior)
PHI: Fabian Herbers — 53′ (Unsporting behavior)
TOR: Armando Cooper — 57′ (Unsporting behavior)
|Philadelphia Union||Toronto FC|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||1|
|48.5%||Duels Won %||51.5%|