Coming off of yet another win in the Canadian Championship, the pointless Toronto FC's confidence was speculated about in the media and by fans online. The Canadian team's play against the Philadelphia Union showed that their nine-game run in MLS may have been a fluke, as Toronto beat the visitors 1-0 at BMO Field.
Danny Koevermans, Toronto's Designated Player striker, managed to put away a rebound off of a Chris Konopka save to put the home team ahead in the 88th minute. The former Dutch international had lamented during the week leading up to the game about how Toronto was the world's worst team, but he helped to end the team's MLS troubles with two shots on goal.
"It felt good," TFC head coach Aron Winter said of the victory at a post-game press conference.
Toronto has now led in ten MLS games for seven minutes, six coming from this game.
"I would say that I'm extremely disappointed with our performance," Union head coach Peter Nowak said to reporters after the game. "We had a couple of good games, we played the way we wanted to play, and today it was the complete opposite. We took two steps forward and three steps back. If you play this way, then sooner or later you're going to give up a goal and you're going to chase the game."
As has become common place for the Union so far this year, a lack of industrious offensive play, along with overly aggressive play from the back line, left the team without much hope against Toronto's seemingly unrelenting attack in the first half. The teams went into the tunnels with the shot totals 8-1 in Toronto's favor.
"I congratulate coach [Aron] Winter because they wanted it more," Nowak said. "They played better. They competed for every ball. They chased every ball. That’s how teams should play in this league."
Kai Herdling had his best game in Union colors, but Freddy Adu seemed to revert to his pre-New York Red Bulls game form, leaving the Union with an almost unbalanced attack during the first half.
"He needs to have the touches, the feeling for the game," Nowak said of Adu. "I think a lot of that today was missing. We need to go back to the drawing board and make sure it’s not just about the skills and the vision he has, but his work toward the team concept."
Raymon Gaddis, the Union's versatile rookie full back, was recklessly aggressive before he was substituted out of the game for Michael Lahoud in the 37th minute.
The introduction of Lahoud was surprising, but Gaddis walked off the field toward the locker rooms, bringing questions of illness or injury in regards to the reasoning behind his removal from the game.
The partnership of Danny Mwanga and Lionard Pajoy continued to lack any chemistry, as neither decided on who would come to the ball, who would create or who would make space.
While the team's tempo and offensive efforts improved toward the later parts of the second half, the additions of Josue Martinez and Antoine Hoppenot were not enough to force the Union ahead.
"We took two steps forward and three steps back," said Nowak.