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Playing Out The Strings: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union started Andrew Wenger at left back, but it was the other defenders looking poorly in defeat.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

With nothing to play for and nothing to look forward to, a recently devastated Philadelphia Union team made the trip up north to Toronto and got the result many fans expected. The Union were lifeless for a large portion of the match leading to them suffering a thoroughly deserved 3-1 loss to begin the final month of the season.

The first half went by with the Philadelphia Union not registering a single shot. Not just zero shots on target, zero shots. It was a truly lifeless performance for the Union offense, and the defense could only hold off the Toronto attack for so long. At the top of the 28th minute, Sebastian Giovinco's free kick from the corner of the box took an unfortunate deflection off Ray Gaddis and subsequently curled its way past a helpless Andre Blake and into the net. The goal was ultimately credited to Giovinco, but Gaddis's deflection did alter the course of the ball ensuring Blake would never come close to getting his hands on the ball.

While there was nothing Blake could do to stop that Giovinco free kick, there was something he could to stop a Giovinco 24-yard free kick near the end of the first half. Giovinco's shot seemed destined to nestle itself in the upper corner of the net but Blake made an incredible diving stop to push the ball aside and prevent what appeared to be a surefire Toronto goal. Blake's strong play at the end of the first half continued at the start of the second half when he was able to push away for a corner an Altidore shot from inside the center of the box.

Blake had an overall strong game and without him the Union almost certainly lose by just two goals, but he found himself in a difficult situation in the 63rd minute. Looking to generate an opportunity, half time substitute Marco Delgado sent an appetizing cross into the box. Said cross went over Gaddis but fell perfectly for Altidore. Now alone against Blake, Altidore slotted it past a fairly helpless Blake widening the Union's deficit to 2-0.

Down 2-0 and generating absolutely nothing in the way of quality opportunities, the Union looked destined to walk away with zero goals on the night. But thanks to a fortunate free kick, that was not to be. Taking a long-range free kick, Cristian Maidana's effort found the head of Steven Vitoria in the box and Vitoria was able to flick it on goal and past former Union back-up Chris Konopka pulling the Union within a goal. It was a goal from nowhere for the centerback, and a much needed one as it gave the Union some life in a match where up to that point they had shown none.

But the following 25 minutes would show nothing of promise for Union fans. That flick from Vitoria remained the Union's only dangerous shot on target of the entire match, and any/all hope was put to rest in stoppage time following what could best be described as a comedy own goal. Michael Bradley sent a ball through to Jonathan Osorio who then sent the ball across the face of goal in an attempt to find Giovinco. However, the ball found the foot of Union centerback Richie Marquez. Seemingly good news at first, Marquez's striker instincts took over instead and he launched the ball past an unsuspecting Blake and into the net. Overcome with emotion upon realizing just what power his foot can provide, Marquez buried his head in the pitch next to a fallen Blake. Marquez's strike/blunder put Toronto up 3-1, securing defeat by that scoreline for the Union.

The Union's playing out the rest of the season will have to wait a couple weeks as their next game is not until Sunday, October 18. It is a road match against New York Red Bulls so even though the Union have nothing to really play for, perhaps they'll be excited for a road match against their New Jersey rivals. At the very least, it probably can't be much worse than this.