The Philadelphia Union entered BMO Field underdogs on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference. And while they did not pick up the victory they may have been able to given their first half performance, they still escaped Toronto with a point off a 1-1 draw and that remains one more point than many expected heading into the match.
The Union controlled the 1st half of the match from the start and while they were not able to score in the opening minutes, they got a lot of good looks early while preventing Toronto from getting any looks at goal, literally. At half time, all of the shots in the match belonged to the Union. Not only did Toronto at that point have zero shots on target, they had zero shots, period. There were concerns that Ken Tribbett would struggle against the Toronto attack, but early on it was Jozy Altidore struggling with Tribbett.
The Union turned their solid play into a goal in the 25th minute. Alejandro Bedoya made a great run and did excellent work to ensure he was onside when receiving a ball from Fabian Herbers. From outside the box, Bedoya executed a marvelous chip that has to be seen to be believed over Toronto FC goalkeeper Clint Irwin and into the back of the net to put the Union ahead 1-0.
Concluding the first half, the Union had a great opportunity to go up by two goals. Warren Creavalle made a fantastic play to prevent the ball from going out for an Irwin goal kick, and not only that he got off a cross into the box for C.J. Sapong. Immediately bombarded by two Toronto defenders, Sapong kicked it back up for Bedoya who played through Herbers. Despite the pass being deflected by Will Johnson, the ball did get to Herbers who successfully got a nice shot on target but Irwin made a phenomenal save to prevent the ball from going in and to keep the match 1-0 heading into half time.
Shortly following the start of the 2nd half, a Toronto turnover led to another Union chance to put themselves ahead by two. Brian Carroll may have had a look at goal, but instead of taking the shot on Irwin he passed it to Sapong. While Sapong was open though, unfortunately the pass came at a time where it forced Sapong at a tough angle for a shot and the best he was able to do with it was try his best to get it on frame and maybe win a corner out of it if it deflects off a defender. Sapong got the corner, but nothing came out of the ensuing set piece.
The Union's chances going for naught would come back to haunt them in the 70th minute. Jonathan Osorio did good work to maneuver around Keegan Rosenberry and Brian Carroll, and then he played the ball through to Justin Morrow. Morrow fired a shot across Andre Blake and into the net to even the ledger at BMO Field. Although the Union had four shots on target in the match to Toronto's two, Toronto getting a goal on one of the two was enough to equal the scoreline and take two points away from the valiant visitors in white. And while Toronto would get one more opportunity in the 87th minute, Altidore's shot struck the frame of goal. Unfortunately for the Union Altidore got his own rebound but fortunately for the Union he sent the ball harmlessly over the bar with his second opportunity, ultimately cementing the 1-1 draw following a stoppage time Toronto penalty shout that fell on deaf ears with the official.
Up next for the Union their three-match road trip concludes next Saturday with another crucial Eastern Conference match against the team many fans believe is the club's biggest rival, New York Red Bulls.