By Jacob Singer
Toronto FC v. Philadelphia Union (4/15/2010)
Toronto FC’s winless streak came to an end Thursday night as they defeated new comers the Philadelphia Union 2-1 before a sold out crowd. Dwayne De Rosario came up with two set piece goals—a free kick in the 35th minute and a penalty in the 80th. The Union’s lone goal came from Jordan Harvey in the 45th.
The first part of the game consisted of sloppy play, bad passing, and poor positioning. The glimmer of potential came in the 10th minute when Toronto’s corner kick almost resulted in a goal, and in the following play the Union’s counter attack brought the ball all the way down the pitch. But for the most part, both teams struggled to find their best form. Blame it on new coaches, new players, or even the $3m new field, but the first half was anything but first class.
One defining quality of the match was the number of fouls, nineteen in total. Toronto’s Raivis Hscanovics slid in with cleats up and earned a yellow in the 16th minute, and Maksim Usanov earned a second yellow nine minutes later. These penalties would lead Coach Preki to make two half-time substitutions. But the penalty everyone will be talking about is when Union’s captain Danny Califf was given his marking orders for elbowing Julian De Guzman in the face. The resulting free kick led to De Rosario’s first goal, one that should’ve been stopped by Chris Seitz, who got his hands on the initial kick but ended up letting the ball roll over the goal line. This is Seitz’s first year as a starter in Major League Soccer, and it seemed nerves played a major factor in that goal. He quickly dug the ball out of the net, refocused, and moved on. That toughness of spirit will pay off throughout the season.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Harvey scored a phenomenal goal to end the first half. After a number of short quick passes, Torres chipped the ball over the defense to Harvey who brought the ball down with his first touch and quickly scored with the second. At moments like this one can envision the Union’s potential, which will grow as they settle into the season.
In the 80th minute, O’Brian White—Hermann Trophy winner—was brought down in the penalty box which led to a Toronto penalty kick and De Rosario’s second goal. In the closing minutes De Rosario almost scored a third goal, but was both off sides and rejected by the crossbar.
It was a big match for Toronto, who took advantage of set pieces to win the game and put three points on the table. If they wish to continue winning they are going to need to work on their open-field play—passing needs to be crisper, players need better vision, and defense needs cleaner tackling. As a second half substitute, White worked well as a second striker and should team up with De Rosario more often. As for the Union, Torres has joined the ranks of Le Toux as the young studs in Philly. Once Alejandro Moreno finds his form with the new team they should form into a stronger attacking team. The match could have gone either way but the Toronto Captain brought home a much needed win, which is exactly what the fans were demanding.