TFC's unbeaten streak is over

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

The streak is over.

Sebastien Le Toux converted a penalty kick past Stefan Frei in extra time to give the Philadelphia Union a stunning, but well-deserved, 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon.

It had appeared another less-than-stellar effort from TFC would result in another decent result, but Maxsim Usanov’s hand-ball made Chad Barrett’s late equalizer meaningless.

As a result, Toronto’s unbeaten streak has ended at eight games.

The game was played in blisteringly hot conditions in front of 17,221 fans at PPL Park in Philadelphia. The humidex hit the mid-40s and slowed the action to a crawl for much of the proceedings.

Neither side mustered much in the first half, but Philadelphia, led by the explosive Le Toux, was slightly more dangerous.

Philadelphia should have opened the scoring in added time following the first 45 minutes of play. In all alone, Le Toux set up Jordan Harvey who nudged a sliding attempt off the far post seconds before the whistle brought the half to a close. Jordan scored in Toronto’s 2-1 win in May.

The visitors clearly were not pleased with their play in the first half. In an interview with CBC, defender Dan Gargan lamented the subpar start.

“It was a pretty poor first 45, our work rate isn’t there, we have a lot to improve on for the second half,” Gargan said.

The second half indeed did bring some improvement, but not enough.

Philadelphia finally broke the deadlock when Le Toux’s 61st-minute corner kick was headed in beautifully by Michael Orozco Fiscal, who was left unmarked by Nick Garcia. It was Fiscal’s first MLS goal and just the second goal conceded by the Reds in the past five matches.

Not much offence followed for either side and a listless TFC looked dead in the water, until one play changed everything.

In the 80th minute, Barrett headed a Gargan throw-in, shocking keeper Chris Seitz, who could only look angrily at his defence.

It was Barrett’s fifth strike of the season, but first since May 29th.

Philadelphia also blew a lead last weekend and no team in the East has surrendered more goals than the Union. But it was TFC that faltered next.

Usanov, in as a substitute thought he had made a game-saving block in front of Frei, but the only problem was it was with his hands. As a result Le Toux got a penalty kick and made no mistake.

It was the first time this season an old problem resurfaced. The team constantly gave up late goals in 2009, but this was the first outing of 2010 where a tying or winning goal was conceded in the final 15 minutes.

“We wanted three points, we were expecting three points, they were struggling, (but) credit to them,” Barrett said following the game.

Only scoring 11 goals in nine games is not nearly enough and it finally caught up to the Reds, who need to find some offence to complement their steady defence.

TFC did not get the offensive boost it anticipated when Spanish forward Mista was unable to make his debut because his international transfer agreement did not go through in time.

Five games without a marker for captain Dwayne De Rosario also has to be a major concern for TFC and head coach Preki with a busy stretch of games looming.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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