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Post-game: Union 2-1 Toronto

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F_n71ODpo4[/youtube]

Toronto FC came in to Chester on an eight-game unbeaten streak. They can go home without it.

Philadelphia Union knocked off Toronto  2-1 on Saturday thanks to a stoppage time penalty kick scored by Sebastien Le Toux.

Cristian Arrieta and Jack McInerney set up the climactic play, with Arrieta sending in a curling cross from the right side. Maksim Usanov headed it down, but it didn’t get far. McInerney grabbed the rebound  and blasted a shot on goal, only to have Usanov stop it with his hand and prompt the penalty call. Le Toux sent his PK upper right. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei guessed right and went the same but didn’t have a chance, and it was over.

It was a hard-fought, evenly matched game. The Union went up 1-0 in the 61st minute after Michael Orozco Fiscal headed in a corner kick from Le Toux. Chad Barrett equalized for Toronto in the 81st when Philadelphia native Dan Gargan put a throw deep into the box and Barrett went up for the header among three Union defenders.

Prospective signing Eduardo Coudet never made an appearance.

Other than that, a few things stood out:

Danny Califf and Amobi Okugo go up for a header. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

  • Amobi Okugo looked really good – until the Barrett goal.

Okugo played well against Celtic and earned the start today, and he put in 80 good minutes. The 19-year-old rookie defensive midfielder made some good tackles and consistently and calmly held possession and passed away from pressure. Real good showing, until the Barrett goal, for which he gets partial blame.

  • Look at the pretty throw-in going over our heads … and into the net.

Three Union players watched Gargan’s throw-in go into the middle, each in position to make a play, and none leaped for the ball. Okugo was in front. Midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi saw the play coming low and stepped down from further up in the box. Orozco was behind Barrett. None of the three left their feet for the ball. Ouch.

  • The back line continues to shift around, and now it’s happening in-game.

After Arrieta picked up a yellow card in the 48th minute, he moved from left center back to right back, swapping spots with Orozco. The move made sense, as center backs (and defensive midfielders) are often more likely to pick up cards than anyone on the field. Arrieta made it look like a good move with some good crosses from the right side. Despite a poor stretch in June, he’s still a natural right back.

  • Alejandro Moreno’s not back yet, and Danny Mwanga’s hot streak looks over.

Moreno subbed out early again, and he doesn’t seem back to full speed after his injury. Maybe it’s the absence of his effective hold-up play that’s rendered Mwanga somewhat invisible the last two games, or perhaps it’s a lack of fitness. Peter Nowak’s decision to send in Andrew Jacobson for Mwanga right after the equalizer was telling.

  • Either Nowak is MLS’s answer to Bill Belichick, or MLS injury reports may have more value as toilet paper.

Moreno was listed as “OUT” on the official league injury report, but he started. Shea Salinas wasn’t listed on the injury report prior to the San Jose game, but he didn’t start because of an injury and sat out today. Kyle Nakazawa disappeared from the starting lineup one day and appeared on the injury report later. Lucky I don’t bet on soccer games.

Danny Mwanga on the attack against Julian de Guzman. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

Player ratings

Chris Seitz: 4

Seitz wasn’t asked to do much Saturday, and he didn’t. Nearly stopped Barrett’s shot – but didn’t.

Jordan Harvey: 6

Harvey looked really good attacking down the left side and is pushing up more and more. Nearly scored on a sliding shot that hit the post. Made some good tackles. Easily the Union’s steadiest player.

Cristian Arrieta: 5

Hit some dangerous crosses in the second half, including one that led to the game-winner. Nearly gave up a goal in the first half when he missed an errant pass from Miglioranzi. He lived dangerously by continuing to go in with some hard, risky tackles despite having a yellow card, but in the end, they were clean.

Danny Califf: 8

Califf may have saved three goals. He bailed out Arrieta and Miglioranzi by tracking back to challenge Barrett after Miglioranzi’s errant back pass. Califf’s smart header back to Seitz set up a clearance on a near-breakaway, and a key block stopped another shot. Consistently headed balls out to send back Toronto’s attack. Great game.

Michael Orozco: 6

Scored a beautiful goal and gave up an ugly one. He has to share some of the blame for Toronto’s goal. Otherwise, solid game.

The ref points to the spot on Maksim Usanov's penalty. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

Stefani Miglioranzi: 4

His poor pass to Arrieta nearly gifted a goal, and he stood watching while Barrett scored his. Played a decent game otherwise, but those were key plays.

Fred: 5

Consistently found the ball and held onto it. Had some nice short passing with Okugo to maintain possession. Still hesitates too often when in position to shoot, though he did put one shot somewhere into the River End.

Amobi Okugo: 6

See above. He’s showing he can play in MLS after all. Looking like a keeper who will only get better. His clumsy baby steps of spring seem gone in summer.

Sebastien Le Toux: 8

Le Toux hustled and hustled and hustled all day. His pressure on Frei forced the goalkeeper to, on a routine clearance, kick the ball out of bounds to his side when a misstep left him with Le Toux in his face. Created plays on the attack with clever passing and was dangerous throughout. Showed why he deserves an all-star spot. His corner kicks, however, were often too low or off the mark. Orozco’s score wasn’t due to great service.

Alejandro Moreno: 4

See above. Something’s missing. He’s still hurt. Had little impact, other than a clever throw-in to Le Toux near the goal that almost set up a Harvey goal.

Michael Orozco, Danny Califf and Sebastien Le Toux celebrate a goal vs. Toronto. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

Substitutes

Jack McInerney: 6

Union Jack came in with a ton of energy and played with confidence and creativity. Shows no fear on the field, as his stoppage time shot showed.

Andrew Jacobson: n/a

Entered in the 82nd minute. Hustled but didn’t get a chance to do much.

Nick Zimmerman: n/a

One day, maybe he’ll get a chance to come into a regular season game before the 80th minute.

Next match: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., vs. Manchester United at Lincoln Financial Field

3 Comments

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