It was a crucial three points for the Philadelphia Union as they defeated Toronto FC 1-0 at PPL Park on Wednesday night in the first of a double-header versus the Canadian outfit.
The Union would be without midfielder Vincent Nogueira as he was removed from the starting line up just before kickoff due to a suspected groin injury.
Despite Nogueria's injury, it was all Union early on as Maidana sent a probing ball to an onrushing Andrew Wenger in the 1st minute, only for Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik to close the space and make his first of many saves on the night. Wenger couldn't redirect the rebound towards goal, a problem that would continue throughout the night for the Philadelphia native.
Minutes later, Bendik would once again be called into action in the 8th minute as Sebastien Le Toux brought down a Conor Casey header, but shot straight into the hands of the Toronto FC goalkeeper. American international Michael Bradley would foul Maidana in the 14th minute, earning Philadelphia the first costless kick of the game. The costless kick would find the feet of Casey, whose shot was parried out for a corner by Bendik.
It wasn't until the 22nd minute that Toronto FC got their first chance as Sheanon Williams fouled Ashtone Morgan; however, the costless-kick wound up drifting to Zac MacMath who got his first touch of the game, filling in for number one Rais M'Bohli while he was away on international duty with Algeria.
Toronto would have a sustained period of pressure beginning when Daniel Lovitz made a run on the left and got a cross into the box but in the 24th minute, but Amobi Okugo cleared it before the Luke Moore could take a shot.
Jonathan Osorio would play Dominic Oduro into the box in the 30th minute, but MacMath came to the rescue, coming out of his box and nudging it to a defender. MacMath was trouble very little all night, but responded well when tested. Toronto would continue to pressure Philadelphia as a yellow card for a handball was given to Edu in the 33rd minute. The costless kick for Toronto, taken Bradley was blocked by a forward rushing Okugo, who broke off from the wall quickly.
Philadelphia would respond in the 35th minute as Casey headed wide of goal off of a Maidana costless kick and then again in the 42nd when Maidana looped in a cross to Wenger, however Bendik popped up to grab the header for his 4th save of the night.
Toronto would come close to finding the opener right before half time as Oduro latched onto a poor back pass from Maurice Edu in the 45th minute, but MacMath came out of his box once again to clear the ball from danger.
Despite Philadelphia having the majority of the chances, it was Toronto who had the best chance as the first half ended 0-0.
Gilberto would come on for Osorio at half time as Oduro moved out wide, and Toronto started the second half on the front foot, but Philadelphia had the first chance of the half as Le Toux found Wenger in the box only for Wenger to scuff his shot wide in the 48th minute. Philadelphia got forward, containing Bradley well, when in the 52nd minute following a corner, Wenger’s cross was hit out, and Okugo's header was kept out spectacularly by the hand of Bendik.
Following several chances, Philadelphia would get their reward in the 55th minute when Maidana played in Le Toux who in turn drove a pass into the box which was smashed in by Casey for the lone goal of the game.
Toronto would come just inches from equalizing almost immediately as Oduro cut the ball across to Gilberto whose shot was save by MacMath in the 57th minute. Philadelphia almost added a second in the 64th minute when Wenger cut in from the left, but his shot was once again saved by Bendik, who kept Toronto in the game until the very end.
Despite being well contained for much of the game, Michael Bradley would pop up in the 68th minute when he picked the ball off of Brian Carroll and shot wide, right outside the box. Things would get ugly in the 77th minute when Le Toux latched onto a bad pass on the fast break, and Morgan being the last man, took Le Toux down only to be sent off.
Things would get very nervous for Philadelphia as several instances of last ditch defending were all that kept Michael Bradley from grabbing the equalizer as he drove into the box in the 85th minute but was dispossessed by Raymon Gaddis. Then again in the 89th when Bradley hit one over the top to Gilberto, MacMath grabbed it but was temporarily hurt in the process. Philadelphia would hold on through three minutes of added time to claim their 8th win of the season.
Next up for Philadelphia, they face Toronto FC in a rematch of Wednesday night's game at BMO Field on Saturday, September 6th.