CHESTER, PA- The Philadelphia Union continued on their misfourtunes on Saturday as Toronto FC defeated the Union 1-0 in front of the home crowd at PPL Park. "Another disappointing loss," said head coach Jim Curtin after the game. "We had that injury [to Michael Lahoud] in the 5th minute, [and] Toronto sat back with their block of eight. The tempo was too slow for us in the first half."
The first five minutes didn't start well for the Union. In the fifth minute, Michael Lahoud left the game with an injury and was replaced by Richie Marquez, who was making his first MLS appearence. The Union would control possession for most of the first half, but could not find the back of the net.
The closest chance for goal came at the 25th minute with a header from Fernando Aristeguieta, who was nearly alone in the box and headed the ball just over the crossbar. The Union haded forward like aircraft in formation before Eric Ayuk sent the ball inside, and Cristian Maidana looped a ball into the box to the unmarked Aristeguieta, but as he looked to add pace to his header he could only float the ball harmlessly over the bar.
In the 34th minute via a free kick, Toronto would open up the scroring from Sebastien Giovinco who laced one right past keeper John McCarthy to give them a 1-0 lead. It's the latest in a line of golazos for Giovinco, who has four goals on the season, tied with Jozy Altidore as Toronto's leading scorer. This strike was a sublime one, although any goalkeeper will be disappointed to be beaten from 35 yards out, and McCarthy will be especially disappointed given that he got a hand to the ball.
In the 45th mintute, it would be the crossbar deflecting a shot from Cristian Maidana to close out the half. After a ball over Toronto's back four found Maidana in space, he had a hard time bringing the ball down under control and was forced to strike the ball on the half volley. This is one of the most difficult skills in football, but he executed it to perfection and his swerving strike ha stand-in Toronto keeper Chris Konopka beaten all ends up only to have the bar come to his rescue.
In the second half, the Union would create some chances in the box, but Toronto would make nice work from preventing any chance of a goal. Finally, it appeared that Philadelphia had found its equalizer in the 77th minute off a set piece. Maidana whipped in a superb ball which picked out the head of Aristeguieta, and he glanced the ball on into the net. However, half a dozen Toronto players immediately turned to the referee asking for offside only to see that his flag was already up. It was the correct decision, but thinking you have scored an equalizer only to see it disallowed must be difficult for a team attempting to claw its way back into a game. The Union would not come close to scoring again, and lost their third match in a row. "Its not a lack of effort, they are working very hard and we're just not catching any breaks right now," said a frustrated Curtin after the break. If Philadelphia maintain any hopes of a playoff berth, they need to begin creating their own luck, and soon.