TORONTO – The relief was palpable.
It started with Danny Koevermans' 88th-minute goal, and it was completed with final whistle. There has been disappointment before, late mistakes, late goals. But finally Toronto FC had their elusive first league win after nine losses, the worst start to a season in MLS history.
Aside from the final score, the 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union was not unlike some their nine losses. There were their own missed chances early that on another day could have cost them a result, but in the end it was their turn to strike in the match’s dying moments.
HIGHLIGHTS: TOR 1, PHI 0
Nick Soolsma did a nice bit of work to get the ball to Koevermans at the left side of the goal, and Koevermans was there to muscle his way past third-string Philadelphia goalkeeper Chris Konopka.
Both Dutchmen were second-half substitutions and were rewarded for their efforts by being given starts in the Reserve League game with the Union that followed. Neither player has seen a lot of action since coming back from injuries.
It was not only about the goal – it was about preventing one as well. Doneil Henry, a 19-year-old who was a rock in the center of the back line with Adrian Cann, did his part in that.
"We had a lot of possession, a lot of good chances, and you knew it was coming," Henry said. "As a defender, it kind of takes the pressure off you a little bit because we were playing solid for 90 minutes. As soon as that goal went in, it was a relief."
Henry made it count with a saving tackle as the last man back in the second half. He also forced a save with a header late in the game.
"Finally we could see out a game,” Henry said, “[earn a] clean sheet, and get points."