CHESTER, Pa. – Two of the league’s best goalscorers did what they do best Saturday at PPL Park.
After Toronto FC’s Robert Earnshaw scored his fifth goal of the season, the Philadelphia Union’s Jack McInerney netted a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer as Toronto and Philly settled for a 1-1 draw.
It was the fourth goal of the year for McInerney, who found the back of the net just minutes after he had a goal disallowed for interfering with Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
Bendik was outstanding all game for Toronto (1-2-3), finishing with nine saves, including a monster stop on Antoine Hoppenot on a final-minute breakaway to preserve the tie.
Earnshaw, who’s now tied with the LA Galaxy’s Mike Magee for the league lead in goals with five, scored in the 71st minute when he got behind the Union defense on a long ball from Ashtone Morgan and chipped it over Philly goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Following Earnshaw’s goal, the Union (2-2-2), who controlled play for much of the game, threw numbers forward and inserted new Designated Player Kléberson into the match in the 79th minute in place of defender Ray Gaddis.
But despite nearly scoring on a deflected shot in the 87th minute, the Brazilian standout, making his MLS debut, could not find the equalizer for his new club.
Things got hairy for Toronto when Morgan was sent off for his second yellow in the 88th minute but, aside from McInerney’s goal, Bendik managed to slow down Philly’s late onslaught, making a big save on Conor Casey in stoppage time.
Bendik was sharp from the start of the game. In the 27th minute, he made two big saves, first on Casey and then on a close-range rebound attempt from Danny Cruz. One minute later, McInerney won a header on a Casey cross but it went over the bar.
Toronto’s best first-half scoring chance came minutes before the halftime whistle when captain Darren O’Dea’s put a good head on a Luis Silva free kick.
The Union finished the first half with five attempts on goal and three shots on target, and kept the pressure on after coming out of the locker room.
But Bendik made a couple more big saves on Keon Daniel and then Casey in the 54th minute to keep the game scoreless.
In the 69th minute for Philly, a nice combo play between Casey, second-half sub Michael Farfan, McInerney and Sébastien Le Toux ended with a Le Toux shot from the center of the box that sailed high.
Saturday’s game marked the first time all season Philly’s three top strikers – Casey, McInerney and Le Toux – started together.
Former Union fan favorite and franchise original Danny Califf did not play for Toronto but got a standing ovation from Philly fans when he ran to the Toronto bench before the game began.
Toronto midfielder Ryan Richter – a Philadelphia-area native who played for the Union in 2011 but never got into a game – made his MLS debut when he entered the game in the seventh minute following an injury to Darel Russell.
The Union are back in action next Sunday, April 21, at D.C. United, while Toronto return home next Saturday, April 20, to face the Houston Dynamo.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Joe Bendik||A statement game from TFC's No. 1 goalkeeper. Kept the Union from blowing the game wide open.|
|2||Jack McInterney||Questionable call denied him one goal, but he got the late equalizer anyway. His star continues to rise.|
|3||Conor Casey||Picked over Robert Earnshaw because he was far more effective thoughout 90 minutes, despite a scoreless day.|