TORONTO -- You never forget your first goal.
Alejandro Bedoya grabbed his first in MLS on Saturday night as the Philadelphia Union drew 1-1 at Toronto FC.
“It feels great,” said Bedoya. “Because of the injury to Tranquillo Barnetta, I was able to play further up the field, get more in the attack.”
The strike, a thing of beauty, came on the end of a quick counterattack. Warren Creavalle forced the turnover and Bedoya led the charge, before dishing off to Fabian Herbers. With the TFC defense backing off, Herbers slipped a pass to Bedoya who spun to the outside and sailed a delicate right-footed chip over the retreating figure of Clint Irwin.
“It was just one of those goals; I even surprised myself,” smiled Bedoya. “Fabian got the ball in the middle, he was able to turn and I was able to stay onside. When I got the ball I was able to take a good touch-turn, looked up and the angle wasn’t the best to just shoot straight, so I went for the chip and it went in.”
“What he did to score that goal was pretty special,” said Brian Carroll. “I’m happy for him and happy for the work the guys put in tonight.”
Asked why he tweaked his formation, Union boss Jim Curtin said: “Toronto gave us a lot of problems in our building. We wanted to clog the middle with two defense first guys in Carroll and Creavalle."
“And then the heart of the [TFC] is Michael Bradley, he makes them go, that's no secret," said Curtin. "We knew Alejandro would be up to the task of following him all over the place, cut out the heart of their team. Lost him a couple of times, but for the most part it worked.
“Moving [Bedoya] into the 10 was two-fold: he's a defensive-minded guy, but he can also, in the transitions, be very dangerous when he runs with the ball. [We] saw him score a great goal tonight, his work defensively, was important.”
With a sumptuous goal and a statement game from Philadelphia, proving they can go toe-to-toe with the favorites at any ground, was this performance perhaps a preview of the future?
“No not really,” said Bedoya. “With [the injured] Barnetta there, he is your quality player. I would like to play further up and be more offensive-minded and get in the attack. But I like my role also, that number six or number eight, where I’m able to get the ball deeper and play passes to our attackers. My whole career I’ve been a versatile player, so I’m willing to play anywhere, whatever it takes to help the team.”