Play-by-Play Plus: Observations from a frustrating day against Toronto and a look ahead to D.C. United

The latest column from Union play-by-play man JP Dellacamera

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Despite clearly being the better side on Saturday, the Philadelphia Union managed a single point in a 1-1 draw versus visiting Toronto FC.

Truth be told, even though they were far better than Toronto, the team most likely would have lost all three points, had Toronto's young left back Ashtone Morgan not taken a foolish second yellow card that put his team a man down in the closing minutes.

On a day when the Union had the following edgewise statistically…

  • 18-6 shot attempts
  • 10-2 shots on target
  • 8-0 corner kicks
  • 63.4-36.6 percent ball possession

…it still didn't add up to a win, like you would expect after reading those stats.

For Toronto, Joe Bendik had a career game in goal for Toronto. He made nine saves on the day, taking at least four sure goals away from the Union. It was as good a goalkeeping performance as I have seen from a visiting goalkeeper in this fourth season of Union soccer.

On the plus side for the Union, Conor Casey worked hard all game long, playing a full 90 and leading the club with seven shots, including three on goal. Jack McInerney came 

through again with a game-tying goal, among his four shots, in 90 minutes of work.

Off the bench, Antoine Hoppenot provided another spark, nearly coming up with the game winner in stoppage time.

We also saw in 11 minutes, the vision and the skill of Brazilian midfielder Kleberson. Even though he barely knows his teammates, let alone the league, you could see the quality in the way he read the game, and on each touch that he had.

If the club can generate as many quality chances on Sunday at D.C. United, you would think they might get a better result. United has struggled all season, winning just once in six games, sitting at the bottom of MLS’ Eastern Conference.

They have lost three straight games, including two at home. Injuries for sure have been a factor, but when you score just twice in six games, it's not a recipe for winning. Allowing seven goals in six games isn't bad, as long as you are also averaging at least one goal per game on offense.

Read: Series history: Union-D.C. United

Former Union players Carlos Ruiz and Lionard Pajoy are members of this 2013 D.C. United roster, but as always the player to watch is Dwayne DeRosario. When healthy (which has not been the case for much of this season) De Rosario is one of the top players in the game. He and Chris Pontius are the two players the Union must pay close attention to on Sunday.

Sunday's game from Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium can be seen at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.