There weren't many positives to take from Philadelphia Union's 1-0 loss to Toronto FC Saturday at BMO Field.
Chris Konopka's performance, however, was one of them.
With goalkeepers Zac MacMath (concussion symptoms) and Chase Harrison (sprained left ankle) out, Konopka – who hadn’t played in a league match since Aug. 13, 2011 for the New York Red Bulls in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire – stepped in and played at a very high level for the Union.
Only a goal by second half substitute Danny Koevermans in the 88th minute prevented Konopka from earning a shutout. Instead, the Union are now winless in their last five matches and fell to 2-7-2.
“It’s fantastic,” Konopka said of starting. “I got to play with New York last year, against Chicago. It’s always fun to play. On the day for myself, I thought I did alright, but we didn’t get the result.”
Konopka made six saves and thwarted numerous other chances.
“He was big time today,” said Gabriel Farfan. “I think a lot of guys who haven’t played are ready to step up when given the opportunity and he showed that today.”
Konopka showed a lot of poise, but the result went against Philadelphia again. This one stung a little more considering Toronto FC were 0-9-0 in league play entering the match.
“It’s frustrating,” Konopka said. “We come here, and I know the first half wasn’t going our way. But at the end of the day we gave up a goal in the 88th minute. I mean, when it gets that deep in a game you try to find any way to grind out a result and it’s just frustrating that we didn’t do that.”
Konopka believes the Union are capable of turning the season around.
“As a whole, we didn’t play well and didn't get the result," Konopka said. "This is a very tough place to play. Toronto has been digging and digging and digging. At 1-8 or 1-9, it doesn’t represent the way they’ve been playing. Because they’re a very good team and we knew that coming in. It wasn’t clicking for us all over the field. We couldn’t put the final pieces together. Hopefully we can get back on track. It’s a long season.”
The Union don’t play a league match until June 16 against D.C. United at PPL Park. But there isn’t much time for rest, especially with a U.S. Open Cup third-round match looming Tuesday night against the Rochester Rhinos.
Can a quick turnaround in the U.S. Open Cup help forget about the frustrating result in Toronto?
“I hope so,” Konopka said. “I think the way the result went today, hopefully some of the same guys will still be playing. Sometimes with the Open Cup, teams give other guys the chance to run. The way it is with Chase and Zac, maybe I’ll get a game as well. I’m looking forward to it at least.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Toronto FC 1, Union 0