Despite another spirited effort amidst less-than-ideal circumstances, the Philadelphia Union fell 1-0 to Toronto FC in front of 17,859 fans at PPL Park on Saturday night. Sebastian Giovinco scored the lone goal off a free kick in the 34th minute, and with Union battling yet another early injury – this time to Michael Lahoud in the 5th minute – the comeback ultimately fell short.
“Another disappointing loss,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “In the second half I was proud of the effort that the guys put in. I thought that they pushed the game and they pushed the tempo. They had a couple chances that were blocked in front of goal. It’s not a lack of effort. They are working very hard.”
Early on, Lahoud went down with a right quad strain that forced him off the field barely after the opening whistle. It forced Jim Curtin to make a first-half substitute for the third time this year. In his place was Richie Marquez, who was making his MLS debut.
“Athletically, he can compete at this level – there’s no question,” Curtin said. “It was a good performance from him. I think he showed he belongs in the league and I think he was a bright spot tonight.
Marquez, the No. 44 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, has been a fixture in the 18 for much of the year, but it was the first the central defender had been called into action. Paired with Ethan White, the Union defense allowed just three shots on target – tied for the second fewest the team has allowed all year.
“Obviously it was exciting,” Marquez said. “I mean I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for quite a while now. But at the end of the day, I was just trying to do my job. With the coaches believing in me and the players believing in me – it was just disappointing to not get the win. That’s mainly what I’m focusing on, is a win and building from there. “
But it was Giovinco’s goal that was the difference. Expertly taken from about 40 yards out, the Italian striker got it up and over the wall before it was sent past a diving John McCarthy. It was his fourth goal of the season.
McCarthy, who made his fifth start of the season did all he could to keep the Union in the game including an excellent save on Robbie Findley in the 23rd minute. Findley was in alone right on the edge of the 6-yard box, but his attempt was saved by McCarthy’s right hand.
The Union weren’t without chances, though. Fernando Aristeguieta had a chance in the 27th minute off of a ball played in by Cristian Maidana, but Aristeguieta’s header was just high. Maidana then hit the crossbar in the only minute of stoppage time in the first half.
The Union thought they found the equalizer in the 79th minute when Aristeguieta headed a ball past Toronto keeper Chris Konopka. However, the sideline official ruled it offside.
“We’re not catching any breaks right now,” Curtin said. “And we haven’t had the quality that we would like on the final ball and the final run in the box to get on the end of something. It’s tough times right now, for sure. The group is doing their best to stick together.
With the loss, the Union fall to 1-6-3 on the season. They will return to action next Saturday when they travel to take on Vancouver Whitecaps on May 9. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. eastern.
Philadelphia Union 0, Toronto FC 1
TFC - Sebastian Giovinco 34’ HIGHLIGHT http://bit.ly/1OPDe9V
TFC- Nick Hagglund 43´
PHI- Ray Gaddis 56´
Union head coach Jim Curtin: http://bit.ly/1QZmaNq
Union defender Ethan White: http://bit.ly/1GPRUie
Union forward Fernando Aristeguieta and defender Richie Marquez: http://bit.ly/1bP6M5y
MATCH DAY STATS
UNION STARTING XI
John McCarthy, Ethan White, Maurice Edu (c), Sheanon Williams (Conor Casey 66´), Raymon Gaddis, Andrew Wenger (Sebastian Le Toux 54´), Eric Ayuk Mbu, Zach Pfeffer, Michael Lahoud (Richie Marquez 5´), Cristián Maidana, Fernando Aristeguieta.
Unused subs: Fabinho, Jimmy McLaughlin, Fred, Andre Blake.
TORONTO FC STARTING XI
Chris Konopka, Damien Perquis, Ashtone Morgan, Justin Morrow, Nich Hagglund, Micheal Bradley (c), Jackson (Warren Creavalle, 71´), Robbie Findley (Collen Warner, 76´), Benoit Cheyrou, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco (Eriq Zavaleta 89´).
Unused subs: Quillan Roberts, Luke Moore, Daniel Lovitz, Jonathan Osorio.
Armando Vilarreal (referee), Corey Parker (assistant), Kyle Longville (assistant), Robert Sibiga (fourth).