|TORONTO FC||0||1||1||Earnshaw 71'|
|Red Cards||Morgan 88'|
Farfan for Cruz 63
Hoppenot for Le Toux 73'
Kléberson for Gaddis 79'
Richter for Russell 7'
Osorio for Silva 73'
Bostock for Earnshaw 86'
There's a few certain truths when any team goes into Philadelphia: you go there for awesome awesome cheesesteaks (Pat's...can't go wrong there), and you're usually in for a rough ride. But when even the referee loses the plot, it just turns into a really bad draft of the worst Rocky movie of them all, except you replace the ring with PPL Park, and Rocky with the Union.
Still, after a game where the Union dominated possession and somehow Robert Earshaw was able to fire TFC into the lead in the 71st minute, only to have the two extra points taken away by a Jack McInerney strike in the 3rd minute of second half added time, there's bound to be some mixed emotions for sure. Some might see it as an opportunity lost for a win, while others might see it as a road result ground out thanks to the heroics of Joe Bendik.
Danny Califf, the former Union captain, was on the bench for this one -- Gale Agbossoumonde earning a second straight start in his place in a Darren O'Dea-led defence alongside Ashtone Morgan and fan favourite Darel Russell. It all seemed a bit shaky, and it just got worse seven minutes in when Russell was taken off after an injury, which brought on new signee (and Philly native) Ryan Richter in his place. It didn't seem like a great idea at first, but somehow it just got better.
But as the game went on, it seemed it only got worse for referee Sorin Stoica. A terrible challenge by Danny Cruz on Ashtone Morgan in the 35th minute, 'challenging for a header' by simply jumping right into Morgan, only garnered a yellow when red should have been the correct answer...but more on Stoica later. By that time the Union was in possession for a majority of the time, but TFC had its looks at goal with no chance coming closer than a 45th minute header from O'Dea deep in Philly territory off a Luis Silva free kick that should have made it 1-0 Toronto. The home side would have five shots on goal in the first, and kept on going in the second half -- it was the heroics of Bendik keeping TFC in it.
Bendik had come up big a few times in the first half, and a combination of his work and Philly unable to hit the goal saved the Reds' blushes. Two saves in the 27th minute, and a trio in the 54th made some question if he was human, and TFC took advantage with their first shot on target, Robert Earnshaw running behind the defence onto an Ashtone Morgan long ball and once again finishing clinically.
But that is where the carnage would begin with the referee: Stoica stayed clear of a 60th minute handbags session, and as the Union desperately tried to find an equalizer (Cruz had been subbed off by coach John Hackworth in the 63rd minute, possibly saving them from a 10-man situation), they turned into the turned Chester Park Bullies (reminiscent of a certain 70s Philadelphia hockey team from a wide thoroughfare, which sums it up pretty well). The cards naturally came flying hard...but for some reason, at TFC instead of the Union. Morgan would be shown a second yellow card in the 87th minute, when jumping for a ball he was judged to have hed with his arm into a Philly head, a very harsh decision which put the Reds short a man. There was 5 minutes of stoppage time called (which ended up going over 7) and that's when Jack McInerney would find the equalizer, left unchecked where Morgan would have been if he hadn't been given his walking papers.
The Union's Hoppenot would have a chance to seal a victory in the last minute of stoppage, but once again Bendik would come up big to seal the draw -- and TFC supporters were allowed to take a breath after an ugly match that the referee pretty much lost control of, something that has become a trend lately, something which the MLS Professional Referees Organization will have to answer for sooner or later -- how can so many referees be so far out of their depth for a first division match?
As for TFC, with six points in six games and a home date against Houston next weekend coming up, the task isn't going to get any easier with all these dropped points -- bad referees or not. There has to be a way to stop conceding these late goals, and if Nelsen has any ideas we supporters and writers are definitely all ears. Because after 6 seasons of it, and now becoming a trend again in the 7th, it's one thing we'd definitely wouldn't mind seeing the back of!
* * *
WTR'S GOLDEN TROPHIES/KICKS TO THE GROIN...
|Kick to the Groin: Sorin Stoica
||How do you lose control of a match so spectacularly?
|Golden Trophy: Joe Bendik
||Is this guy even human?!?
|Kick to the Groin: Bad Luck
||15x costing TFC a win or draw. Screw you.|
|Kick to the Groin: Danny Cruz
||You're lucky you weren't sent off.|
| Golden Trophy: Luis Silva
||Proved once again a true star in the making.|
|Shots on Goal||18||6|
|Shots on Target||13||2|
|Passing Accuracy (%)||69||59|