Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
There were plenty of occasions when the Philadelphia Union breached the Toronto FC defensive wall.
On every occasion but one, goalkeeper Joe Bendik was up to the challenge.
Bendik made nine saves and loomed large in goal as Toronto FC tied the Union 1-1 on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. It was a game marked by physical challenges on both sides, with 35 fouls called and nine ten cards shown, including a red.
Jack McInerney continued his run of goals by converting a loose ball in second-half stoppage time to help the Union salvage a point.
Both teams failed to find a rhythm in attack in the first half, but turnovers allowed for a rare few chances. The Union came close in the 27th minute but Bendik made a double save from close range on Conor Casey and Danny Cruz.
The game changed in the 71st minute when the Union’s defense turned off for just a moment. It was enough for Welsh forward Robert Earnshaw to beat the Union’s offside trap before chipping goalkeeper Zac MacMath for his fifth goal of the season.
The hosts brought on super-sub Antoine Hoppenot and had a debut for their new designated player signing Kleberson in the next ten minutes, searching for an elusive goal. However, Bendik continued his strong play, stopping shots from McInerney, Amobi Okugo, and Kleberson.
TFC homegrown product Ashtone Morgan was given his second yellow card and sent off in the 88th minute for a foul against Union defender Sheanon Williams. Five minutes later, after throwing everyone in the box, the Union finally leveled the score. McInerney was wide open at the far post, likely due to Morgan’s absence, and a pass from Casey was all he needed to finish into an open net and save a point for the Union.
The Union had a chance in the final moments of the match to win but Bendik once again made himself big and blocked a breakaway chance from Hoppenot, before the final whistle blew.
Here are the match highlights: