BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY The Union had the edge in last night’s road game in Toronto until a double-flail in the 34th minute. Captain Danny Califf was red-carded, probably the silliest red card I’ve ever seen. He sent a soft backpass to goalie Chris Seitz, then tried to prevent the Toronto forward from pressuring the keeper by raising an arm to block him off. The Toronto player (de Guzman) flopped to the ground and out came the red card. The foul was elbowish (I just made that word up), and it was lazy. But there was no force behind it and no malice, and as such not red card-worthy, in my book. With the Union down to 10 men, they faced a free kick from about 28 yards away. Dwayne De Rosario fired a tame shot right at Seitz, who let it hit him in the hand, inadvertently shepherding it into the goal. A real howler (soccer term meaning “the goalie fucked up”). I mean it was right to him. If he’d closed his eyes when the ball was struck it would have caromed off him; he really had to make an effort to allow that goal.
The Union could have rolled over from there, down a goal and down a man. But instead they carried the play to Toronto and got an equalizer at the end of the half. It was a great ball in from Roger Torres, a fantastic first touch from Jordan Harvey and a good finish. A tie at halftime was the least the Union deserved. Philadelphia started brightly in the second half, but soon Toronto’s manpower advantage proved decisive, as they spent long periods of play in the Union end and created all of the chances. Toronto had a good penalty shout on the hour mark and in the 80th minute they got their penalty, on another mistake from Seitz. The keeper came way out of his goal when he didn’t need to, then brought down the man and missed the ball, a clear penalty. De Rosario buried it and Toronto took all three points. The Union looked excellent in the first half, before and after the red card, but my gut tells me part of the reason for this is that Toronto are absolute gash. It would have been a very different game if not for Califf’s moment of madness. That makes two red cards in three games for Philadelphia defenders, plus two goaltending gaffes and a penalty given away. That’s five crushing mistakes, and despite them the Union have three points and almost had more. A tough result, but from what I saw the Union are a better team than Toronto FC.