By KURTIS LARSON
TFC's impressive eight-game MLS unbeaten run came to an end Saturday night thanks to a 94th minute penalty kick from Sebastien Le Toux in Philadelphia.
Heading into stoppage time at 1-1 after Chad Barrett had pulled one back for the visitors in the 81st, a desperation cross was handled by Toronto's Maksim Usanov in the penalty area, giving the referee no choice but to provide late-game dramatics in pointing to the penalty spot.
Philly's leading scorer, Le Toux, placed the ensuing PK in the upper right hand corner, giving TFC keeper Stefan Frei no chance and giving the Union all three points for the third time in five matches.
"It was heartbreaking after playing 90 minutes," TFC's Adrian Cann told reporters. "Chad (Barrett) managed to pull one back and put us back in the game at 1-1. It's disappointing."
Union head coach, Peter Nowak, was thrilled with his team's resolve indicating his side were the more deserving at the end of the day.
"It was a fortunate reversal," Nowak said. "It was good to win the game this way and I think the better team won today. It feels good to get three points."
With sweltering temperatures approaching the upper 90s, the 17,251 on hand saw the home side take the lead shortly after the break when Le Toux whipped in a corner that was met by Michael Orozco at the front post.
In the 61st minute, Le Toux's corner found an unmarked Orozco streaking across the face of goal. The 24-year-old defender's header had to be accurate from a tough angle, but he managed to squeeze it in between TFC's Julian de Guzman and the crossbar to make it 1-1.
"We pushed and pushed and we got rewarded," Nowak said of his team following the match. "We are going to make a couple of adjustments and hope to be in good shape during the middle part of the season and going forward."
Toronto FC head coach, Preki, talked about a tale of two halves and how his team came out flat in the second.
"We had nothing in us in the second half and I don't know why," he said. "In the first half we were in full control of the game. We had no problems and our (goalkeeper) didn't touch the ball once. It was just very disappointing how we came out in the second half."
Toronto FC looked to be escaping with at least a point when Chad Barrett answered with a header of his own in the 81st minute. Barrett's fifth tally of the season came on a long-throw from Dan Gargan that found Barrett in front of goal. Barrett placed his glancing header just out of Chris Seitz's reach to the far post bringing the score to 1-1 late in the game.
"As soon as we got that goal I thought we were going to win the game," Barrett told reporters. "They had a lot of possession but were never really a threat. We didn't have a very good game and we didn't possess the ball like we should have."
The heat appeared to play a factor late in the game when multiple TFC players received on-field treatment for what appeared to be a bad spell of cramping. Forced to make multiple substitutions as result, Preki's decision to bring on a rarely used Maksim Usanov in the 84th minute would prove costly.
In the 93rd minute, Cristian Arrieta's hopeful ball was poorly dealt with by Usanov who was retreating back towards goal. His attempted header clearance glanced off his arm and a follow up shot from Jack McInerney was clearly handled in the same fashion giving the referee no choice but to give the eventual winning penalty.
Le Toux's conversion from the spot just before the full-time whistle helped Philadelphia to a 2-1 win and to avenge a 2-1 loss in Toronto earlier this year.
"We have improved a lot," Orozco said. "We are never going to stop going at teams and giving it 120 percent."