Sebastien Le Toux and Ryan Johnson struck on either side of halftime as Philadelphia and Toronto battled to a 1-1 draw that saw the Union secure a berth in the postseasonCHESTER, Pa. -- As the Philadelphia Union looked to clinch a playoff spot in their final home game on the year, Toronto FC had revenge on its mind after an embarrassing 6-2 loss at BMO Field in May. The Union were able to clinch the franchise’s first ever MLS Cup playoff spot, but did so in uneventful fashion, drawing with the Reds 1-1.
"Today is a great day for this group," Union head coach Piotr Nowak said of making the playoffs. "The hard work has paid off."
Union Captain Faryd Mondragon returned to goal after missing the previous seven games with a broken finger and looked sharped in his first game back.
"Faryd needed this game, in order to be familiar with the backline. We welcome him back," Nowak added.
The match started rather slowly, especially compared to the previously mentioned 8 goal match.
After the first 30 minutes brought no real threats, Sebastian Le Toux decided to continue his amazing 10 game stretch, as he broke the game open in the 43rd minute. Justin Mapp found him with acres of space, and the Frenchman fired home with a beautiful shot from just outside the box. Surprisingly, Toronto left the Frenchman unmarked, as he picked his spot and easily knocked in his 11th goal of the season, and his 10th in the last 10 games.
After neither side opted to make substitutions at the half, Toronto did not take long to return the favor. After Philadelphia’s Justin Mapp tepidly took a shot on goal, Toronto counterattacked successfully on the other side. Ryan Johnson cut to the middle of the field, and knocked in a Nick Soolsma pass to even up the match at 1-1 in the 57th minute. The play was orchestrated by Joao Plata, who proved a handful for the Philadelphia defense throughout the afternoon.
Neither team was able to break away from the even score, as it remained 1-1 to the final whistle.
Philadelphia closes the season with just one loss at home on the year, a 2-1 reverse to Colorado in July, as they set a PPL Park attendance record with 19,178 spectators on Saturday. Toronto continued its inconsistent play on the road, as it finishes the season with just one win away from home all season.
Philadelphia will look to enter the playoffs with a sense of momentum and possibly the top seed in the East as it closes the regular season at New York against the Red Bulls on Thursday.
"It’s good for the team to get the playoff bid," Le Toux said. "Now we can concentrate on New York and getting the top seed in the East."
Toronto will close its season at home on Saturday against New England, though it also has CONCACAF Champions League commitments as it travels to face Dallas midweek.
"We made sure to stay focused on Philadelphia this week, and are happy to get out of here to healthy," Toronto head coach Aron Winter noted. "Now we can prepare ourselves for the next game against Dallas."