The Philadelphia Union went into tonight's game against Toronto FC at BMO Field with positive momentum after a win over D.C. United, but that momentum came to a halt in the 33rd minute when captain Danny Califf was issued a red card.
Califf was sent off when he stuck his arm out and hit TFC midfielder Julian De Guzman in the head and referee Bardomelo Toledo thought it was enough to earn a red.
For the second time in three games, the Union would have to play with ten men for more than a half. With their defensive leader now gone, the Union faltered throughout the game to make defensive stops when it mattered the most.
The result of Califf's sending off was a free kick outside the box for TFC and Dwayne De Rosario took it and it looked like a easy save for Union keeper Chris Seitz, until Seitz lost control of the ball and it rolled to the back of the net.
Another Seitz error gave TFC a penalty kick in the 80th minute. Seitz came out to try and stop O'Brian White from scoring, but Seitz ended up clipping White's feet on his dive and gave up the penalty.
De Rosario then netted his second goal of the game from the penalty spot and gave TFC the 2-1 advantage that they would hold until the final whistle.
There were some bright spots for the Union on offense tonight. Before Califf's sending off the offense was flowing, certainly not as good as last week but enough to hold the game level at 0-0. The Union did however recover after the first De Rosario goal, by tying the game at one goal apiece right before the halftime whistle.
After a good string of passes, Roger Torres found Jordan Harvey coming down the left side and Harvey struck the ball past TFC goalie Stefan Frei. Torres had another impressive performance in midfield but did not have a real chance to utilize his full talents after being taken off in the 55th minute for defender Shavar Thomas.
The Union visit Red Bull Arena for the first time next Saturday and will need to cope with the loss of Califf for a match, because of suspension and will need to sure up the back line.
Juan Pablo Angel and company will run right through the defense if the problem is not solved and what looked like a promising start could turn to a disappointing 1-3 start very quickly.