CHESTER, Pa. - It looked like 10-man Toronto FC would hang on late to earn a franchise first road win in Philadelphia.
But Ryan Nelsen's team conceded late into stoppage time, settling for a 1-1 road draw after Jack McInerney cancelled out Robert Earnshaw's 71st minute goal.
"I suppose for the neutrals it was entertaining," Nelsen said Saturday. "It had everything. Unfortunately we couldn't hold on, but I think the decision, the sending off, was a major factor for us."
In a dramatic finish, left back Ashtone Morgan was sent off in the 88th minute after picking up his second yellow card. Referee Sorin Stoica made the call after it appeared that Morgan inadvertently caught Sheanon Williams in the head on an aerial clash 10 yards outside the Toronto box.
"It was a very inexperienced decision by the referee," the Toronto manager continued. "The guy's looking at the ball, he's going up, he's going to head it, and nothing happened. Again it was just showing real lack of experience. I supposed that's what happens."
Toronto moved to six points and a 1-2-3 record with the result. It's only the second time the team has earned a point in four total games at PPL Park.
"That's our character," said goalkeeper Joe Bendik explained. "If you look at all of the games we've played in this year we've fought back or we've held on to something. That's the way this team is moving."
Earnshaw's goal, his fifth of the year, came against the run of play. A Zac MacMath goal kick fell to Morgan, who played a direct long ball back into the Union half of the field. Earnshaw's sublime first touch took him between the Philadelphia centre backs and into the box, where he was able to clip a left footed shot beyond MacMath.
"I just saw it early," Earnshaw said. "I thought, if they miss this (clearance), then I'm going to be in on goal. I just tried to gamble and see the play before it happened, so I'm thankful that it went through and I was able to finish it."
The visitors weathered numerous attacks by Union (2-2-2), with Bendik doing well to palm away a deflected Kleberson effort before a disallowed McInerney goal in the 88th minute.
But the Philadelphia striker got his fourth of the year just a few minutes later.
Williams' long throw was cleared by Jeremy Hall, but a scuffed shot from Sebastien Le Toux fell to McInerney for the easy tap in.
Still, it was the late heroics of Bendik that kept Philadelphia from finding a second goal.
After the equalizer, he stoned substitute Antoine Hoppenot on a clear breakaway chance with just 90 seconds left in the game. Bendik had nine saves on the day with six coming in the second half.
"He was incredible. He really kept us in it," Earnshaw said. "And it's crucial for us, because as a team we all have to do our jobs and do the right things and play extremely well for us to win, which he did that today. Unfortunately we didn't get the win because of the goal right at the end, but he had an incredible game today."