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Jay Simpson, C.J. Sapong help Union fight to draw against Toronto FC in home opener

(UPDATED: 8:24 p.m.)

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. -- The field may have been frozen but the goalscorers weren't.

C.J. Sapong and Jay Simpson scored but Jozy Altidore and Justin Morrow countered, as the Union tied Toronto FC, 2-2, on a frigid Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.

"It's a game that had a little bit of everything," said Union manager Jim Curtin, whose club is 0-0-2 on the year. "I thought the first 45 minutes was some of the best soccer we've played in a while, maybe ever."

The pinnacle of that impressive first half happened in the 10th minute when Simpson opened the scoring. Haris Medunjanin's right-footed cross into the box was centered off of the head of Chris Pontius and toward the top of the crease. From there, Simpson cleaned up the loose ball with a low header that trickled just inside the left post for the 1-0 Union lead.

The gritty effort was Simpson's first MLS goal and the Union's first goal of the 2017 season. But the celebration wouldn’t last for Simpson, who left the game in the 28th minute with a rib injury and trouble breathing. He was replaced by Sapong.

"It's tough to have your home debut come with a goal and then also be in the hospital right now," Curtin said. "But the feedback we're getting is positive in terms of the injury."

The match nearly turned for the Union in the 32nd minute, when Medunjanin launched a ball in the direction of streaking Fabian Herbers, who managed to split the defense. In attempting to keep him from the ball, Nick Hagglund twisted Herbers to the ground for the penalty kick.

However, Alejandro Bedoya's healthy attempt from the spot beat Clint Irwin but rang hard off the crossbar.

"It's not the first or last penalty missed," Bedoya said. "But I apologized to the team. I think at 2-0, we had them. The way we were playing, it could have been a totally different game."

That miss would haunt the Union at the half. Oguchi Onyewu collided with Sebastian Giovinco to earn a foul call, and on the ensuing free kick, Derrick Jones was nabbed for tripping up Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore in the box, sparking the Toronto FC the penalty kick. 

"I thought it was just a makeup call for them," Bedoya said.

Unlike his U.S. Men's National Team teammate Bedoya, Altidore buried his attempt down the middle to tie the game at the half, 1-1. Giovinco was subbed at halftime for Tosaint Ricketts.

"He's OK," said Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney. "He's sore. It was a contusion on the IT band around the side of the leg."

Toronto FC, now 0-0-2, gained the 2-1 lead in the 71st minute on a Justin Morrow goal, but the Union countered. Just two minutes after Morrow's goal, Sapong split the TFC defensive line with a pass from Herbers and deked Irwin before placing it in the empty net.

"I just wanted to make sure I was on onside and wanted to keep the defenders guessing," Sapong said. "We had a lot of options going forward, I just tried to make the defenders make a move."