CHESTER, Pa. - It was a season of loss for the Union, but they finished it off with a victory.
Sebastien Le Toux scored a first-half penalty kick and Andre Blake claimed his second career shutout, as the Union overcame red-hot Orlando City SC, 1-0, in the 2015 season finale at PPL Park.
"It was a good team effort, a good way to end what was a difficult season," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "We're not satisfied by any stretch. Thank you to the fans that supported us all year through the highs and the lows, we're happy for our guys to send them home on a high note at the end of the year."
The Union finish their troubled season at 10-17-7 and cannot finish lower than the third-overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
"We know we can do better than this," Le Toux said. "That's what is most frustrating. We had lots of mistakes that cost us lots of points in the beginning of the year. I think if we start the season better, we can maybe do something in this league. I don't think we are far away, it's just details."
Fresh off the win, Le Toux continued discussing his hope for next year.
"We say we are a young team," he said. "But maybe now we have to man up and say, ‘Hey, we're not young anymore,' and take responsibility for our mistakes. When someone doesn't step up to take his chance, someone else has to make the play. I hope next year it's going to be more of a good opportunity and not just talking about what we could have done better."
Orlando, finishing the year at 12-14-8, entered the match riding a five-game winning streak and needed a win, New England Revolution loss and to make up an eight-goal differential with the Revs to make the postseason. It didn't get any of the three.
"They're a good young team that probably wishes the season would go three more weeks because they're right in the thick of things," Curtin said. "Credit to them, but happy for our guys to end the season the right way."
Trading chances early, the Union broke the scoreless tie in the 41st minute when on a fast break, Eric Ayuk attempted a cross from the right side. While the pass was well off the mark, Le Toux was trampled from behind by Cristian Higuita, earning the Union a penalty kick.
Le Toux lined up at the spot and easily buried the chance past Josh Ford for the 1-0 Union lead. It was Le Toux's 13th career penalty-kick goal on 13 attempts.
"I'm always lucky on my penalty kicks," Le Toux said. "I work on it a little bit. I'm confident. I just hope I will keep a perfect streak for the rest of my career. I'm just glad every time I choose a side on a PK, I choose the good side and the keeper doesn't save it. I'm lucky and I hope it continues."
In the 79th minute and with the Union up by one, Blake kept Orlando off the board with a diving save to fend off a tricky Pedro Ribeiro shot. It was the best of five saves for Blake, who posted his second career shutout in six starts this season.
"It's a great feeling," Blake said. "The last couple games I let in a couple goals, and when goals go in on my I'm tough on myself. It's a great feeling to walk off the field with a shutout."