Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sporting Kansas City loses to Philadelphia

KANSAS CITY, KAN. --- Sporting Kansas City lost to the Philadelphia Union 1-0 on Friday night at Sporting Park. Conor Casey grabbed a first half goal and the Union defense held firm to snap Sporting KC's three-game winning streak.

Despite the loss, Sporting KC remains in second place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the New York Red Bulls. New York travels to Seattle on Sunday to take on Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders.

Sporting KC controlled the tempo of the match Friday night, controlling 62% of the possession and outshooting the visitors 19-8. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath made five saves on the night including three in the first half.

MacMath's first save came on a Benny Feilhaber free kick in the 14th minute. The Sporting KC midfielder curled a ball that appeared destined for the upper corner. MacMath lunged to his right and knocked away the ball before crashing into the goalpost.

The Maryland University product followed up that save with a point-blank save on Feilhaber in the 25th minute and one on Graham Zusi in the 28th minute.
The Philadelphia Union broke through against the run of play in the 36th minute. Midfielder Danny Cruz burst down the right flank and curled a ball to the backpost. Jimmy Nielsen stopped the first attempt from Michael Farfan, but Casey was in good position to finish the rebound.

Nielsen finished the match with two saves. His second came in the 63rd minute when Farfan one-timed a volley to the near post. The Danish goalkeeper reacted quickly to keep it a one-goal game.

Sporting KC continued to throw numbers forward in the final minutes but were unable to penetrate a Union squad that won for first time since August 10.

Sporting KC will have an extra day to prepare for their next MLS match. Peter Vermes' squad will hit the road for an Eastern Conference showdown Saturday night against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.