Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
May 14, 2014 (WEEK 11, MLS Game #93)
7:30 p.m. CT (KMCI-38; CSN-Phi)
Two teams heading in opposite directions in recent weeks meet at midweek when Sporting Kansas City play host to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting haven’t allowed a goal in back-to-back games, in a tie atop the Eastern Conference following their 3-0 win at the Montreal Impact last weekend. Union are now riding a club-record nine-game winless streak, dropping a third in a row in their 1-0 home loss to D.C. United last weekend.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 185 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 53; pens: 66
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Fabinho
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Maurice Edu
DISABLED LIST: KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Sporting 4 wins, 11 goals … Union 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 3
AT KANSAS CITY (5 meetings): Sporting 2 wins, 5 goals … Union 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 8/1: Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. CT; 10/18: Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/2: PHI 1, KC 3 (Le Toux 17 – Zusi 41; Rosell 66; Bieler 83)
9/27: KC 0, PHI 1 (Casey 36)
10/26: PHI 1, KC 2 (McInerney 88 – Zusi 47; Olum 92+)
- The teams met three times a season ago, beginning and ending the season against each other – and the road team won on all three occasions, the first road victories ever in the all-time series. Union won 1-0 on Sept. 27 in the only meeting at Sporting Park.
- Union have won just once in five all-time matches against Sporting at PPL Park, that win coming June 23, 2012. SKC won on their two visits to Chester last year; the first two meetings at PPL Park ended in draws.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. KC: P5 W2 L3 T0 … Peter Vermes vs. PHI: P9 W4 L2 T3
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City won their second consecutive game by shutout, rolling to a 3-0 victory against a 10-man Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. Sporting sit in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from nine games.
- The match turned after just 17 minutes. A long throw into the area was sent goalward by SKC's Oriol Rossel, and as he fell Impact midfielder Collen Warner clawed the ball away from the line. Referee Jair Marrufo produced a red card for Warner and pointed to the spot, and Dom Dwyer put the resulting penalty kick to the bottom left corner past goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who had guessed correctly.
- Sporting KC doubled their lead in the 34th minute when a low cross from Chance Myers sailed all the way through the area to Paulo Nagamura at the back post, and he then finished back across goal past a scrambling Perkins.
- The rout was complete in the 64th minute. Toni Dovale released Dwyer through on goal between the Montreal centerbacks, and he made no mistake in front of Perkins, slotting the ball home to the ‘keeper’s left.
- KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg was credited with two saves in recording his league-leading fifth shutout.
- Sporting manager Peter Vermes made one change to the team that came away with a 2-0 win against the Columbus Crew at Sporting Park. Aurelien Collin returned from suspension in place of Lawrence Olum.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Eric Kronberg - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Oriol Rosell - Jacob Peterson (Antonio Dovale 57), Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi (Soony Saad 75) - Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 70).
- Dom Dwyer scored his second two-goal game of the season, and his second against Montreal. Dwyer has scored nine goals in his last 11 league matches, dating back to last season.
- Paulo Nagamura scored his first goal since Sept. 1, 2012, when he netted in a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC at Sporting Park.
- “I thought for the first few minutes after we went a man up, we were still trying to drive full attack, and we were still forcing the game a little bit,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “But then we started to move the ball a little better. After that, I thought we were excellent in possession. We were patient, but at the same time we had a purpose in the way we moved forward and we did a good job on the defensive end not to give anything away.”
- Midfielder Oriol Rosell was credited with 160 passes completed out of 166, the highest percentage ever recorded in MLS since Opta began collecting such statistics before the 2011 season. As a team, Sporting attempted 803 passes and completed 739, also both records.
- “His biggest quality is that he finds himself always in the right positions to receive the ball in space, and always with options once he gets the ball,” Vermes said. “He knows before he gets it where he wants to play it, so from that perspective that's one of the reasons why he's been good in our team.”
- Eric Kronberg was credited with his league-leading fifth shutout. Of the six goals he has also this season, three have come from the penalty spot. He has six shutouts in 13 career starts in the league.
- “I thought we did a tremendous job of being patient, having purpose to our build up with the ball in our possession and at the same time we stayed very disciplined and organized at the back to not give them anything,” said Vermes. “That's not easy, so it was a tremendous performance even though we were up a man.”
- Coming off the substitutes’ bench for his third league appearance since joining Sporting, Antonio Dovale was credited with his first MLS assist.
- Winger Sal Zizzo, who started six of Sporting’s first seven league matches before suffering a groin strain in the second half of the April 26 game vs. New England, has returned to full training and will be available for selection.
- “He was pretty good last week, before we left to go to Montreal,” Vermes said. “But with the three games in such a short period of time, I didn't think it was smart to try to rush him, because then, where do you use him? I just wanted to make sure he was 100 percent, but he's looking really good.”
Philadelphia Union saw their winless streak reach a club-record nine matches, falling 1-0 to D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with nine points from 11 games.
- The game's only goal came in the sixth minute. A sharp-angle shot from United's Cristian Fernandez ricocheted off Union fullback Ray Gaddis and popped up to an unmarked Chris Rolfe in the middle of the box. He settled the ball off his chest and in one motion blasted a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
- United goalkeeper Bill Hamid finished with four saves to record the shutout against Union, who have been kept off the score sheet in three of their last four games and haven’t had a player score from the run of play in their last five.
- Union manager John Hackworth made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Austin Berry and Fabinho came into the back four for Sheanon Williams and Aaron Wheeler, and Conor Casey came into the side for Sebastien Le Toux.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Austin Berry (Leo Fernandes 83), Fabinho - Cristian Maidana, Maurice Edu, Brian Carroll (Danny Cruz 46), Vincent Nogueira - Conor Casey (Sebastien Le Toux 73), Andrew Wenger.
- Union set a club record with their nine consecutive match without a victory, their only victory of the season the 1-0 win vs. New England on March 15. Union had previously gone eight games without a win July 29-Sept. 10, 2011 and Aug. 4-Sept. 20, 2012.“You could tell there is frustration in every part of it. We feel like we’re a much better team than our results are showing obviously. But yet even when we play well, as we did at the start of the game, somehow we give up a goal on their first shot and that’s just the way the season has gone for us,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “As coaches and players, our whole staff, our whole organization is definitely frustrated at this point. I don’t know how to put it any other way.”
- In their third consecutive loss, Union were also shut out at the attacking end for a third time in the last four matches. The last time a Union player scored from open play came six games ago, in the 90th minute of the 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on April 12 when Maurice Edu found the back of the net. Union’s two goals since then have come on an own goal and a penalty kick.
- “I think we have to keep our heads up, maybe sometimes is just going back to the basics and grinding results,” said Edu. “We are a team that likes to play but sometimes the best teams do not win the prettiest ways… sometimes is just a fluke goal or a set play and you just grind the rest of the game and maybe that is what we need right now.”
- Conor Casey made his first start in three matches, and his third start of the season, partnering Andrew Wenger in attack.
- Brian Carroll was forced off at halftime with a groin injury. He had played every minute of the previous three matches.
- “I pulled my muscle in the first half and I tried to finish the half to see how it would be, it was the right thing to do … to let the coaches know,” Carroll said. “… If I could not go back in the second half, I would say questionable, but we will see how I feel [Monday] and see what the doctors and trainers say.”
- Austin Berry made his first start since April 12, coming into central defense in place of Aaron Wheeler.
- After not featuring at all against Seattle, following his first start of the season, Danny Cruz was a halftime substitution for Union, coming on for Carroll.
- “We knew we had to try to open them up [after the goal]. They were going to sit in and, to their credit, they did it well. Can’t fault them at all; if you get a goal that early in a game, it’s a good tactic to try to deploy,” said Hackworth. “I thought Danny stretching them a little higher and wider was important for us. And we did that, we just didn’t finish.”