On a cool soggy Sunday afternoon – 63 degrees, off and on rain – the Philadelphia Union (14-12-4, 46 Pts, 5th Place Eastern Conference) hosted Sporting Kansas City (15-8-6, 63 Pts, 1st Place Western Conference). The Union, who were playing their third match in 11 days, were taking the opportunity to rest players ahead of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match on Wednesday – see Next Ups below.
Surprisingly it worked, as two goals by Jay Simpson, on two assists by second half sub Alejandro Bedoya, backed by the great goaltending of back-up John McCarthy, shut out SKC 2-Nil. The announced crowd of 15,080, obviously diminshed some by the weather and the Philadelphia Eagles playing at the same time up I-95, certainly enjoyed it, especially as both goals were scored in front of the Sons Of Ben in the River End.
Sporting Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
GK Tim Melia; Ds Matt Besler (C), Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic, Graham Zusi; MFs Felipe Gutierrez, Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Kriztian Nemeth; Fs Gerso Fernandes, Johnny Russel
Union Starting XI: 4-3-3
GK John McCarthy; Ds Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Fabinho (C), Olivier Mbaizo, ; MFs Warren Creavalle, Derrick Jones , Borek Dockal, Fabian Herbers, David Accam; F Jay Simpson
The Fresh Legs lineup seem to work well for the Union as they looked the better team, getting off eight shots – 3 on target to KC’s three – 2 on goal, even though the possession favored Sporting almost 60/40. Most of KC’s time with the ball was in their own half, or the middle of the field.
The best chance for either team came in the 36′, when off a corner kick, Herber’s shot from outside the box went off the bar. The ball then went to Melia’s foot and Simpson had a good chance, but that was cleared.
The ref somehow missed a clear penalty as Mbaizo was flattened in the box right before the half, and then called a specious foul on the U a minute later. Needless to say the crowd was not pleased and hurled a few pleasantries at the ref as he left the field after a scoreless half.
KC started out the better squad the second 45′ getting off four shots before the U could get their first in the 70′
Their next shot though, was the first
DOOP! of the match on the shot by Simpson off the excellent cross by Bedoya 71′
Sporting KC would come at the Union in waves after this, but the defense and McCarthy’s saves would keep them off the board.
The eventual Brace for Simpson sealed the match on yet another A by Bedoya in 89′.
Yohan Croizet for Russell 72′
Dániel Sallói for Fernandes 80′
Gianluca Busio for Espinoza 85′
Alejandro Bedoya in for Dockal 55′
Fafa Picault in for Herbers 63′
Keegan Rosenberry for MBaizo 85′
What more can we say about your Union after two surprising results in a row. This one especially coming against the best in the West.
Head Coach Jim Curtin put it this way:
“You could call our biggest win of the season in Seattle – uh – this is an even bigger one. Really proud of the players. Before the game we were talking about what it means to be a true team… what I explained in the pre-game talk, any 11 guys that are together playing for each other with belief, are attacking and defending as one, can beat any group of talented players.”
They certainly proved that to be true with the lineup they put out today.
To use a popular phrase for this team lately on-line – the Union do not suck any more.
The Union take another mid-week road trip, this one much anticipated, as the Union try for the third time to win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against the Houston Dynamo. The match is Wednesday 9/26 at 8:00 PM.
I will be live tweeting this one as @pattisonavenue and will provide a recap afterwards.