In their first road match of 2019, the Philadelphia Union (0-2-0, 0 Pts, 12th Place Eastern Conference) face Sporting Kansas City (1-1-0, 3 Pts, 6th Place Western Conference).
In yet another game where the refereeing became too much a part of the story, the Union could not even score on a penalty kick, in a 2-Nil loss.
Sporting KC Starting XI: 4,3,3
GK Tim Melia; Ds Botond Barath, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Seth Sinovic; MFs Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez, Gianluca Busio, Gerso Fernandes; F Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth
Union Starting XI: 4,4,2
GK Andre Blake; Ds Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis, MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Warren Creavalle, Marco Fabián; Fs Cory Burke, Fafa Picault
The Union had a few good runs early, but in the 9′ the referee made an even more specious call than last week’s Hand Ball, as he said Busio was knocked down by Trusty. It was barely a push, and more of a dive.
Blake could not save it like he did last week, as Sanchez blew it by him. 11′
The Union’s next good chance came in the 22′ when Creavalle was pulled down just outside the box, but Fabian did little with the close-in FK, kicking it into the wall.
This match was getting as out of control as last week, and even earlier, as a yellow card was issued to Busio for “Time Wasting” as he jawed at the ref for awhile. Both sides had beefs as the ref was missing a ton of stuff. 37′
A hand ball that again the Ref missed at first, gave the U a PK after a VAR. 40′ Melia saved it, though as he guessed right, to his his right, on Fabian’s hard shot. 41′
Though it seemed like KC was the better team the stats were pretty even with the U actually ahead on shots 8-7, and each having two on target. Sporting led TOP by only 9%, so not much advantage there. There was plenty of action in the first half, little of it good for the Union, but they were only down 1-Nil.
Melia kept the match scoreless making a diving save on a right footed blast by Burke from the edge of the box. 49′
Blake also tipped a ball over the bar to keep the U in the game. 56′
But once again, the officials would have a huge impact on this match. Fabian after being fouled into the air, came down feet first on the foulee, Russell’s chest. He BTW was not called for a foul, and the ref also called nothing but another VAR determined it to be as “serious foul” on Fabian so he was sent off with a straight Red. 60′ it seemed like a right call as I saw it real time, but after looking at it again, I am not sure what Fabian could have done as he was being tackled. It looks in slow motion like he may have added some emphasis to the kick, but it just as well was him trying to get balance back so as not to fall on his head or awkwardly onto the ground.
The U actually looked a bit better with ten men as they had a few good chances that Melia saved.
That would all come to a crashing end as on a cross by Fernandes, Jack Elliot’s attempt to clear instead went off his foot past Blake going the wrong way for an Own Goal. 80′
After that all the fight seemed to have gone out of the U as they just played D to get to the final whistle. Which mercifully came leaving the final score 2-Nil Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting KC Subs:
Kelyn Rowe for Busio 78′
Dániel Sallói for Russell 82′
Yohan Croizet for Sánchez 84′
Derrick Jones for Creavalle
Sergio Santos for Picault 73′
Ilsinho for Burke 79′
Sporting KC Cards:
Fabian Yellow 31′ and Red 60′
There was quite a bit of gesturing by the Union players, apparently at each other especially in the first half. It seemed obvious that frustration was getting to these guys as they have yet to put a ball in the net that was not a PK. This may take longer than we hoped for the “new look” Union to gel as a unit. This may be where we will finally find out if Curtin is the right man for this team.
The Union go on the road again for another tough early season test against Atlanta United FC (0-1-0, 0 Pts, 11th Place Eastern Conference) 3/17/19 7:15 PM, broadcast on PHL17. Atlanta plays later today.