Philadelphia have it all to do against Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City host Philadelphia Union tonight, with both sides coming into the game in very different positions.

Kansas City are currently joint-leaders of the Eastern Conference, whereas the Union sit second from bottom in ninth place.

The Union are looking to end a club-record nine game winless streak, but it’s a difficult task against last year’s MLS Cup winners.

Philadelphia have only won one game this season, beating New England 1-0 back in March, and have now lost their last three on the bounce, and have scored just one in their last four.

The Union have scored a goal from open play for six matches, and are in real trouble as they take on an ever-dangerous Kansas City side.

Sporting have won their past two games, keeping a clean sheet in both, and have now shutout their opponents in four of their last five games.

A well organised Kansas City side are clear favourites for this game, and they are yet to lose at Sporting Park this season.

They beat 10-man Montreal Impact on Saturday, in a dominant display that saw English forward, Dom Dwyer score his second brace of the season against Montreal.

Dwyer has now scored six goals this season, and is looking a real threat. Don’t be surprised to see him on the scoresheet once again.

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(Photo: Dom Dwyer is looking increasingly dangerous for SKC)

The Union played with a 4-4-2 formation in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to DC United, but they failed to control the middle of the park and suffered as a result.

This could punish them again tonight, as Oriol Rosell has been brilliant for Sporting, and completed 160 of his 166 passes on Saturday, the highest percentage ever recorded in MLS since Opta began collecting statistics before the 2011 season.

Sporting manager, Peter Vermes was  full of praise for Rosell: “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. 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.”

The Union have it all to do, but they were in a similar position lasts season when they came to Sporting Park on a five-game winless run, and took all three points in a 1-0 victory.

A result that prompted a three-game unbeaten streak, and Philadelphia desperately need something to go their way again tonight.

Union midfielder Maurice Edu thinks that they just need a bit of luck to go their way: “I think we have to keep our heads up, maybe sometimes is just going back to the basics and grinding results.”

“We are a team that likes to play, but sometimes the best teams do not win the prettiest ways… sometimes it’s 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,” he added.


DC United edge past hapless Philadelphia

By Zack Walford

DC United got back to winning ways, beating Philadelphia 1-0 on Saturday to heap more misery on the Union.

Philadelphia Union and DC United are two teams in very different positions, heading into this one the Union were looking to break an eight-game winless streak, while DC United saw their five-game unbeaten run end last week at home to Portland Timbers.

Within six minutes the deadlock was broken, Cristian sent the ball in, which took a deflection before falling to Chris Rolfe, who chested  it down and struck it beautifully with his left foot, blasting the ball into the net past Zac Macmath. The goal was Rolfe’s fiftieth in his illustrious career in MLS.

Nine minutes later, Union had the chance to level through Andrew Wenger but the chance was wasted by the twenty-three-year-old.

Former Fulham front man, Eddie Johnson, then thought he had doubled the Washington side’s lead only to be denied by the linesman, who raised his flag for offside. Another chance came the way of Fabian Espindola but this was wide of the mark and failed to test Zac Macmath.

In the fifty-second minute, Union came close to equalising through a smart long range effort from frenchman Vincent Nogueira.

Following a bright start by the home team, they again tested the defence of DC with a corner but Nogueira’s effort was nowhere near the target.

With the game still in favour of DC United, a high through ball found Wenger again but his effort was cleared by goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who flung himself again to save the rebounded effort from Conor Casey, as DC preserved their one goal lead.

Hamid made some important catches and saves inside the closing stages of the game to make sure all three points were heading to the away team.

For DC United, they now have fourteen points and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, as they head home to play bottom side Montreal Impact next weekend.

Whist Union are now on a nine-game winless run, their longest in the franchise’s history. They have the tough task of ending that when they face Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

Highlights via Major League Soccer’s YouTube channel: