Preview: Sporting KC road trip continues at Philadelphia Union
Sporting KC (9-3-2, 29 pts) at Philadelpha Union (2-8-2, 8 pts)
Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 6:00 p.m. CT
PPL Park | Chester, PA
English TV: KSMO-TV, KMTW, WIBW
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City will complete their cross-country road trip at 6:00 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The match will air live on KSMO-TV (Kansas City), KMTW (Wichita) and WIBW (Topeka), with fans invited to attend the team’s official watch party at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. CT in time for the UEFA Euro 2012 quarterfinal between Spain and France and all in attendance will be able to purchase Sporting Kansas City home uniforms at a 25% discount and receive $5 off tickets to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday at LSP. Additionally, a free all-access stadium tour will be offered between matches.
Sporting KC is unbeaten in their last six matches in all competition and will now play their third of five games in a 14-day span. The unbeaten streak has moved the team within one point of D.C. United for first place in the Eastern Conference, with two fewer games played to date on the season.
Sporting Kansas City forward Jacob Peterson scored the team’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw at Seattle on Wednesday. Since breaking into the starting lineup last weekend, the offseason acquisition recorded the game-winning assist in a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC and scored his first goal in a KC uniform two days ago.
Manager Peter Vermes has also given a starting spot to central defender Lawrence Olum for the club’s last two matches in the absence of 2011 All-Star Matt Besler (appendicitis), and made four additional changes on Wednesday. Soony Saad, Michael Thomas and Peterson Joseph made their first career MLS starts, while Michael Harrington also earned a spot in the first XI.
The Sporting Kansas City defense has allowed an MLS low 11 goals and 148 shots on the year, while captain Jimmy Nielsen is tied atop the League charts with six shutouts and nine victories.
Philadelphia will play their second match under new interim head coach John Hackworth following the departure of Peter Nowak earlier this month. The Union fell 1-0 at home to D.C. United last Saturday and are winless in their last six.
Panamian midfielder Gabriel Gomez and Colombian forward Lionard Pajoy have contributed seven of the club’s eight goals this season, but neither played in the team’s last match due to injury and suspension, respectively. In their place was 19-year-old Jack McInerney, who earned his first start of the season in the team’s new 4-3-3 formation.
Since Philadelphia joined MLS in 2010, Sporting KC is unbeaten in the all-time series with a 1-0-3 record and each of the last three meetings has ended in a draw.
Pre-game coverage of Saturday’s match will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT on KSMO, KMTW and WIBW. Viewers are encouraged to use the #SKCtv hashtag on Twitter with selected comments to be shown throughout the broadcast.