Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen vs Philadelphia Union

KC unbeaten run reaches six with 0-0 draw

MLS Game #14
Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 6:30 p.m. CT

English TV: KSMO
Spanish TV: Time Warner Cable Ch. 5
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

PPL Park | Chester, Pennsylvania
Weather:  Partly cloudy and 80 degrees
Attendance: 18,127
Video: Match Highlights

Score: 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (3-6-5, 14 pts) 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union (6-4-5, 23 pts) 0 0 0      

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Seth Sinovic; Birahim Diop (Stephane Auvray 72), Luke Sassano, Davy Arnaud; Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 46), Omar Bravo (Michael Harrington 63) 

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Milos Stojcev, Shavar Thomas

Philadelphia Union: Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 78), Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic (Amobi Okugo 65), Carlos Ruiz, Jack McInerney (Keon Daniel 59)

Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Michael Farfan, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Stefani Miglioranzi 

Stats:                            SKC       PHI
Shots 8 26
Shots on Goal 0 7
Saves 7 0
Fouls 11 11
Offside 2 1
Corner Kicks 4 6   

Misconduct Summary:
KC – Julio Cesar (Caution; Reckless Tackle) 29
PHI – Veljko Paunovic (Caution; Simulation) 31
KC – Jimmy Nielsen (Caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+

Scoring Summary:
None

Sporting Kansas City extended their unbeaten streak to six straight MLS matches with a 0-0 draw at the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night. The streak is the third-longest active run in MLS and Sporting Kansas City remains unbeaten against the Union at 1-0-2 all-time.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen matched his career high with seven saves for his second straight shutout, as the Sporting KC defense has now allowed one goal in their past five MLS matches this month.

Nielsen was called into action early as he held onto a shot in the 5th minute from Union striker Carlos Ruiz, who recently returned from representing Guatemala in the 2011 Gold Cup.

Sporting Kansas City responded four minutes later with one of their better chances of the match as Designated Player Omar Bravo’s left-footed volley was struck well, but went high of goal from 10 yards out on the left side.

The Union’s Brian Carroll and Sporting’s Kei Kamara exchanged shots wide of goal on opposite ends of the field, but Philadelphia quickly began asserting themselves on the attack. Following two blocked shots inside the penalty area in the 20th minute, Nielsen made a strong stop on Sheanon Williams’ first-time shot from 20 yards out four minutes later. The Danish goalkeeper than used his foot to block an attempt from Jack McInerney in the 27th minute and made a diving save to prevent Ruiz from scoring minutes later on a free kick.

Sporting Kansas City continued to come under siege in the second half. A header from Ruiz finally beat Nielsen in the 71st minute but was bounced off the crossbar and back into play. Union midfielder Justin Mapp took his turn to test Nielsen in the 76th minute, but the 2010 MLS All-Star was again there to preserve the shutout. 

Sebastien Le Toux came close with one of Philadelphia’s 26 shots in the 80th minute, but the effort from outside the penalty area rolled narrowly wide of the far post.

Sporting Kansas City return home to state-of-the-art LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Saturday when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will also host the third round of the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, June 28th between Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire PDL. Tickets are $10 for Season Ticket Members and $15 for the general public on TicketMaster.com.

Fast Facts:  

Sporting Kansas City is now 3-6-5 in 2011 and is currently in ninth position in the Eastern Conference.

With the draw, Sporting Kansas City are 1-0-2 all-time against Philadelphia and 0-0-2 at PPL Park.

Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in six straight MLS matches, and seven games in all competition.

With the draw, Sporting Kansas City’s six-game unbeaten streak is tied for the third-longest in MLS, behind only the Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy.

Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in June at 2-0-3.

Sporting Kansas City is 1-0-3 when recording a clean sheet in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his second consecutive shutout and 12th of his MLS career on Wednesday.

Nielsen’s seven saves matched a career high and were the most since recording seven saves against the Columbus Crew on July 14, 2010.

Sporting Kansas City was without defender Roger Espinoza on Wednesday due to his international duty with the Honduras National Team. Honduras played Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at 9:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Sporting Kansas City was without defender Aurelien Collin, who served a mandatory one-game suspension on Wednesday for caution accumulation after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season in the team’s 1-0 win over San Jose last Friday.

Defender Julio Cesar made his sixth start of the season, and first since May 14th, in replacement for Collin at central defense.

Midfielder Luke Sassano started his fourth consecutive gamesfor Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and fifth of the season. The team is 3-0-2 this season when Sassano is in the starting lineup.

Defender Seth Sinovic, signed May 10th, started his third consecutive match for Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and fourth of the season. The team is 2-0-2 when Sinovic is in the starting lineup.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi did not travel with the team due to a left ankle sprain. Zusi had recorded two goals and two assists in Sporting Kansas City’s last two matches.

Philadelphia are unbeaten at PPL Park in 2011, going 4-0-4 in their first eight matches. The Union are 10-3-10 all-time at home in their first two seasons and have gone nine games without a loss dating back to October 7th, 2010 in a 1-0 home defeat by the LA Galaxy.

Sporting Kansas City have four shutouts in the club’s last five games and have allowed only one goal over the stretch.

Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud surpassed 19,000 regular season minutes played in his MLS and KC career on Wednesday, becoming the third Kansas City player to break the 19,000-minute barrier along with Kerry Zavagnin and Nick Garcia.

Arnaud, Sporting Kansas City’s longest tenured player, celebrated his 31st birthday on Wednesday.

KSMO-TV will air highlights and reaction from Wednesday’s match on the station’s weekly 30-minute soccer show “Off the Pitch with Sporting Kansas City” on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. CT.

Sporting KC and Philadelphia will meet again to close out the season series at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on September 23rd on Soccer Night in America on FOX Soccer.

The Sporting Kansas City U16 Juniors begin the 2010-11 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs in Frisco, Texas on Saturday as the 25th seed. The Juniors are grouped with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and IMG Soccer Academy, with the group winner advancing to Finals Week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from July 9-16.

The Sporting Kansas City U18 Juniors are also in Frisco, Texas for the Spring Showcase and will face the Irvine Strikers on Friday.

The Sporting Kansas City U13 and U15 Juniors are in Fox Cities, Wisconsin for the 2011 US Youth Soccer Region II Championships from June 25th-29th.