Omar Bravo vs. Philadelphia Union
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Recap: Sporting KC moves into first with 1-1 draw

MLS Game #30
Friday, September 23, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CT
English TV: FOX Soccer
Spanish TV: FOX Deportes
English Radio: SportingMembership.com
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees
Attendance: 18,778
Video: Match Highlights

Score                                                      1     2     F
Sporting Kansas City (10-9-11, 41 pts)        0     1     1
Philadelphia Union (9-7-13, 40 pts)              0     1     1      

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Seth Sinovic; Jeferson (Aurelien Collin 46), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury(C.J. Sapong 62), Omar Bravo© (Soony Saad 89)

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Davy Arnaud, Michael Harrington, Peterson Joseph

Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath; Gabriel Farfan, Danny Califf©, Carlos Valdes; Kyle Nakazawa (Zach Pfeffer 62), Roger Torres (Stefani Miglioranzi 72), Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Michael Farfan; Veljko Paunovic (Jack McInerney 57), Sebastien Le Toux

Subs not used: Chase Harrison, Joe Tait, Ryan Richter, Morgan Langley

Stats:              KC      PHI
Shots                13         9
Shots on Goal    4          2
Saves                1          3
Fouls                 6          7
Offside              3          3
Corner Kicks      3         4

Misconduct Summary:
PHI – Carlos Valdes (Caution; Reckless Foul) 61

Scoring Summary:
KC – Omar Bravo 9 (Kei Kamara 4) 56
PHI – Sebastien Le Toux 8 (Michael Farfan 2) 63

Designated Player Omar Bravo scored his team-leading ninth goal of the 2011 season, but a strike from Sebastien Le Toux seven minutes later meant that Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union would split the points in a 1-1 draw in front of a sold-out crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday night. 

With the draw, Sporting Kansas City have now lost on just three occasions in their last 22matches. Friday's result -- in a match played in front of a national television audience as part of Fox Soccer's 'Soccer Night in America' -- moves Sporting Kansas City level on points with the Columbus Crew and into a tie for firstplace in the Eastern Conference with just four matches left to play in the 2011 MLS regular season schedule. 

Philadelphia would get on the ball early and create the first chance of the match in just the second minute of play. A quick sequence of passes through midfield saw Roger Torres pick out Veljko Paunovic at midfield. Paunovic played a first time diagonal ball in behind the Sporting Kansas City backline for Sebastien Le Toux running down the right flank. Le Toux collected the pass and drove towards goal, but mishit his shot wide of the far post under pressure from Julio Cesar.

Fourteen minutes later, the Union were on the attack again. Receiving the ball in space on the right, Michael Farfan, pushing forward from a right back position, cut pastSeth Sinovic before squaring a pass across the area for Paunovic. Paunovic aimed to strike his shot back across goal, but it was blocked away by Chance Myers.

The sides traded bouts of possession and half-chances throughout much of the half until Sporting Kansas City earned their first true opportunities in the 40th minute. A teasing ball in towards the near post from Kei Kamara saw a collision between Union goalkeeper Zach MacMath and defender Carlos Valdes, resulting in a corner for Sporting Kansas City. From the ensuing corner, Designated Player Jeferson picked out Kamara in the box, but the Sierra Leone international flashed his header onto the bar and over the top of goal.

Myers would get on the end of the final chance of the half in the only minute of stoppage time, smacking a volley from outside the area over the bar as the two sides entered the break level at 0-0.

Halftime saw one change between the two sides, with Aurelien Collin entering the match for Jeferson. Four minutes after the start of the half, Philadelphia would create another chance, again from Michael Farfan. Winning the ball at the edge of the area, Farfan struck a low shot to the far post that was blocked away for a corner by a sliding Matt Besler.

Sporting Kansas City would go ahead in the 56th minute, courtesy of a goal from Designated Player Omar Bravo. With time on the ball on the left side of the penalty area, Kamara punched a ball to the far post where Bravo was making his run. Bravo got free from Gabriel Farfan before volleying home for his ninth goal on the year on his first shot of the match.

Four minutes later, the Union would answer back with a good chance on goal from substitute forward Jack McInerney. Having come on for Paunovic immediately following Bravo’s goal, McInerney made a run into the right channel behind the Sporting Kansas City defense. Receiving a well-weighted through ball from Torres, McInerney shot low to the near post, but his effort was denied by afoot save from Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Niesen.

In the 63rd minute, the Union would draw level. Roger Torres played a low ball across the area that looked to be headed over the byline but waskept in play by Michael Farfan. Farfan gained control of the ball before touching a pass back for a waiting Le Toux, who side-footed a finish low past Nielsen.

Sporting Kansas City rookie forward C.J. Sapong, on as a substitute for Teal Bunbury, would then create a chance all on his own in the 68th minute. With the ball between two Union players along the touchline, Sapong won the ball from both of them before advancing on goal and having his curling attempt toward the far post saved well back MacMath, who came out to the cut the angle. 

Midfielder Roger Espinoza would then go close for Sporting Kansas City in the 71st minute. Running through the center of midfield, Espinoza received a pass in space from Graham Zusi, and let loose a knuckling drive was parried away for a corner by MacMath.

MacMath was involved again in the 88th minute, this time ranging well out of his goalmouth to tip away a dangerous cross from Espinoza.

Sporting Kansas City next hosts the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, September 28th at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Sporting KC t-shirt, courtesy of Pepsi, and the match will also feature Buck-a-Brat night, sponsored by Johnsonville and Roma Bakery. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.com or at the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park box offices.

FAST FACTS

• Sporting Kansas City is now 10-9-11 and moves into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Columbus Crew with four games remaining in the regular season.

• Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten all-time against the Philadelphia Union with a 1-0-3 record in the series. Sporting is 1-0-1 at home against the Union.

• Sporting Kansas City has lost only three times in their past 22 MLS matches.

• Sporting Kansas City has a +6 goal differential in 2011, tied for the best margin in the Eastern Conference.

• Sporting Kansas City has scored 44 goals in 30 MLS matches this season, tied for second most among all MLS teams.

• Sporting Kansas City’s +10 goal differential at home in 2011 is tied for the best margin in the Eastern Conference.

• Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Omar Bravo scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the 56th minute.

• Bravo now has goals in three of his past five appearances and Sporting KC is 3-1-2 inmatches in which Bravo scores.

• Sporting KC striker Kei Kamara recorded his fourth assist of the year on the goal. The Sierra Leone international now has a goal or assist in four of his last five matches.

• Sporting Kansas City held the Philadelphia Union without a shot on goal in the firsthalf on Friday, marking the 10th time this season that Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has not faced a shot on goal in a half.

• Sporting Kansas City committed only one foul in the first half on Friday, matching the season low for fouls committed in a half of play.

• Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong played 28 minutes on Friday and is the onlySporting Kansas City player to appear in all 30 MLS matches for the club this season.

• Sapong leads all MLS rookies in games played (30) and points (12) in 2011.

• Defender Matt Besler has started 23 straight MLS matches for Sporting Kansas City, the most of all current players.

• Sporting Kansas City hosted LIVESTRONG Night on Friday, giving away free yellow LIVESTRONG bands to all fans in attendance and holding a 28-second moment of silence in recognition of the 28-million cancer survivors worldwide.

• Friday's standing-room only crowd of 18,778 was the eighth sell-out at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for an MLS match this season.

• LIVESTRONG Sporting Park also hosted the AVID Leadership Conference prior to the match, with 900 local high school students listening to guest speakers from Sporting Kansas City and attending the college fair in the Sprint Plaza.

• The first 10,000 fans in attendance received an Aurelien Collin bobblehead, the third and final player bobblehead given away by Sporting Kansas City in 2011.

• US Open mixed doubles champion and Overland Park, Kansas native Jack Sock was in attendance at Friday’s match. Sock attended Blue Valley North High School and was a classmate of Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jon Kempin.

• The match was shown live nationwide on FOX Soccer as this week’s “Soccer Night in America” telecast, marking the ninth nationally televised match at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park since its opening.

• Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten at 1-0-2 when on FOX Soccer this season.

RECORD BREAKDOWN

• Sporting Kansas City is 7-2-6 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park since its opening on June 9th.

• Sporting Kansas City is 1-5-4 when tied at halftime in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 9-3-2 when scoring the first goal in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 2-2-6 when scoring one goal in 2011 and 4-4-6 when allowing one goal in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 10-6-10 when wear all-Sporting Blue uniforms in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 0-2-6 when tied in the 75th minute in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 7-4-8 when outshooting opponents in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 3-4-6 against Eastern Conference opponents this season.

• Sporting Kansas City is 9-7-10 on natural grass playing surfaces this season.

• Sporting Kansas City is 8-3-7 when playing in the Central time zone in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 3-7-6 when the temperature is below 75 degrees at kickoff in 2011.