Recap: Sporting KC beaten 2-1 by Philadelphia in first home defeat of the 2014 season

Sporting Kansas City suffered their first home loss of the 2014 season on Wednesday, falling 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Sporting Park. The defeat snapped an 11-game home unbeaten streak in all competition dating back to 2013, when the same Philadelphia side were 1-0 winners on Sept. 27.

After a scoreless first half, Danny Cruz opened the scoring in the 49th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Dom Dwyer scored his team-best seventh goal of the season in the 80th minute to level the score, however the Union's Cristian Maidana scored the game-winning goal less than a minute later.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made a season-high five saves on Wednesday, including three in a back-and-forth first half. His first came with a routine stop on Leonardo Fernandes in the seventh minute, followed by a more challenging save in 19th minute on a well-taken attempt by Cruz. His final save of the first 45 minutes was recorded in the 29th minute on a long-range effort from Vincent Nogueira.

Manager Peter Vermes' squad -- playing their third of seven matches in the month of May -- matched the visitors with three shots on target in the opening stanza and all came from winger Sal Zizzo. Returning after missing two matches with a groin strain, Zizzo was on the end of an exquisite pass from Graham Zusi in the 12th minute and rolled his shot on frame from the right side. The two connected again in the 33rd minute as Zusi's cross from the left flank found Zizzo, whose header was saved on the goalline off the leg of MacMath from close range.

The Zusi-to-Zizzo combination continued to create chances and nearly gave Sporting KC the lead in the final minute of first-half stoppage time. Zizzo lined up a shot from 10 yards out that forced MacMath into a sprawling stop at the near post to deny Zizzo his first goal of the campaign.

The second half began with more of the same as MacMath, a fourth-year pro at age 22, was called into action again in the 48th minute. Seth Sinovic let loose a dipping half volley from outside the penalty area that was smothered by the Maryland product with a dive to his right.

The save proved crucial when 30 seconds later Philadelphia pulled ahead on the opposite end of the field. Kronberg made the initial save to turn away Maidana's left-footed strike only to see Cruz pounce on the rebound with a sliding finish from inside the six-yard box for his first goal of the season and 10th of his MLS career.

The Union could have doubled the lead in the 59th minute if not for an important intervention by Kronberg to come off his line. Andrew Wenger, acquired in a trade last month, shrugged off a tackle by Aurelien Collin but couldn't slip his shot past Kronberg.

Dwyer entered the match in the 71st minute, replacing Designated Player Claudio Bieler who had directed a header on target moments before his exit. The move paid off within 10 minutes via a give-and-go with Paulo Nagamura that setup Dwyer's thunderous goal into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. The Generation adidas product now has goals in back-to-back games after scoring twice in a 2-0 victory at Montreal on the weekend and his seven goals are fourth most in MLS this season.

The momentum from the equalizer was ultimately short-lived as Philadelphia responded with a goal of their own from the ensuing kickoff. Cruz played an entry ball inside the area to Wenger and the former No. 1 overall draft pick held off challenges from Benny Feilhaber and Lawrence Olum before laying the ball off to Maidana. The Argentine placed his first-time shot past Kronberg from 12 yards out for his first career MLS goal, which proved to be the difference in the first of three meetings between the two teams this season despite a 90th minute red card to Union midfielder Corben Bone within a minute of entering the match.

Sporting Kansas City remains in first place in the Eastern Conference and will next travel to Chicago for a 2 p.m. CT match-up with the Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park. The team's official watch parties will be held at Johnny's Tavern locations in the KC Power & Light District (1310 Grand Blvd.) and Olathe (10384 S. Ridgeview Rd.), featuring food and drink specials for all fans in attendance.

Defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi will join the U.S. Men's National Team on Thursday as part of the 30-player preliminary roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. While serving as a sendoff for those two, Wednesday's match was also the debut for Igor Juliao as he became the youngest player in club history to start and play the full 90 minutes in an MLS match at 19 years of age.

 

Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 10
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.Attendance: 19,073 (42nd straight sell out)
Weather: 59 degrees and cloudy

Score

1

2

F

Sporting KC (5-3-2, 17 pts)

0

1

1

Philadelphia Union (2-5-5, 11 pts)

0

2

2

Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Igor Juliao, Matt Besler (c), Aurelien Collin (Lawrence Olum 61), Seth Sinovic; Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; Sal Zizzo (Jacob Peterson 55), Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 71), Graham Zusi

Subs Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Chance Myers, Alex Martinez, Antonio Dovale

Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Sheanon Williams, Austin Berry, Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo (c), Vincent Nogueira (Corben Bone 89), Leo Fernandes, Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 83), Cristian Maidana (Aaron Wheeler 92+), Andrew Wenger

Subs Not Used: Andre Blake, Ethan White, Amtoine Hoppenot, Conor Casey

Stats

SKC

PHI

Shots

15

14

Shots on Goal

6

7

Saves

5

5

Fouls   

6

20

Offside

0

1

Corner Kicks

3

1

Misconduct Summary:
PHI -- Fabinho (caution; reckless foul) 58
PHI -- Vincent Nogueira (caution; reckless foul) 70
SKC -- Matt Besler (caution; tactical foul) 86
PHI -- Corben Bone (ejection; serious foul play) 90
PHI -- Zac MacMath (caution; delaying a restart) 94+

Scoring Summary:
PHI -- Danny Cruz 1 (unassisted) 49
SKC - Dom Dwyer 7 (Paulo Nagamura 2) 80
PHI - Cristian Maidana 1 (Andrew Wenger 1) 81

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