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Union upset Sporting KC to snap nine-match winless skid



KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Chalk it up as playing a team at the right time, or one team simply executing a solid game plan. Either way, the Philadelphia Union saw Sporting Kansas City at their worst just days after Sporting KC gave fans a glimpse of their best.

The Union scored on an 81st-minute winner from Cristian Maidana and survived a Corben Bone 90th-minute red card to beat Sporting KC, 2-1, on the road in front of 19,073 at Sporting Park.

“I can’t say enough about the guys in our locker room,” Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth said after the match. “That was an incredibly gutsy performance against probably the best team in the MLS, (especially) coming to a very difficult place to play.

“You got to give Sporting Kansas City a lot of credit, because they’re an excellent team and they really — for large parts of the game — put us in a difficult spot,” Hackworth added. “But again, credit to our guys (because) they fought through. We didn’t play our best soccer. It might of been, in some respects, one of our poor performances soccer wise, but we got the goals when it mattered.”

The score that mattered for Philadelphia came late in the second half from Maidana seconds after Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer tied the match at 1-1. Maidana was gifted the ball at his feet after forward Andrew Wenger did well to deliver a promising attempt inside the Sporting KC box. The shot from Maidana froze Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg at the near post, and all he could do was watch it roll towards the far post and into the back of the net.

“The first five and last five (minutes) of each half, or after we score a goal, we have to really be focused, and we had another mistake tonight,” Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin said regarding his team’s lack of focus at certain points of games this season.

Maidana’s goal meant that Sporting KC had to play catch up for the second time in the final 45 minutes. Philadelphia was able to come out of the scoreless halftime break and take a 1-0 lead with a goal from forward Danny Cruz in the 49th minute after Maidana was able to get around Sporting KC midfielder Oriol Rosell and deliver a ball that would be deflected right to Cruz for the easy tap in.

Sporting KC was nearly revitalized in the 90th minute after Bone — who was subbed on by Hackworth 30 seconds earlier — was shown the straight red card for a poor challenge on forward Jacob Peterson, but the home team was unable to find an answer of its own.

The only bright spot for Kansas City, which looked lackluster for much of the evening despite having the edge in several statistical departments, was Dwyer’s beauty of a goal in the 80th minute. The streaky forward received an excellent ball from midfielder Paulo Nagamura and took a world-class attempt that found the corner of the net to stalemate the match at 1-1 for a good 45 seconds before Maidana silenced the hometown crowd for the rest of the match.

“We deserved to lose. They were the better team,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in the post-game press conference. “They worked harder than we did, and they were hungrier than we were. They beat us to all the balls — very seldom do we get outworked playing against one of our opponents, but tonight we got outworked in our home stadium and that doesn’t sit well with me. That’s for sure.”

With the result, the Union improve to 2-5-5 and will now look forward to Saturday and a meeting at home with the New England Revolution. Sporting KC fall to 5-3-2 and will prepare for a weekend matchup as well Sunday in Chicago against the Fire.


  1. I could watch Dwyer’s goal over and over again and this is coming from a Union fan. I know Dwyer is from England, but does he have American citizenship? I would love to see what he could do in some MNT camps in the next few years.

  2. While I know my posts never seem like it, I am a Union fan, but a vocally disgruntled one.

    I’m glad they got the result, but I’m not convinced it represents any kind of turnaround. This is a talented side, but they lack a solid back four (maybe Okugo and Williams are the top CB pairing…) because Berry and Wheeler’s joint learning curve just leaks goals. Conor Casey is a great guy, but he’s not the answer up top (Perhaps a loan for a bigger but pacy striker like Agudelo if they can afford it?). So while the team made a huge upgrade in personnel from last season, it’s still not a side with a solid starting XI. Until then, they are not a playoff contender. Players aside, I’m not convinced Hackworth is the right guy for this club, no matter how many bear hugs he gets from his lap dog Cruz. Maybe that’s it. When the guy that the coach holds up as the epitome of what he wants his team to be all about is the least technically gifted or soccer smart guy on your roster, well that just leaves a funny taste in my mouth (and yes I know Cruz scored last night)…

    • Danny Cruz is fast, his first touch is horrendous and he probably couldn’t beat a traffic cone in space. Nonetheless he’s on the team to play the same role that people thought Brek Shea might play for the USMNT (obviously he didn’t make the cut). Danny is one of very few players who truly are best suited on the wing. Seba, Maidana, Wenger can all play out there, but they’re wasted out there. Danny’s speed and mentality on the wings means he’s always in the box on plays like his goal. There was a Wenger break away, he was 1 on 1 plus the goalie, shifted to the side of the goal and waited almost five seconds before any other Union player was there. Danny Cruz, injured at the time, would have been right there ready to shoot. He’s not the most talented player, and he really shouldn’t be starting, but I hated him last year and he’s really won me over this year because of his position. We need width and Cruz plays wide, therefore bringing him off the bench isn’t terrible. Of course we should look for a winger and a striker to add to the roster, but until then I don’t mind Cruz. Especially if he’s the only one getting in to the box.

    • Cruz has shown a lot of improvement over last year. Take a look at Maidana’s goal – that play isn’t kept alive without Cruz doing some fancy footwork. He also had a play earlier in the game that didn’t lead to a goal but involved him beating several defenders on the dribble. He also showed when he came in against DC that he can combine effectively with the players around him – they finally started looking dangerous. If you’re still hating on Cruz you haven’t actually been watching him.

      • I have been watching him, and while I take your point about him providing width and will happily admit that much of my distaste for Cruz comes from me wishing he were more like Justin Mapp (who did we trade that guy for again?) and a little less of a “run real fast crash the box and … fall down 7 out 10 runs” type of player. But I feel that way about a lot of players, so again, I get that it could be me not appreciating that role.

    • Because they hack and foul unlike anybody else. That’s their game. Last season, they led the league in fouls. Seth Sinovic ruptured Kimura’s eardrum on a violent challenge that could easily have drawn red and I don’t even think it produced a yellow. Typical SKC thuggery. Plus Colin could be shown red just about every game the way he fouls.

      • eh, maybe. Not sure that is fair. Except for Colin. That part’s true. He’s effective. however.

  3. The Union have a better team than their record shows. They have just had trouble scoring goals. If they can find a good Striker during the next transfer window, they will be a dangerous team.

    • Exactly. Noguiera is one of the best midfielders and one of the most creative players I’ve seen play in this league. He alone could lead this team to the playoffs if they could find somebody to sit in front of him and take good shots. Casey can’t do it anymore, Wenger’s more hold up than shooting striker, and McInerney didn’t see the ball at all when he was here. A singularly goalminded striker is what the Union really need on the end of their midfield possesion.

  4. The sorry ass Union beat the likes of Feilhaber, Besler, and Zusi…. can’t wait to see how they do vs Ghana, Germany and Portugal :/ Maybe Benny is happy he’s not apart of the 30.

    • That trio also couldn’t do jack against Cruz Azul in the CCL. They got beat pretty badly down in the DF. That type of talent they played against, at the very least, is World Cup level.
      If they had trouble keeping up with Cruz Azul, they are in for a surprise against Ghana.

      • Meant bottom of the tier, World Cup level, because those Cruz Azul guys (Argentine players) don’t event play for their national teams except Marco Fabian.

    • Hey look… people nobody has ever seen here before!… and they are trolling! Get ’em, guys! And when you’re finished, make some bets and then welch on them!

  5. Looked to me like the referee went to his shirt pocket initially on the red card. But all the yelling from SKC players changed his mind. Definitely, a card, but i didnt think his studs were up, just very late. I dont like to see referees so easily swayed. May e it was a red, but his first move is to the shirt pocket.

    • Rewatch the tackle, studs were up. Clearly. Besides, what does it matter which pocket he reached for first? Some refs keep both cards in the same pocket, some do not. Just cuz he reached for one pocket b4 the other means nothing.

    • That was an ugly, dangerous tackle. Any time you come straight through the front of someone’s shins, it’s a red card. Mr. Salazar appeared to reach for this chest pocket out of habit but then appeared to check himself and go for his back pocket. I’m guessing he had thought red but had to consciously move his arm to the correct pocket.

      • Maybe you guys arej right. I certainly dont have a problem with the red. But as a former basketball referee, i do have a problem with guys who allow others in their heads. Thats was my firat thought upon seeing the play. Personally, i dont care who wins the game. Just watching to enjoy the game. Thanks for your input.

    • I know a Ref could never do it then because he scored but next time that defender fouls someone show him a yellow. He cleannnnned out Dwyer, he totally didn’t expect the man to just murder that ball like that.


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