Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Union will head to
Sporting Park to take on Sporting Kansas City on Friday in a match that could
have major playoff implications.
The Union enter the contest on the outside of the postseason picture,
occupying seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 39 points.
Sporting has been in and out of first place in the East over the course of the
season, but could go level with Red Bull New York atop the division with
maximum points against Philadelphia.
Kansas City extended its winning streak to three games on Saturday by picking
up a 2-1 defeat of Toronto FC. C.J. Sapong netted a brace in the affair,
giving the former James Madison University striker Sporting's last three
goals, all of which have come from headers off of crosses.
"He was very important to how we wanted to play," Sporting head coach Peter
Vermes said. "Obviously, two great goals over the course of the game. He was
tremendous in that regard, but it's not just that. It's everything on both
sides of the ball. He's becoming a handful for players to play against. That's
But while Sporting is trending upward in its playoff push, Philadelphia has
plummeted. The Union are winless in their last five league contests, their
worst stretch of the season. They have taken just two points during its poor
five-game run, and their 1-0 home loss to the Houston Dynamo last time out
marked the fourth time in their last five outings at PPL Park in which they
have failed to get maximum points.
"It has been a really bad stretch for us and this night is going to be a
really difficult to accept," Union head coach John Hackworth said after the
loss to Houston. "There is no question that effort of the group was fantastic
and their competitiveness showed right from the get-go.
"They put a lot into this game and it is unfortunate that we are sitting here
talking about this result but that's sports and as I said it's cruel
The Union have gone a club-record 310 minutes since scoring a goal, failing to
strike in three consecutive games. Their last goal came Aug. 25 in a 5-1 loss
to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium, the only goal they've
managed to score over the current winless run.
A Union victory at Sporting Park would catapult Philadelphia into fifth place,
at least until the Revolution, currently in fifth place, host the Dynamo and
the sixth-place Chicago Fire host the Montreal Impact on Saturday.
The Sports Network