Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Desperate for a victory and some help, the
Philadelphia Union close out the regular season on Saturday against Sporting
Kansas City at PPL Park.
Philadelphia enters the match in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 46
points. Following a disappointing 2-1 loss to Montreal last week, the Union
need to beat Sporting and hope for some help from other results on Sunday if
they want to make the postseason for the second time in franchise history.
Last time out, the Union started well in a hostile environment at Stade Saputo
when Union midfielder Fabinho collected a loose ball on the left flank and
ripped a shot from a tough angle that beat Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins to
the near post to give Philadelphia the lead in the 29th minute.
But Montreal roared back in the second half, finding the equalizer through
Marco Di Vaio's 20th goal of the season and the Impact, who entered the match
riding a three-game home losing streak, netted the winner six minutes from
time via a Karl Ouimette goal.
"Giving up two goals like that is unlucky for us -- we have to do better,"
said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. "We should've tried to get a better control
of the game in the second half because I thought we played a very solid first
half. It should have been us dictating the game ourselves and not [Montreal]
dictating that last 45 minutes."
"We played a good first half," added Union forward Conor Casey. "But in the
second half they threw numbers forward and made it tough. I did think we had a
couple of decent chances in the second half as well we just weren't able to
put one away."
The result means in order for the Union to sneak into the playoffs, they need
to beat Sporting Kansas City and hope that New England loses to Columbus and
Houston loses to D.C. United on Sunday.
Sporting, meanwhile, has already clinched a spot in the postseason and is
battling for the Supporters' Shield. Sporting is one point behind Red Bull New
York and Real Salt Lake.
Last time out, Sporting managed to claim a 1-0 victory over D.C. United at
Sporting Park through a seventh-minute goal from Dominic Dwyer.
"That was a massive result for us. It's not easy playing anyone in this
league, and when you go up against a team that has absolutely nothing to lose
at this time of the year, it's never an easy game," Sporting Kansas City
manager Peter Vermes said. "There's no doubt this wasn't one of our best
performances of the year, but at the end of the day we found a way to win, get
three points, and keep the pressure on the other teams. We solidify first or
second (in the Eastern Conference), which is huge for us going into the
playoffs. From that perspective, it was excellent."
"It was a tough game. We were a little sloppy here and there," Dwyer added.
"We controlled the game, but it still wasn't a great performance. We got the
job done, and in a lot of games we've played really well and not got the
points we deserved. So we'll take three points all day."
The Sports Network