Last night at Livestrong Sporting Park, Sporting KC took care of business against the Philadelphia Union, winning 2-1 to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. With their current point total, the only way that Sporting KC will travel for MLS Cup, should they make it, would be if San Jose makes the cup from the West. The match though was not a ringing endorsement for the team, although to be fair, needing only a draw I'm not sure KC wanted to take too many chances and the Union were looking to play spoiler.
The first half was lacking a lot when it came to chances, neither team really impressed a whole lot. It wasn't until the 35th minute when one of the teams created a really threatening chance, and that came through the Union. A chipped ball over the top of KC's defense found Jack McInerney, who'd gotten in behind, with his first touch, McInerney attempted to chip Jimmy Nielsen who'd come off his line, but the ball bounced wide of the goal keeping the game scoreless. KC though was the aggressor during the half and in the 38th it took a good save from Zach MacMath to keep it scoreless. Julio Cesar collected a long corner from Graham Zusi and cut inside by the end line. His cross into the middle found CJ Sapong who one timed his shot, but MacMath made a good kick save. In the 40th though KC found the goal. Kei Kamara and Sapong combined on a give and go down the line, Kamara then crossed it into the middle for Jacob Peterson, who'd gotten a step on his man and Peterson one timed his shot past MacMath to give KC the lead. In stoppage time KC almost made it 2-0 through Zusi twice. Sapong collected a long throw and turned Carlos Valdes along the endline, getting past the center back. Sapong laid it back to Zusi. MacMath saved Zusi's first effort but the rebound fell right back to him, but MacMath made a kick save on the second attempt to keep it 1-0.
In the second half though the Union came out pushing the game and earned themselves a penalty through Danny Cruz. Cruz took on Seth Sinovic and Julio Cesar causing both to miss on challenges, the third challenge came from Matt Besler in the box and Besler got Cruz and referee Ismail Elfath pointed right to the spot. Michael Farfan stepped up for the Union and fired the ball low to Nielsen's left, but Nielsen did a good job getting down to save the penalty. Unfortunately, the first to react was Union forward, Antoine Hoppenot who scored to make it 1-1. After the goal it was actually the Union that looked more likely to find a second, in the 57th they were saved by the wood work as a long cross from Cruz found McInerney who headed the ball towards goal. Nielsen threw his hands up seeming to think the ball was going wide, but instead the ball bounced off the post and back into play. Shortly after that, Keon Daniel hit the post after cutting around two KC defenders and KC was well back on their heals. KC started to get back into the game, but really weren't able to create real dangerous chances. In the 82nd though, KC Kamara took the game on his shoulders and created the winner for KC. Winning a loose ball at midfield, Kamara dribbled past a few Union defenders and then headed towards goal. As he got close to the box, Kamara slid the ball through for Sapong who raced into the box. Sapong fired the ball past MacMath and into the net giving KC the 2-1 lead. A brilliant ball and a great run by Kamara to create the winner. KC held on and took care of business at home, even though they didn't look as impressive doing it, but they'll take the top spot.
Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - Set up both goals last night and had a very solid game all around. He's now contributed on 19 goals this year (11 goals, 8 assists) one behind Zusi's 20 (5 goals 15 assists).
Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Sinovic 5, Collin 5, Besler 5, Myers 6, Cesar 6, Nagamura 5, Joseph 6, Kamara 8, Sapong 7, Zusi 6. Subs Peterson 6, Rosell 6, Olum NR.