The big talking point of tonight's game for Kansas City fans won't be the result, but will instead be the refereeing, a missed call in the first half and a questionable red card in the second half highlighted the 2-0 loss for Sporting KC. Unfortunately the refereeing decisions will take away from another aimless performance by the Kansas City offense that recorded just two shots on goal, one of those coming in the fourth minute of added time.
From the start Kansas City looked like a team that was on their fifth game in 15 days in five different cities, the Philadelphia Union kept Sporting pinned in their own end for a decent part of the first half. In just the ninth minute, Tranquillo Barnetta fired a shot from outside the box that Alec Kann had to palm away to keep the Union off the board. The Union continued the pressure with Fabinho having a good time early on against Saad Abdul-Salaam on KC's right side, but the Union weren't able to capitalize. For the most part though the first half was pretty uneventful in terms of chances for either side. The biggest point of the half was a refereeing decsion in the 20th minute when Juan Guzman didn't call a foul on Philadelphia's Fabian Herbers for a high boot, instead calling a slide tackle seconds later by Jimmy Medranda and giving Roger Espinoza and Medranda yellow cards for dissent and the challenge.
Things turned bad for Sporting KC just before the hour mark as Medranda brought down Keegan Rosenberry on a give and go pass in KC's defensive third. Medranda was given his second yellow and his marching orders putting Kansas City down to 10 men with 30 minutes to go. Down a man KC actually almost went up a goal as Dom Dwyer did all the work himself in the 65th receiving a long ball and creating space before pushing a shot just wide of the far post. Unfortunately for KC the man advantage worked in Philadelphia's favor in the 67th minute as Roland Alberg got space at the top of the box and curled a shot into the far post upper 90 to give the Union the 1-0 lead that they arguably deserved after their play early on. Down a man and a goal KC still tried to push forward looking to equalize, in the 83rd minute, Espinoza curled a shot just wide of Andre Blake's post that would have equaled the beauty of Alberg's goal, but the Union remained up 1-0. Philadelphia came down the other way and Kann came up with a huge save after a low cross into the box was redirected on goal by Alberg, but the Sporting KC goalkeeper got a piece of his body on it and deflected it over the bar for a corner. Things got worse for Sporting KC in the 87th minute when Espinoza was given a straight red card for what appeared to be an elbow to Alberg, but after reviewing replays it seemed Espinoza was just trying to hold the Philadelphia player back, Peter Vermes has already said the club will appeal the red card to Espinoza before their game against Houston. With a two man advantage, the Union doubled their lead in stoppage time as Alberg played Barnetta in on goal and he beat Kann to make it 2-0 for Philadelphia. Sporting will now get a break before they take on the Hosuton Dynamo at Children's Mercy Park in September.
Wizards Man of the Match - Alec Kann - Made six saves for Sporting tonight to keep Kansas City in the game, the save on Alberg in the second half was absolutely amazing.
Player Ratings - Kann 8, Abdul-Salaam 5, Besler 5, Opara 5, Medranda 4, Mustivar 4, Espinoza 5, Feilhaber 5, Zusi 4, Dwyer 4, Peterson 3. Subs Alvarado 4, Davis 5, Rubio NR.