One point was enough for both sides during this midweek MLS match, with both keeping streaks going with the draw.Philadelphia Union dominated the visiting Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park in a match that resulted in a 0-0 draw in front of a raucous crowd of 18,127. Kansas City came into the match unbeaten in its last five matches, and Philadelphia came into the match undefeated at home all season. The landscape was ripe for a significant and impactful result, but in the end each club walked away with one point.
After starting the first half in a relative stalemate, Philadelphia dictated the tempo for the remainder of the half. In the 20th minute, Harvey and McInerney each traded attempts right in front of the net, marking Philadelphia’s first scoring threats of the match. From this point onward in the half, Philadelphia was on the attack.
Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen had his first hard work of the match in the 24th minute fending off a shot on goal from defender Sheanon Williams. Minutes later, Kansas City defender Julio Cesar was issued a yellow card, which was followed by a free kick by Carlos Ruiz that sailed into Nielsen’s arms.
By the end of the first half, Kansas City managed five shots, none of which were on goal, compared to Philadelphia’s 11 shots, four of which were on goal. Kansas City’s midfield, led by Birahim Diop, kept the defensive pressure up at the end of the half by effectively stripping possession away during key moments. Without the defensive efforts from Kansas City in the midfield, Philadelphia likely would have strung together even more chances before heading into the locker rooms.
The second half was a similar story, with Philadelphia on the offensive and Kansas City seemingly backpedaling most of the time. In the opening moments of the second half, however, Kansas City did maintain possession in Philadelphia’s penalty area for several minutes but no shots materialized due to strong defensive efforts from Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes.
Near the hour mark Philadelphia manager Peter Nowak brought in Keon Daniel and Amobi Okugo for Jack McInerney and recent signee Veljiko Paunovic. To answer back, Kansas City manager Peter Vermes sent in Michael Harrington for Omar Bravo.
Philadelphia forward Sebastien Le Toux took a soft shot on goal in the 65th minute that was handled easily by Nielsen. Philadelphia kept attacking after the substitutions were made but Kansas City’s defense stayed strong throughout the offensive thanks to a few sliding defensive stops by defender Chance Myers.
A well-timed pass by Le Toux was headed by Carlos Ruiz in the 72nd minute, but just hit off the crossbar. A sensational save by Kansas City defender Julio Cesar prevented Keon Daniels from completing his cross in the 82nd minute, blocking a potential scoring opportunity. Kansas City’s defense stood tough in the closing moments of the game, as Nielsen stopped Okugo’s attempt from 20 yards in front of the net to close out the match.
Despite Philadelphia’s dominance on offense, they weren’t able to net any goals. Defender Danny Califf lamented the club’s lack of ability to finish, saying, "It's really frustrating to completely dominate the game and to feel like you gave away points."
Looking ahead to their match at home this weekend against Chivas USA, the club is determined to put this match behind them and focus on the challenge ahead, despite having only a few days rest.
"We're going to take these next two days, get our regeneration and get ready for Saturday as best we can," said Sheanon Williams.
Philadelphia will be taking on the struggling Chivas USA this weekend at home in PPL Park. Chivas is coming off a loss to FC Dallas and will surely be looking to bounce back when it visits PPL Park.
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