The Union coach will sleep easier after his team showed grit to take an impressive three points in Kansas.The Philadelphia Union eased the pressure on head coach John Hackworth, snapping a nine-game winless streak with a 2-1 win away to defending MLS Cup champion and Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City.
Philadelphia impressed with some dangerous counter-attacking soccer in a scoreless first half. Danny Cruz was a constant presence with his running, and saw a hard shot pushed around the post by KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg. KC had more of the possession but didn't translate the advantage into as many chances as might be expected. Its two good looks at goal were denied be the quick reflexes of Zac MacMath.
The Union broke the deadlock just after halftime. Christian Maidana's effort at the near post was saved and deflected into the middle, and Cruz charged into the box, overpowering Seth Sinovic and poking a shot home.
Dom Dwyer equalized with a goal for Sporting in the 80th minute. Running onto a ball from Pablo Nagamura, Dwyer unleashed a powerful shot that flew over MacMath and into the top corner from outside the penalty area.
The parity lasted for just seconds. Cruz's run down the right found Philadelphia players in the box. Some strong hold-up play from Andrew Wenger drew a swarm of defenders, and shouldering off Lawrence Olum and turning, he found Maidana unmarked and it was a simple shot to restore Philly's advantage.
Things got a little more uncomfortable for Philly late on. Barely 90 seconds after making his Union debut as a time-wasting substitute, Corben Bone was shown a straight red card for a studs-up tackle on Jacob Peterson just before the end of regulation time.
The Union jump to seventh in the East with a 2-5-5 record, but Philly has played more games than any other team in MLS so far this season. Kansas City's record goes to 5-3-2, although Sporting still leads the Eastern Conference.