Sporting KC beat Union to clinch first place in East

Sporting Kansas City needed just a point to secure first place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday night, but after turning in a below-par performance against the New York Red Bulls last weekend, the East leaders needed a strong outing to give them some momentum heading into the playoffs.

C.J. Sapong helped end Sporting’s regular season in style, notching a second-half game-winning goal to help give Sporting KC a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union at LiveStrong Sporting Park.

The win secured the No. 1 seed for KC, which will now have ten days to rest and recover before making their run at the MLS Cup Final.

The visiting Union gave Sporting KC trouble, particularly in the second half as the mobility of Jack McInerney and second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot caused problems for the home side. Hoppenot pounced on a saved penalty kick to give the Union hope with a 53rd-minute equalizer, but Sapong secured all three points when he raced onto a Kei Kamara pass in the 83rd minute.

Kamara orchestrated both Sporting KC goals on the night, including the perfect cross to Jacob Peterson for the game’s opening goal in the 40th minute. Graham Zusi nearly gave Sporting a two-goal lead just before halftime only to have Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath keep the Union close with a pair of quality saves to deny the U.S. national team midfielder.

The Union played without Freddy Adu, who did not make the trip to Kansas City for undisclosed reasons (Coach’s decision was the official explanation for the playmaker’s absence).

Philadelphia will close out the season on Saturday at PPL Park against the New York Red Bulls.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Union’s second-half rally? See Sporting KC as the clear-cut favorite to be the East’s representative in the MLS Cup Final?

Share your thoughts below.

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23 Responses to Sporting KC beat Union to clinch first place in East

  1. PD says:

    This just might be b/c of Adu’s lack of stability eith gormer clubs or me still traumatized by all the trades at the beginning of the season, but I will be very surprised if Adu is in blue and gold next season. Between his spotty match readiness and coach’s decision scratches, the fact that younger players who are clearly in Hackeorth’s graces (Jack Mac and Okugo) will need to see their contracts extended and increased, and the need for Philly to acquire at least two or three vet-type players (one of whom needs to be a bona-fide scorer), losing Adu frees up a lot of cash for them.

    This is a shame, because I do not think Marfan is the answer in that central playmaking role, even though it seems like that’s what the team has settled on.

    Oh and Ives, I caught a bit of you on the Union pre-match radio show the 90th minute on AM 610. It was awesome to hear you!

    • bizzy says:

      That’ll be the best for both parties. Adu with DC, Seattle, SJ etc and we would we would be singing a different time. Philly’s finishing is poor…really poor. It was quite evident in the PHI VS SKC game. 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper, near perfect crosses by Daniel Cruz…..chances just wasted. Adu’s attributes would be really appreciated if the forward on his team can finish….Wondo, Lenhart, Eddie J, Montero, Keene, Donovan, Buddle, Henry, Cooper, Sapong, Kei Kamara etc…wow. you can take the best MF in MLS and put him on the Union roster and he’s not going to make an impact…..in assists or goals

      • bizzy says:

        Adu is going to be like Dero….Toronto, NYRB, then DC…..teams were bouncing him around til He found a team willing to build around him then He bloomed into one of the best players in MLS

        • Paddy Megroyn says:

          One flaw in your analogy is that DeRo always produced wherever he went and Adu hasn’t. And I love Freddy, but he’s just way too inconsistent to build your team around.

          • PD in Philly says:

            Sadly I have to agree with this: there’s what you say you can do, there’s what the world thinks you can do, and then there’s what you actually do week in and week out. I’ve said before that Adu is at a “put up or shut up” point in his career. More than goals and assists, “put up” for him means being there week in and week out in training and on match day giving 110 percent: first one there, last one quitting. Granted, a lot of that is stuff we as fans don’t see, so we only have to go on impressions given by coaches and fellow players, but no one has really said any of this kind of stuff in praise of Freddy in the Philly camp.

            I was hoping that this season would see Adu become a regular starter, 75-90+ minutes a game. Yes he generated a lot of chances that other folks failed to finish, but the end result is still that he is not leading this team, and frankly judging by the body language I see when he is involved in a goal, no one really seems to connect to him. It doesn’t really mater whose fault that is, the reality is it’s not happening, and I’m beginning to wonder if Hackworth and the front office will think they can afford to give it another year to gel when other (and cheaper) players are clearly offering a level of consistency (if not the same level of talent) that Adu has not provided.

            I was hoping that Freddy’s ascendency would happen in Philly, and I’m still hopeful. But we haven’t seen it yet.

            • bizzy says:

              wow PD….there is no comeback for that, “put up or shut up”……I guess Freddy has to give us fans something to be hopeful for and not just because of “what we think you can do” (I like that Analogy)…..we’ll just have to wait and see..lol

          • bizzy says:

            He didn’t produce in NY, thats why they got rid of him…..in exchange for DAX McCarthy….lol

        • Andy says:

          Two MLS cups and an MLS Cup MVP with Houston before that though. I think that was where he blossomed.

          • DaleDynamo says:

            He was doing pretty well in San Jose before coming to Houston as well. Putting DeRo in this conversation about Adu seems really disrespectful to DeRo given what he has accomplished.

            • bizzy says:

              No disrespect to Dero, I’m a DC united fan. The man is one of the best players currently in MLS. the Point I’m bring up is when he join san jose he was 22 Adu’s age, from the richmond kickers. Adu is 23 and has played on better teams than Dero(34) has his whole career, so he still has time on his side.
              2001–2005 San Jose Earthquakes (108) appearances
              2006–2008 Houston Dynamo (78)
              2009–2011 Toronto FC (57)
              2011 New York Red Bulls (13)
              2011– D.C. United
              Its shows that your style of play has to fit a team, no matter how good you are….how does Toronto, then Red Bulls get rid of a player with the class of Dero??? Even Houston just after 2 years…..

  2. James says:

    Jack Mac for Gold Cup 2013.

  3. Bobeto says:

    Would some team allow Freddy to play the entire match? He is a young kid with way too much talent to be pulled in the 70th min. Freddy, go to a team like RSL, KC, DAL where you have support and play next to players that can put away your quality crosses….Freddy can thrive (like Eddy Johnson) with a coach that lets him make mistakes but appreciates his skills and what he brings to the rest of the team….Get out of Philly, Freddy….We need you on that WC Team in 2014…..

    • Rowsdower says:

      Just a thought, maybe there is a reason Adu bounces around teams all the time.. he’s not what you think he is.

  4. Liga says:

    They are doing to Adu what they did to the LeToux, the Dragon and the captain CB whose name I can never remember.

    • PD in Philly says:

      Danny Califf.

      As for your suggestion that Adu is part of that lot… there is a rationale to the fact that Adu was brought in by Nowak, so maybe he’s the last of bunch of players that need to be flushed from the system that was put in place by PN in order for this to be Hackworth’s team, but don’t forget it was the mad Pole himself that saw Mondragon head back to Columbia and then booted Califf, Seba and Mwanga shortly thereafter. That was the situation Hackworth inherited.

  5. elgringorico says:

    This DC fan really liked seeing Neilsen shaky in goal

    • Josh says:

      This SKC fan doesn’t know where you saw Neilsen shaky in goal. Outside of a misjudged shot off the post, he didn’t make any big mistakes. Even the goal was after a saved PK

  6. koko says:

    Too much time has been spent on Adu. Let me repeat what I’ve said 1000x before.

    -He’s a natural CAM … simple as that. He needs freedom and the ability to freelance with minimal defensive responsibilities. At the U20s, Rongen played him is that role and he was simply dominant.

    What went wrong …

    -Adu has terrible training habits and this has been documented at each of his stops. In Europe, if you don’t train well … you don’t play. He needs to act as a pro if he wants to be treated as an elite player.

    -He’s clearly not even close to being 90 min fit. The guy runs out of steam and labors after 10-15 mins. Compare him to some of the great CAMs that have ridiculous engines. I’m not sure Adu has ever properly pushed himself in terms of truly becoming fit.

    When you put the above 2 comments together, it comes down to trust. I don’t think too many managers are confident with Adu as the general of their team. Would you be?

    • PD in Philly says:

      well observed.

    • DaleDynamo says:

      No. I would not be confident handing the keys of my team to Adu. And this coming from a supporter of a team with no CAMs. I would prefer our current 2 CDM lineup to that alternative.

  7. Al says:

    What I will never understand is why most of these poster’s act as if this is a one man show when it comes to ADU. Last time I checked, this was a team game, the Union are MEDIOCRE as a whole. Sure adu had his moments of inconsistency, but answer me this, what player on the team did not, and still are not in form yet get 70+ min?

    It seems to me that Hackworth and others have ADU tip toeing on egg shells, one bad pass and he’s out. That is not how you help a player regain confidence and form. Hackworth is a Dick, just look at him, and the man spews of arrogance and ego. Adu is one of the best players he has, and lets face it, hackworth and others resent the fact that he makes so much money.

  8. Joe says:

    19 posts and all but 3 center on a player that didn’t even travel to the match?

    KC was flat – really missing Espinoza in midfield, Union should have been up in second half, agree with SKC fan’s comments on Neilsen, That’s all.