Union Settle For a Point at Home
After a long 61-minute delay due to heavy thunderstorm warnings in the Chester area, which kept fans hidden on the concourse, the Union took to the field and kicked off the match.
(Photo courtesy of inquirer.com/soccer/philadelphia-union-sporting-kansas-city)
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake, Matt Real, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel (Olivier Mbaizo), Jose Martinez (Joaquin Torres), Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn), Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre (Quinn Sullivan), Julian Carranza
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia, Robert Voloder, Robert Castellanos, Daniel Rosero, Graham Zusi, Eric Thommy, Nemanja Radoja (Roger Espinoza), Remi Walter, Daniel Salloi, Willy Agada (Alan Pulido), Johnny Russell (Khiry Shelton)
Goal Scoring Summary:
First Half Recap:
The Union came into the game seeking an early breakthrough and almost thought that they were awarded a penalty in the opening minutes after Gazdag's shot deflected off a Kansas City defender. From that moment on, Sporting Kansas City started to control the tempo in midfield. This spell of possession led to numerous corner kick attempts for Kansas City, which were all blocked out by the Union's defense.
Willy Agada received a yellow card after a hard tackle on the Union's Jose Martinez. Soon after, Nathan Harriel went into the book with an alleged handball call. Sporting Kansas City attacked and found chances by means of Daniel Rosero and Eric Thommy, but did not result in any trouble for Andre Blake. Eric Thommy whipped in a cross that Rosero headed towards goal, but again was saved by Blake. A poor giveaway by Gazdag resulted in him dragging down the opposition and receiving a yellow card. The Union ended the first half with zero shots on net.
Second Half Recap:
Nothing much happened in the early-goings of the second half. Around the fifty-third minute Carranza sprung Uhre through on goal who was denied by a lunging Tim Melia. The Union were awarded a free kick in the sixtieth minute, which saw Real make contact forcing a save out of Melia. Jack McGlynn replaced Leon Flach towards the hour mark and immediately started to dictate the tempo in midfield. A lofted through-ball over the top latched on to Carranza's chest, but Voloder recovered well.
Some more chances by Russell and Zusi tested Andre Blake in the second half. Jose Martinez was handed a yellow in the seventy-second minute for persistent infringement. The Union pushed for a winner late on with a long range attempt by Gazdag, grazing the fingertips of Melia as it went out for a corner. An acrobatic attempt from Carranza was the Union's last major attempt, which gave Union fans flashbacks of him versus DC United last year.
4 Points to Note:
Having Andre Blake back was amazing to see, but almost cost the Union the game. Recovering from a grade one groin injury, Curtin didn't want to re-aggrevate it any more, so he had Blake basically not kick the ball far at all. Glesnes took most of the goal kicks. Blake playing out of the back was a scary sight as it led to many poor turnovers to the opposition.
Leon Flach was invisible yet again. Jim Curtin decided to start Flach yet again and Flach was not able to offer much offensively. I would have loved to see Andres Perea start in place of him and was shocked when Curtin did not even sub him on.
Jakob Glesnes was excellent. This was one of the best games I have ever seen him play in the Blue and Gold. He was everywhere. He timed every tackle well and was able to lock down Willy Agada and Alan Pulido all game long.
Matt Real is nothing like Kai Wagner. The Union sure are going to miss Kai Wagner a lot as he contributes to so much of the Union's attacking and defensive success. Without Wagner, Real was faced with the tough task of Johnny Russell. real did fairly well, but fouled him multiple times in the process. Real was not accustomed to Kansas City's long switches throughout the game.
My Player Ratings:
Andre Blake: 5
Matt Real: 4
Jack Elliott: 7
Jakob Glesnes: 9
Nathan Harriel: 6
Jose Martinez: 8
Leon Flach: 2
Alejandro Bedoya: 6
Daniel Gazdag: 5
Mikael Uhre: 5
Julian Carranza: 6
The Union return home to Subaru Park on Tuesday, April 4th, to take on Atlas in the Concacaf Champions league at 8:00 PM ET before traveling to Cincinnati, to take on top-of-the-table FC Cincinnati on Saturday, April 8th, at 7:30 PM ET.