SPORTING KANSAS CITY Sporting Kansas City saw their four-game unbeaten streak come to crashing halt, falling to a 4-0 defeat by Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Sporting have 29 points from 13 matches, in third place in the Eastern Conference. LAST MATCH Union took the lead with the first opening-minute goal in club history. Raymon Gaddis chased down a long ball and played the ball across the face of goal, where Lionard Pajoy managed to keep the ball in play. Jack McInerney latched onto the loose ball lashing a shot into the back of the net from close range. McInerney showed off his poaching ability again just before the end of the first. A Freddy Adu service in the 43rd minute took a deflection and found defender Carlos Valdés, whose attempt on net was stopped. McInerney, though, was there to gobble up the rebound. Union made the lead 3-0 with about 20 minutes to play. Substitute Antoine Hoppenot made a nifty cutback move in the box and was taken down by SKC defender Aurélien Collin, drawing a penalty kick, which converted by Pajoy. Then, in the 87th minute, Hoppenot grabbed a goal of his own when Michael Farfan sent him in alone on goal, giving the forward time and space to loft a shot over KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made five changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Seth Sinovic came in at left back for Michael Harrington; Julio Cesar and Graham Zusi started in midfield for Michael Thomas and Peterson Joseph, and Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong started on the flanks for Soony Saad and Jacob Peterson. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Lawrence Olum, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic - Julio Cesar (Michael Thomas 64), Roger Espinoza (Jacob Peterson 84) - Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad 74) - Teal Bunbury. TEAM NEWS It was the first loss for Sporting since May 12, four games in league play and six games in all competitions. “We weren’t good. We just weren’t good tonight,” said Sporting manager Peter. “We were sluggish. That was the biggest thing. We just weren’t ready for the game. That’s my fault, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.” It was also the first shutout for SKC since a 2-0 home defeat by Montréal on May 5, which the second of backto-back shutout defeats. The game was the second in a two-game road trip for Sporting that began at midweek with a 1-1 draw in Seattle, followed by a cross-country flight to face Philadelphia. “I’m sure it had something to do with it, but I don’t want it to be the excuse,” he said. “I’m sure it was the culmination of quite a lot of things: going from Kansas City to the Pacific Northwest and then flying again, changing temperature by like 35 degrees. It’s a big thing. But at the end, we just didn’t play well. They were first to the ball on many occasions, and they scored the goals.” The four goals allowed by Sporting were the most since a 4-1 defeat by the LA Galaxy last May 14 in Carson. The last time KC had been defeated by as many as four goals came Aug. 1, 2009 in a 6-0 loss at FC Dallas. “That early goal put us in a hole,” Vermes said. “The one right before halftime hurt us and put us in deeper. It was just a lot to dig out of. We didn’t play well. The other team played better, and they deserved the three points." After ringing in the changes in Seattle, Vermes returned mainly to his first-choice lineup in Philadelphia. Kei Kamara made his first start since May 27, out of the first team for two games because of international duty. “We have a lot of depth on this team and we are good enough to play whether it is a week apart or three days apart. We just got a little bit unlucky tonight and they came out (the Union) and took care of their chances,” said Michael Thomas. “We just need to move on and get a couple results as quick as we can.” On Tuesday, Sporting advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 win against the USL PRO Dayton Dutch Lions in a quarterfinal at Livestrong Sporting Park. C.J. Sapong scored in the fifth and 59th minutes, while Graham Zusi netted in the 56th, sending Sporting on their way to a date with Philadelphia Union. Here’s the Sporting team: Jimmy Nielsen; Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler (Konrad Warzycha 68), Michael Harrington; Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph, Graham Zusi (Roger Espinoza 59); C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 74), Soony Saad, Jacob Peterson CHICAGO FIRE The Chicago Fire won for a second consecutive match, surviving playing a man down for an hour for a 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 15 games. LAST MATCH The Fire took the lead in just the second minute when Marco Pappa’s right-footed blast from 25 yards was too hot for Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and flew into the back of the net.
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