MLS: Philadelphia Union pick up an important point on the road

Philadelphia Union extended their unbeaten streak to four games with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting KC

Dom Dwyer

On the day that Peter Vermes was inducted into Sporting KC’s Legends class, his players failed to extend their four-game winning streak. After a scoreless first half, Graham Zusi scored his third goal of the season and Brian Brown opened his MLS account.

Zac MacMath’s error in the 11th minute almost handed Sporting KC’s danger man Dom Dwyer his 15th goal of the season. MacMath — who might be playing his last game in the starting lineup because of Rais M’bolhi’s arrival — came out to gather a corner kick, but Dwyer beat him to it. The forward’s header was creeping into the far post, but a defender intervened before it crossed the line.

The game continued with both sides failing to test the goalkeepers. Sporting KC controlled the tempo of the game, but the center back pairing of Maurice Edu and Ethan White held their ground.

MacMath continued to look shaky when he decided not to catch a long range effort. He palmed the ball forward and it almost fell to an onrushing Dwyer. The goalkeeper was able to make a last dish effort and thumped the ball away from danger.

The Union’s first dangerous look at goal came a minute before the half hour mark. After a beautiful passing sequence, Raymond Gaddis sent in a low cross. Instead of tapping it in, Sheanon Williams tried to flick the ball in, but failed to make contact with the ball.

Late in the first half, Andy Gruenebaum acrobatically denied a free kick that was creeping into the upper 90. The veteran goalkeeper got his hands on Vincent Nogueira’s curling free kick.

In the final minute of the first period, both goalkeepers had to make huge saves with their legs. MacMath stood his ground and blocked Benny Feilhaber’s shot. Seconds later, Gruenebaum narrowed Williams’ angle by coming off his line and deflecting the defender’s shot.

Immediately after the interval, Philadelphia had another dangerous chance on a fast break. Danny Cruz sent Brian Carroll in on goal, but the captain’s shot was saved by Gruenebaum.

Sporting KC’s dominance paid off in the 54th minute. A wide open Zusi received a sublime pass inside the box and calmly passed it into the back net.

A minute later, Zusi was inches away from doubling Sporting KC’s lead. The midfielder found himself in acres of space after receiving a delightful pass from Dwyer. He tried to pick out the far post, but his shot drifted wide.

At the other end, Gruenebaum had to be alert to garner Casey’s header off a corner kick.

Minutes after Jamaican striker Brian Brown checked in for his second MLS game, the 21-year-old scored the equalizer. A decent cross was whipped in from the left side and Brown made no mistake with his close range header.

With the Union gaining more confidence, Dwyer had the perfect opportunity to sneak a goal past MacMath. Somehow the dangerous forward was left unmarked as a low cross was sent into the box. Dwyer made good contact with the ball from five yards out, but sent his shot high and wide.

In the first minute of stoppage time, there was a scramble for the ball inside Sporting KC’s box. Williams failed to get any power behind his shot and Gruenebaum was able to secure the ball.

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