Despite Sporting KC being unable to field a full roster of 18 players once again, they battled in the rain but were ultimately defeated by DC United 1-0.
Sporting had their moments and were able to keep it knotted at zero for most of the game, but the defense collapsed late and gave up the lone goal of the match.
Both sides prepared themselves for a high intensity match that was going to get messy at times. There were collisions and tackles everywhere you looked in the first half, creating an environment that showed how much each team wanted three points.
Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez, and Paul Arriola managed to set up a beautiful chance in the 28th minute inside the box, but Leonardo Jara missed the goal completely and shot over the top.
Just a few minutes later, Steven Birnbaum headed the ball towards goal after a corner from Wayne Rooney. Melia got his hands on the ball but was unable to get control of it right away which saw chaos near the goalie, but he finally managed to secure it and then clear.
In the 79th minute, SKC committed a foul that they felt should’ve gone the other way. Rather than wait to take the free kick, Wayne Rooney was fed the ball quickly who then played it to Paul Arriola. SKC right back Nicolas Hasler had been dealing with a sore back since the first half of play and was unable to cut back on Arriola. Arriola was then able to shoot around Hasler and Botond Barath, and SKC goalie Tim Melia just missed the ball as it curved past his hands.
Injuries have been the name of the game for SKC the past few weeks. Matt Besler has been sidelined with a hamstring strain and he certainly won’t be rushed back at all. Fellow USMNT member Graham Zusi has been dealing with an oblique injury. Erik Hurtado won’t be back until the end of May or June after having knee surgery, and Roger Espinoza was sidelined for two-to-three months after suffering a PCL injury. The list goes on and on. The injury bug struck again Sunday night with Hasler not being able to catch up with Arriola.
Despite the injuries though, both Daniel Salloi and Krisztian Nemeth had the chance to put the ball into the back of the net, but they both shot wide. The defense, which had been largely underachieving the last few games, stepped up and held their ground. Melia stopped several shots until Arriola in the 79th.
SKC gave United a final scare in stoppage time. Ulises Segura seemed to head the ball away after an SKC free kick, but the ball found SKC center back Graham Smith, but his header went wide.
SKC will return home with zero points, but also know they played a tight game with one of the leaders of the Eastern Conference. They’ll face against Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
United managed to draw with Toronto FC 0-0 Wednesday night and leapfrogged Philadelphia in the standings for first place. They also play Saturday night, but against the Houston Dynamo.
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