Photo: Earl Gardner
Not finishing some gilt-edged chances, a blown call, giving up a late goal—it was a familiar refrain as the Philadelphia Union fell 2–1 to Eastern Conference champs Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night.
“It’s kind of been our story all year,” said John Hackworth.
Down 1–0, Hackworth took out Gabriel Gomez for Antoine Hoppenot. Hackworth explained, “To his credit, Gomez played well in the first half [?!?] but we felt like Kansas City was playing a high line and we thought we could go behind them with Antoine. We pushed Jack [McInerney] up along next to him. It was a little bit of a gamble but when you’re down 1-0, you’ve got nothing to lose.”
Antoine Hoppenot’s goal ended KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s chance to equal Tony Meola’s record of 16 clean sheets in a season. Nielsen said after the game, “It was a weird game to play, with all the respect for Philadelphia, but they were all over the place. I don’t want to say they were unorganized, but you could feel they didn’t have anything to play for they risked it a little bit more and were maybe a little more lousy on their defending. It was a very, very weird game to play.”
With the win, Kansas City, now unbeaten in 12 games, clinched the Eastern Conference title for the second year in a row.
Recaps and reports from PSP, the Union website, MLSsoccer.com, Philly Soccer News, the Brotherly Game, Kansas City Star, SB Nation Kansas City, The Daily Wiz, ProSoccerTalk, SB Nation, The Sports Network, and the AP.
Kansas City Star also has a photo gallery of the game.
Kansas City manager Peter Vermes says his club has set “a standard of excellence.”
Jimmy McLaughlin made his professional debut in the game. “It’s something that I’ll never forget,” he said, “I just wish it came with a win.”
There’s little time for rest for the Union, who play New York in the season final at PPL Park on Saturday. Hackworth said, “We have to recover. This has been our second game in four days. We’ve got some tired bodies in there- mentally and physically. We’re a little banged up- we’ve got some injuries. We’ve got to regenerate. I know we will be ready for New York on Saturday.”
Hoppenot said, “We’re used to it. We’ve had a lot of quick turnarounds. We know what we need to do and we will be ready for Saturday.”
Amobi Okugo added, “New York is a rivalry game. We haven’t beat them this season so we have to give the home fans something to remember going into offseason and to build into next season. We have to get out of this slump that we’ve been in with two road losses and it’s going to be good to end the season at home against one of our rivals.”
Whether Freddy Adu, left of the roster for KC by “a coaches decision,” will play on Saturday remains to be seen, but the game will be the last chance for some Union players to show they ought to be here in 2013. “At the end of the year, the analysis of our current roster is something we’ll look at very carefully,” Hackworth said. “Guys who have performed well for us but might not be the answer down the road…It’s our last look at the guys on our current roster and you can’t overstate that. There are some tough decisions we have to make in that locker room.”
Former Union favorite Sebastien Le Toux hasn’t been seeing many minutes with New York but he’s looking forward to coming to PPL Park on Saturday. “I know I have lots of friends and family that are going to come see me if I have a chance to play,” said Le Toux. “Of course, it’s always a special place for me to play. It’s where I loved to play before I got moved everywhere this year. But it’s a special place for me and I’m always very happy to go back over there.”
Drexel midfielder Nathan Page was named Philly Soccer Six Player of the Week, and Drexel goalkeeper Tim Washam was named Defender of the Week, for the second week in a row. St. Jo’s Tim Lazorko was named Rookie of the Week.
Lansdale Catholic defeated Archbishop Wood 2–0 in the semifinals of the Philadelphia Catholic League girls’ soccer championship to end Wood’s three-year run as champions.
Despite reports to the contrary, the Columbus Crew says the Hunt family is not looking to sell the team.
It looks like Robin Fraser’s time as manager at Chivas USA is nearing its end.
MLS Talk looks at the history of the Supporters Shield, which “still has few guarantees and little significance.”
New England’s Zak Boggs is leaving MLS after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship to do cancer research at Leicester University in England.
It’s official: the 2016 Copa America will be held in the US and the US is an automatic entrant.
At the Four Nations Tournament in Argentina, the USMNT’ U-17s defeated Chile 5–1 on Tuesday. They face Argentina today.
Manchester United will open offices in the US.