The Philadelphia Union opened the season with a dream start as Sébastien Le Toux found the back of the net in the 17th minute. Le Toux’s goal was set up from an in-swinging cross from Keon Daniel. The flashy Frenchman settled the ball at the penalty kick spot then one touch later placed the ball into lower right corner of the goal. The shot was too hard for a diving Jimmy Nielsen, the KC keeper did manage to get a hand to the ball. It seemed like old times at PPL Park as Le Toux saluted the crowd by miming a heart in the air and pointing to the stands. It seemed like the stars were aligned for Le Toux and the Union.
Five minutes after the goal that gave Philadelphia a 1-0, the Union looked to make it 2-0. Philadelphia defender Sheanon Williams broke down the right wing and crossed a low pass across the mouth of KC’s box to Le Toux, but the streaking front man sent his shot two feet wide of the goal. Missing that goal seemed to change the flow of the game and it woke up Sporting KC.
Sporting KC realized they were on the ropes and about to be knocked out. They didn’t panic but managed to keep the score 1-0 and weather Philly’s attack. KC’s luck changed a few minutes before halftime as Graham Zusi’s goal made it 1-1. Benny Feilhaber rocked a shot right at Union’s keeper Zac MacMath, but Zusi was there to clean up the rebound and level the score.
The second half belonged to KC as the club imposed their size & skill, they out played Philadelphia on all levels of the game. Zusi battled with Union defender Ray Gaddis all game, but in the 66th minute he floated a free kick to Orial Rosell that put he put away to make it 2-1 in Sporting KC’s favor.
Philadelphia tried to recover, but couldn’t get back into the game that they once controlled. The situation only worsened in the 83rd minute as KC put the nail in the coffin with a goal from Claudio Bieler. The Union fought hard in the last minutes but had trouble getting any true looks on goal.
During the post game presser Union manager John Hackworth looked as deflated as his club on the pitch. His tune alone told the story of a team that had a chance to walk into halftime with a 2-0 lead and all the momentum, to a team that was totally out played and pushed around the second half. Hackworth said, “We feel like we let the fans down……we let ourselves down.”
Philadelphia has a week to hit the reset button. The club will head west to face the Colorado Rapids next Saturday at 6:00 PM EST. Philly Sports Live’s own Julian Brown will be on hand in Denver covering the game.