KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Sporting Kansas City were in no mood to sugarcoat things, and nobody was more succinct than defender and captain Matt Besler.
“We played like crap. We didn't play well,” Besler told reporters after Wednesday night's 2-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Union. “That's the frustrating part about the game. We can play like we do one week and then come out tonight and play like we did tonight. It's just frustrating, because it's up and down like that.
“Credit to Philadelphia, because they came in with a game plan,” he went on. “They worked. We didn't work as hard as them. They wanted it more, and they came away and beat us at our own place.”
Sporting were coming off a dominating 3-0 win over Montreal on Saturday and had five shutouts in their first nine matches, while the Union hadn't won in nine straight before Wednesday night.
“Maybe they thought we were playing that game on Saturday still, in Montreal,” manager Peter Vermes said in his postmatch news conference. “I don't know. We just didn't have the juice that we normally have. I'll have to go back and look at the training that we've done over the last couple of days. It was pretty easy in regards to getting back and recovered and regenerated for this game. But we lacked the pop that we normally have.”
Sporting were trying to rack up three more points in their last match before Besler and winger Graham Zusi join the US national team for the World Cup in Brazil. Even one would have given them sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, and they looked to have that in hand when Dom Dwyer hit a top-shelf rocket in the 80th minute to bring the score level at 1-1.
Kansas City let up for a moment just after that score, though, and paid for it at the other end when Philadelphia's Cristian Maidana put his game-winner just inside the far post in the 81st minute.
“It's a tough game,” said Dwyer, who leads Kansas City with seven goals and has five in his last four games. “We should be picking up points at home, so we're disappointed right now. But obviously, it's nice to have another game this week [on Sunday at Chicago]. We can have a day off tomorrow, then go back to training and be fresh and ready for Sunday.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.