ExLink - 09/23/18 - PHIvSKC

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 30

Talen Energy Stadium — Chester
Sept. 23 — 1 pm ET

WATCH: ESPN, TSN2

Two teams who have lost just once in their last seven games clash at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Philadelphia Union host Sporting Kansas City.

The Union are coming off a 1-0 victory at CenturyLink Field Wednesday that snapped the Seattle Sounders' nine-game winning streak, while Sporting have won back-to-back games, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes, 5-1, last weekend.

Philadelphia have lost just one of their last six games against SKC (3W-2D). The Union have allowed Sporting to score multiple goals just once during that span, per Opta.

Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia (13-12-4) bounced back from a home loss to the Montreal Impact to hand the Sounders their first defeat since late June on Wednesday night.

The Union snapped the Sounders' nine-game winning streak and 12-game unbeaten run with a late winner by Fafa Picault, who picked off an errant Stefan Frei pass for the stoppage-time goal. It came just after Jack Elliott was sent off for his second bookable offense.

“Coming into a very difficult place to play, couldn’t be prouder of the guys to get a result here,” Jim Curtin said. “We talked a lot about the character of our team is going to be shown in how they respond after a difficult and disappointing performance against Montreal. And I think the players deserve a lot of credit for stepping up.”

  • Suspended: D - Jack Elliott
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Matt Real (left knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: M - Ilsinho (quad strain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Andre Blake — Keegan Rosenberry, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Raymon Gaddis — Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin — CJ Sapong, Borek Dockal, Fafa Picault — Cory Burke

  • Notes: With his goal on Wednesday, Picault became the eighth different Union player to score 8+ goals in an MLS season. … The Union have lost one time in their last seven games (5W-1D). Their one loss, however, was in their most recent home game, a 4-1 loss to Montreal.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting (15-7-6) moved to the top of the Western Conference standings with a comprehensive 5-1 win over San Jose Saturday night at Avaya Stadium.

Felipe Gutierrez, Gerso Fernandes and Ike Opara scored the lone goals of the first half to give the visitors a commanding three-goal lead going into halftime. Krisztian Nemeth made it 4-0 in the 67th minute. After Danny Hoesen pulled the Quakes a goal back, Fernandes, who also had a pair of assists, notched his brace four minutes from full time.

“We were on tonight and I think we were very clinical in and around the box which is a big part of the game,” Peter Vermes said. “Had some great finishes, we were very confident in our buildup play, which actually created a lot of opportunities for us. And so, both defensively and offensively, we were solid tonight.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Jimmy Medranda (knee surgery), M - Cristian Lobato (quad injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic — Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Gutierrez — Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth, Gerso Fernandes

  • Notes: Last weekend, Fernandes became the sixth player (and second this season) to record 2+ goals and 2+ assists in a league match since 2010. … SKC have won three of their last four road games (1L), while averaging 2.3 goals per game over that span.

All-Time Series

Officials

Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Gianni Facchini, Logan Brown
4th Official: Chris Penso
VAR: Jon Freemon