D.C. United returned to action on Wednesday following an impressive 4-0 win over the weekend against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tonight, though, the opponent was vastly different – United faced off against Eastern Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City.
With the rain beginning to pour down after about 25 minutes, D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen elected to get a better look at trialists and substitutes and pulled out the majority of his starting 11 before the 35th minute. The move didn’t phase the Black-and-Red as the squad continued to defend as a team and look dangerous going forward against last year’s top team in the Eastern Conference.
The score remained deadlocked at half with a scoreline of 0-0. United opened the second half with no starters from the first half remaining on the field, but managed to dominate possession and create a majority of the chances early on. Trialist Kyle Porter continued to look dangerous down the left flank, using pace and grit to grind up and down the line, playing effective defense and swinging in dangerous balls.
The two Eastern Conference powerhouses battled evenly for nearly 75 minutes, but Sporting finally broke the deadlock in the 74th minute when Bobby Convey hit a screamer into the upper-90 past an outstretched Andrew Dykstra, who could do little to stop the blast.
Just seven minutes later, Sonny Saad, a Kansas City substitute made a diagonal run behind the Black-and-Red’s back four and found the ball at his feet before placing a one-on-one with Dykstra in the far corner of the net to make it 2-0 on the night. The score remained 2-0 as the two finished the game.
The Black-and-Red now sits at 1-1 in the tournament before its 1 p.m. contest on Saturday with the Montreal Impact. A win and a Sporting KC loss should be enough to put United through to the final of the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
D.C. United Starting XI
Hamid (59' Dykstra); Korb (32' Russell), McDonald (45' Kalungi), Jakovic (45 Thomas), Woolard (32' Frederiksen); DeLeon (32' Martinez, 68' Richter), Saragosa (45 Neal, 81 Rozeboom), Kitchen (32' Porter), Pontius (32' Seaton, 62' Rafael); De Rosario (32' Nane), Pajoy (32' Sánchez)
Sporting Kansas City Starting XI
Kronberg, Jerome, Opara (75' Songo'o), Besler (75' Olum), Sinovic (75' Ellis), Rosell (75' Duke), Feilhaber (59' Joseph), Nagamura (75' Saad), Sapong (77' Mbenge), Bieler (59' Dwyer), Convey (77' Gardner)
Sporting KC: 74' - Convey (Nagamura)
Sporting KC: 81' - Saad (Joseph)
Sporting KC: 67' - Rosell