With each result meaning more and more for those mired in the playoff race (practically everyone), three points on the road against one of the only teams above the playoff race is about as good as it gets.
Maybe Machiavelli was a soccer fan, because for the Philadelphia Union, the ends most certainly justify the means.
John Hacksworth made two changes, and while it’s certainly possible if this game was replayed that Philadelphia would be slaughtered, the system worked and the Union slide into the playoff scenario – for now.
Hacksworth removed striker Sebastian Le Toux from his 4-4-2 that played to a 1-0 loss against Houston last week, and instead selected midfielders Michael Farfan and Michael Lahoud.
Philadelphia got the goal they needed thanks to a Conor Casey putback (their first goal in four matches), and they didn’t break the rest of the match.
Sure, Sporting KC had 62% of the possession. Sure, the home side grabbed seven corners to Philadelphia’s one. Sure, Sporting managed 19 shots to Philadelphia’s 8. But of those 19 shots, just five went on net.
It was a wasteful, sloppy performance from Kansas City who are not in any immediate playoff danger but will be ruing falling in a game they easily could have dominated.
Sporting were missing Matt Besler for the second straight match, which still no one has been able to figure out. Since wearing the captain’s armband against Real Esteli last week, he’s sat on the bench two straight games despite not appearing in the injury report.
As for Philadelphia, the win is about as monumental as you could possibly imagine. The points move them up into fifth position – the final playoff spot – in the East. If that’s not enough good news, here’s their next three opponents: Toronto (9th place), D.C. United (last), and Montreal (lost two in a row). And they finish up with KC again.
It’s not over yet, but the Union just put themselves in prime position to make the playoffs. This just makes tomorrow’s Revs/Dynamo matchup that much bigger. As if it needed it.