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United vs Sporting Kansas City: Late defensive mistake paves the way for 1-0 loss in Kansas City

Claudio Bieler’s fourth goal of the season late in the match was the difference as Sporting Kansas City defeated D.C. United 1-0 last night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. A dreadful error by D.C. United midfielder Marcos Sanchez in the 88th minute proved costly as his under weighted pass under pressure from Sporting attackers fell short of Marcelo Saragosa. Soony Saad ghosted in and poked the ball through Saragosa’s legs right at the end line. Saad’s left-footed cross hit Bieler in stride and gave United goalkeeper Bill Hamid no chance.

United certainly defended well enough to come out of the match with a second consecutive road 0-0 draw but once again the Black-and-Red offered very little in attack with only one shot on goal by Perry Kitchen being registered on the evening. United (1-3-1  4 points) has been shutout in all three road matches to begin the season and will have to find an answer offensively before they welcome their rivals New York Red Bull into town next Saturday evening.

United was missing team captain Dwayne De Rosario and Nick DeLeon through injury but head coach Ben Olsen started a surprisingly offensive lineup considering United’s poor fortunes on the road so far this season. Olsen could have opted for his preferred 4-5-1 formation and inserted Saragosa into the starting lineup but came out with Raphael Augosto getting his first ever MLS regular season start. Brazilian striker Rafael started up top alongside Lionard Pajoy but the were ineffective as a pair for most of their time on the field.

United struggled to maintain possession against Sporting’s high pressure for most of the match but was pretty sound defensively only giving up a weak effort from C.J. Sapong late in the first half. Both teams struggled to put together quality scoring chances but the home side definitely carried the play for most of the match. Just when it was looking like United was going to earn a hard fought point, Sanchez’ inability to simply clear the ball initially set in motion the game-winning sequence. It’s second time in just over a year that Sporting has taken a win at the death of a match. In United’s season opener in March of 2012, Sapong scored on a header from a corner kick on the last touch of the match.

United must now somehow pick themselves up and prepare for Red Bull next weekend.

Disney Pro Soccer Classic: United and Montreal play to 1-1 draw

D.C. United and the Montreal Impact played to a 1-1 draw this afternoon in the final match of group play in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Trialist Kyle Porter improved his chances of making United’s squad with a well taken goal in the 85th minute to level the match after a wonder bicycle kick goal from Montreal’s Andrea Pisanu in the 16th minute.

With the draw, Montreal moves on to the Championship match next weekend of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic to face most likely the Columbus Crew who have been runaway leaders of their group so far this week.

The draw for United will put them in either the 3rd Place or 5th Place match next weekend depending on the result of the Sporting Kansas City/Tampa Bay Rowdies match later this evening. A draw or a loss by Sporting will put United in the 3rd place match.

Montreal took the lead in the 16th minute on a breathtaking finish from Italian import Andrea Pisanu. Pisanu, on loan to Montreal from Serie A squad Bologna, took advantage of a deflected cross off the back of United defender Daniel Woolard and biked his shot over Bill Hamid for the lead.

United, starting the same squad from Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, pressed on and created a few half-chances but the teams went to the locker room with Montreal leading 1-0.

After the break United started piling on the pressure yet very few chances came of their good possession play. Chris Pontius had a shot blister over the bar from 18-yards out just past the hour mark right before Ben Olsen made a complete changeover with his squad in the 76th minute.

Even with a mostly entire new team on the field, it didn’t take long for the Black-and-Red to equalize. In the 85th minute, the Impact were lax in an easy defensive clearance and United too full advantage. Porter beat the unsuspecting Montreal Impact to the bouncing ball from the failed clearance and it found it’s way to fellow trialist Marcos Sanchez. The Panamanian scuffed a pass into the path of United young Designated Player Rafael and his toe-poke fell into the path of Porter. The Canadian unleashed a rocket just inside the penalty area with his weaker right foot and the ball flew past former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to level the match at 1-1.

The remainder of the match was played out without any real chances from both sides.

United will have to wait and see whom their opponent will be next Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, United will play a match against the Philadelphia Union midweek before wrapping up their preseason journey in Orlando next Saturday.

United will then return to the DC area for a few days before heading off to Houston to play their MLS regular season opener on March 2nd.