It may have been four months between league matches for D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City, but the outcome and the manner in which it was achieved was the same. Total domination from Sporting Kansas City. Graham Zuisi’s second-half goal was the difference in Sporting’s 2-1 win over United at LiveStrong Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Nick DeLeon scored for United on their only real attempt at goal all night long in the 24th minute to cancel out Teal Bunbury’s 16th minute header. However, as in the season opening match at RFK, it was Sporting Kansas City that were the sharper side winning every aspect of the match in terms of possession, physicality and most importantly, beating United to every loose ball on the night.
The loss is the fourth consecutive loss for United on the road and continues a pattern of poor play and almost non-competitiveness that goes back all the way to the beginning of June. The poor play started from the jump tonight as the Black-and-Red continue to struggle against teams that employ a 4-3-3 formation. Despite having the superior numbers in midfield, it was the home side that was bossing the match from the opening whistle.
Sporting was coming off a grueling 120 minute extra-time PK Open Cup title on Wednesday night but again it was the visitors who seemed to be running around clueless on the night. United were forced to make a number of changes to the lineup due to injuries suffered by their captain Dwayne De Rosario and left-back Daniel Woolard. In addition, forwards Maicon Santos and Hamdi Salihi didn’t make the trip either due to injury/illness.
Sporting made a number of changes to their lineup as well but it had very little effect on them as they rode the crest of emotion and confidence from their Open Cup triumph to easily defeat United on this night.
United now will have a two-game homestand to try and turn this result around. United will be hosting the Philadelphia Union (another team that employs the 4-3-3 formation) next Sunday evening at RFK Stadium.