CHESTER, Pa. — Graham Zusi had a goal and an assist, leading Sporting Kansas City past the Philadelphia Union 3-1 in the Major League Soccer season opener for both clubs Saturday at PPL Stadium.
Oriol Rosell and Claudio Bieler also scored for Sporting Kansas City (1-0), the defending Eastern Conference champions.
“Everything we thought we could take advantage of worked, and it didn’t just work for a couple minutes. It worked for most of the first half,” said Union manager John Hackworth in quotes provided by the team. “If we executed on the chances that we had, we walk into halftime up two, maybe three goals and unfortunately that didn’t happen. Then it’s a matter of us managing the game, reading critical moments and execution and on the flip side, that’s what Sporting KC did tonight.”
Sporting Kansas City is now 12-4-2 in season-opening games, the best mark in the league.
Zusi’s unassisted goal came in the 41st minute and tied it at 1.
Oriol Rosell scored in the 66th minute with Zusi receiving the assist from a free kick.
Sporting Kansas City put the game away when Claudio Bieler scored in the 83rd minute.
The Union took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux, the club’s career leader with 26 goals who was reacquired by Philadelphia in the offseason.
“I can’t think of any way to feel good about anything that just happened,” Hackworth said. “I am glad [Sebastien Le Toux] is here I am glad he scored a goal in his first game back, but this is a team sport and from our perspective it’s unacceptable to play at PPL Park and lose the way we did.”
“We started off well and had the game in our grasp,” Union captain Brian Carroll said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t make that killer play to go up two and put our final stamp on the game and take control of it. Essentially, they got one out of the run of play and it threw us out of rhythm towards the start of the second half and we could never get back into it.”