Major League Soccer strugglers Philadelphia Union managed a first away win of the season against champions Sporting Kansas City.
Danny Cruz opened the scoring in the 49th minute before two goals in two minutes saw Sporting equalise through Dom Dwyer before conceding again to Christian Maidana.
Corben Bone was dismissed late on, but the Union held on to move up to seventh in the Eastern Conference and dent Kansas City’s hopes of retaining their title.
Though the Wizards came into the match on a run of 16 points from a possible 21 and the Zolos hadn’t won in nine, Philadelphia were the last visiting team to taste victory at Sporting Park.
And they frustrated their hosts again here early on with some resolute defending.
John Hackworth’s side were almost rewarded for their good work as the first chance fell their way in the 19th minute through Cruz.
The 24-year-old had been a doubt for this game with a bruised foot but it was his effort that caused problems for Eric Kronberg. The goalkeeper fumbled a powerful shot and was relieved to see the ball roll just wide of the post.
The Union’s Vincent Nogueira then carried the ball forward from midfield, but his shot was tame and no problem for the Kansas City custodian.
Sporting finally had their first opportunity in the 33rd minute when Graham Zusi’s dangerous cross was powerfully headed towards goal by the returning Sal Zizzo, but Zac MacMath stood tall to block.
The United States international was presented with another chance on the stroke of half-time, but was again denied by a smart stop from Philadelphia’s goalkeeper.
MacMath was forced into a third significant save just after the interval. The ball sat up nicely for Seth Sinovic and his dipping effort was well held at the near post.
The visitors immediately countered and took a shock lead.
Maidana charged forward down the left and when Kronberg could only parry, Cruz beat Sinovic to the follow-up to slide home.
A few minutes later, Andrew Wenger tried his luck, but couldn’t get enough bend on the ball having beaten Aurelien Collin with a clever turn.
And in the 59th minute, the forward again brushed off the Frenchman to bear down on goal. And though he found the target this time, Kronberg blocked well.
Within 60 seconds, Philadelphia had another chance to double their lead.
Maidana’s cut-back found Leo Fernandes, but the Brazilian lashed his effort wildly over the bar.
Kansas City’s inevitable response came to nothing as Claudio Bieler couldn’t profit on a weak MacMath punch from debutant Igor Juliao’s centre.
The Argentine was then withdrawn in the 71st minute for Wizards’ top-scorer Dwyer, who had been rested with one eye on Sunday’s trip to Chicago.
And the Englishman almost made an immediate impact. As Zusi crossed from the left, the 23-year-old was just unable to leap high enough and direct his header on target.
Moments later MacMath had to be sharp off his line to meet Dwyer, and the rebound was squandered by Team USA’s World Cup winger Zusi under pressure from Union defenders.
Philadelphia hadn’t given up on a second though, with Maidana blazing over in the 80th minute.
But Sporting were immediately level.
Dwyer’s lovely one-two with Paulo Nagamura was finished with a stunning 20-yard drive into the far corner from the substitute.
With the Wizards still celebrating, the Union went down the other end and regained the lead.
Good work from Wenger worked another opening for Maidana and this time he didn’t waste it – firing low past a static Kronberg.
Nagamura then had a late penalty claim waved away. Though the home fans voiced their frustrations, the award of a spot kick never looked like a genuine possibility for referee Ricardo Salazar – particularly with the incident occurring outside of the area.
As the game ticked towards stoppage time, Philadelphia were reduced to 10 men. An atrocious challenge from Bone was high and late on the right leg of Jacob Peterson, leaving Salazar no option but to reach for a red card.
Kansas City continued to push forward looking for a second equaliser, but couldn’t break through a wall of navy blue, falling to their third defeat of the year.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU