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After rare home loss, Union take on winless Sporting KC

Feb 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake (18) kicks the ball against Columbus Crew SC during the second half at Subaru Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Still in search of their first victory, the odds won’t favor Sporting Kansas City when they travel to Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Union (2-3-0, 6 points) won’t be in a giving mood after seeing their two lengthy home streaks snapped last weekend with a 2-1 loss to Orlando City.

Philadelphia had won 13 in a row at home, the second-longest streak in league history and was unbeaten in 24 straight at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa., tied for the third-longest.

“I think the group will have a good response against Kansas City,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “Win, lose, or draw, I think we want to put on a good display to our fans and show that we are still a very good team that had a bad outing last game.”

In addition to several players returning from international duty, Curtin said he expects to have Andre Blake, a three-time winner of the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award, back in the lineup. Blake has been sidelined since March 11 with a groin injury.

“All signs are pointing to a positive return for Andre to the group on the weekend,” Curtin said.

That would make things even more difficult for Sporting KC (0-3-2, 2 points), who have scored just two goals this season despite being tied with the Union for the league lead with the most shot attempts (76).

“As a group, you have to keep plugging away and keep fighting … we have a good group. We’ll get there,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said.

Kansas City’s already ailing defense will be without left back Ben Sweat, who received a red card in last Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Seattle. Captain Johnny Russell made his season debut as a substitute last week and forward Alan Pulido and goalie Tim Melina were part of the match-day squad and could be available Saturday.

“Right now we just have to mix-and-match it,” Vermes said.

This will be Kansas City’s first trip to Philadelphia since 2018 and the first meeting between the teams since the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament. The all-time series is tied 7-7-6.

–Field Level Media

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