The Philadelphia Union played out a result on Wednesday night that can only be seen as two points lost, not one point gained. They dominated the run of play for nearly all ninety minutes, but failed to score a single goal in a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
Coach Peter Nowak came out with what can only be described as a bizarre starting lineup, with four players that can be considered strikers all taking the field together. Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz, Jack McInerney, and Veljko Paunovic all were in the starting lineup, but the team’s leading scorer, Danny Mwanga, didn’t even make the bench.
However, the strange look seemed to work in a way, as the team was creating chances at will. Sporting appeared to have luck as the only mechanism with which to keep the ball out of their own net. But their luck never wore out, and they held on for one of the more disappointing draws in the Union's short history.
The statistics from this game, especially some of the new ones from MLSsoccer.com, tell the whole story. Find them after the break.
Philadelphia controlled 59.8% of the possession, a number that is quite high in a league like MLS. Numbers like that might be common in La Liga, but in MLS that's rare. Another stat that stands out is this one: a staggering 26 shots for the Union, 7 of which were on target. Another seven were blocked. Compare that with Kansas City's eight shots, none of which were on target, and it becomes clear why the draw was so disappointing for the Union.
Another stat that is interesting is the "Duels" in the game, of which Philadelphia won 61%. That could explain how they managed to maintain possession of the ball for such long periods of the game.
With a bad taste in their mouth after their fourth consecutive draw, the Union will play again at PPL Park on Saturday against Chivas USA. That game will be played concurrently with the Gold Cup final, which could hurt attendance. Philadelphia now finds themselves tied with New York at the top of the Eastern Conference with 23 points, but the Union now have played the game in hand they had on the Red Bulls. Both teams have now played 15 games.
Here are the full match highlights: