The MLS season kicked off at PPL Park in Philadelphia as the Union hosted Sporting Kansas City in the early match of a loaded opening-day schedule. Sebastien Le Toux opened the league scoring ledger for the second consecutive season, but Philadelphia failed to fend off a late first-half equalizer and a second-half onslaught as last year’s top team in the Eastern Conference standings ran away for a 3-1 victory.
The home side opened up the ledger in the 17th minute as Sebastien Le Toux continued his hot streak from the preseason to score the first goal of the 2013 season. Corralling a cross from Keon Daniel in the center of the box, Le Toux settled and ripped a right-footed blast past Jimmy Nielsen into the bottom corner of the net. Just over a quarter hour into the first match of the season, the best defense of 2012 had already conceded its first goal of 2013, and Le Toux had scored the first goal of the year for the second consecutive season.
The Union controlled the match throughout the first half, allowing Sporting to maintain the majority of possession but forcing them into bad position and pouncing on mistakes. Michael Farfan had two quality chances saved by Nielsen before Kansas City finally cracked the Philadelphia defenses when U.S. men’s national team member Graham Zusi leveled for Sporting five minutes before the intermission. Following Zac MacMath’s save of a Benny Feilhaber shot, Zusi got the ball in the box and uncorked a blast into the top right corner of the net. The teams would enter halftime level at 1-1.
Kansas City grabbed the lead after halftime. They made it 2-1 as Graham Zusi whipped in a cross on a set piece that found Oriol Rosell for the go-ahead header past MacMath in the 66th minute. Claudio Bieler added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, finishing a Chance Myers pass to set the final scoreline at 3-1.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY @ PHILADELPHIA UNION
March 2, 2013
- 17′ — PHI/Sebastien Le Toux (Keon Daniel)
- 41′ — KC/Graham Zusi (unassisted)
- 66′ — KC/Oriol Rosell (Graham Zusi)
- 83′ — KC/Claudio Bieler (Chance Myers)
- PHI (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Raymon Gaddis, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams; Michael Lahoud (Roger Torres/80′), Brian Carroll; Gabriel Farfan (Jack McInerney/70′), Michael Farfan, Keon Daniel (Conor Casey/84′); Sebastien Le Toux
- KC (4-3-3): Jimmy Nielsen; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Oriol Rossell, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; Bobby Convey (C.J. Sapong/63′), Claudio Bieler, Graham Zusi