Sporting KC: Battle Between Playoff Contenders Ends in 1-1 Draw

Alan Hainkel@@fntncitysoccerContributor ISeptember 24, 2011

Omar Bravo celebrates scoring against the Philadelphia Union.
Omar Bravo celebrates scoring against the Philadelphia Union.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union played to a 1-1 draw in front of 18,778 fans at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday night.

With the point, Kansas City moved into a tie with the Columbus Crew atop the Eastern Conference. By virtue of goal difference, Kansas City wins the first tiebreaker.

Sporting KC (10-9-11, 41 pts.) got on the scoreboard first in the 56th minute. Kei Kamara put in a cross from the left and Omar Bravo got onto the end of it, putting a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Three minutes later, Jack McInerney put in a low shot on goal for the Union, but Jimmy Nielsen made a kick save that sent the ball just over the crossbar.

Philadelphia (9-7-13, 40 pts.) equalized in the 62nd minute on a goal by Sebastian Le Toux. The ball almost went out of bounds, but Michael Farfan saved it and got it to Le Toux, who put the ball in past Nielsen.

It was Le Toux's seventh goal in his last seven games and eighth overall.

Sporting KC had a chance to take the lead back in the 67th minute. C.J. Sapong broke free from his defender on the left wing and made a beeline for the goal, but MacMath made the diving stop.

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The match was scoreless at halftime, but not for a lack of trying. Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia both put good balls into the box, but nobody could finish them.

The first truly dangerous chance of the game came in the 16th minute when Farfan ran up the right side and crossed the ball to an oncoming Veljko Paunovic. Paunovic's shot was blocked by defender Chance Myers.

Forward Kei Kamara
Forward Kei KamaraJamie Squire/Getty Images

Sporting KC's first close call came in the 40th minute. Brazilian midfielder Jeferson put a dangerous corner in from the right side. Kamara managed to get a head on it, but it just skipped over the crossbar.

Philadelphia came into the game shorthanded, with defender Shannon Williams, midfielder Freddy Adu and forward Danny Mwanga all missing the game due to injuries.

Up next, Sporting Kansas City will host Columbus on Wednesday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. CT in a match with huge playoff implications.

Philadelphia returns home to play DC United on Thursday, September 29th at 8 p.m. ET.