Major League Soccer
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                     === Struggling Union travel to SKC ===
 Kansas  City, KS  ( - The struggling Philadelphia Union will
 return to action on Wednesday for a stern test against Sporting Kansas City at
 Sporting Park.
 The  match comes at an inopportune time for the Union, who have gone eight MLS
 regular season games without a win.
 Sporting,  meanwhile, is coming off of a 3-0 demolition of the Montreal Impact
 on Saturday, a result that helped keep the reigning MLS Cup champions atop the
 Eastern  Conference  - they  are  level  on 17  points  with  the New  England
 Revolution for first place in the East.
 Dom  Dwyer stole the  headlines by bagging a brace in Sporting's defeat of 10-
 man  Montreal, but  it was the superb  play of Oriol Rosell that made the team
 tick.  According to  statistical  analysts Opta,  the  Spaniard attempted  166
 passes and completed 160 while Kansas City completed 739 of 803 pass attempts,
 both records since the company began keeping MLS statistics in 2011.
 Rosell's  performance did not go unnoticed as head coach Peter Vermes sang the
 midfielder's praises after the match.
 "His biggest quality is that he finds himself always in the right positions to
 receive  the  ball in space,  and always with options  once he gets the ball,"
 Vermes  told the club's official website. "He knows before he gets it where he
 wants  to play it, so from that perspective that's one of the reasons why he's
 been good in our team.
 "There are some other players as well that make it easier for him now to play.
 When  you have Benny (Feilhaber) next to him, (Paulo) Nagamura - you just keep
 going  through the guys  with a real understanding of how and what the purpose
 is, for one guy to receive the ball and the options they have. He's very good,
 but he's got a lot of good players around him to play with."
 Vermes  has had  years to fine-tune Sporting's high-pressure, possession style
 of play, but John Hackworth is still in rebuilding mode with the Union.
 Philadelphia  made wholesale changes during the offseason, adding the likes of
 Maurice  Edu, Christian  Maidana and Vincent Nogueira while also swapping Jack
 McInerney for Andrew Wenger earlier this term. The players' unfamiliarity with
 one  another is  evident as  the Union  have dropped  their last  three league
 matches, most recently falling to East rival D.C. United.
 "Right now, we have to gather ourselves, move on and think about the next game
 at  Kansas  City," Union  striker Sebastien  Le Toux  told the club's official
 website.  "It's not easy  to do, but when things don't go well, we have to put
 ourselves  in a good position and come back ready to play well on the road. We
 have  to  stop thinking about what  happened and start thinking about what can
 happen. As players we have to do that and make sure we do that as a group."
 Hackworth's  men have  scored just one goal in their last four league outings,
 but  it came by way of a Brad Evans own goal in a 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders
 FC.  The last Union  player to get on the scoresheet was Le Toux, who netted a
 penalty kick in Philadelphia's 2-1 loss to Red Bull New York on April 16.
 Philadelphia's character has been tested and many believe that Hackworth is on
 the hot seat, but Edu is confident that the Union can get out of their current
 "It  is (being  tested) because it's easy  to put your head down and give in,"
 Edu  told Philadelphia's  website this week. "We need to just continue to stay
 strong as a group and keep our heads high, keep believing in what we're doing.
 We believe in ourselves."
 05/13 12:59:08 ET

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