for this game

Philadelphia needs to 'play better' against K.C.

Jun 21, 2011 - 8:52 PM Chester, PA (Sports Network) - Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak summed up Saturday's defeat at expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC well by saying, "we need to play better."

Vancouver, which is last in the Western Conference, ended its 14-match winless run with a 1-0 win over Philadelphia, and the Union (6-4-4) return to PPL Park on Wednesday to face the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Bun unlike Vancouver, Sporting Kansas City (3-6-4) enters the match on a five- match undefeated streak, and just won its first-ever match at new $200 million Livestrong Sporting Park.

Philadelphia will lean on its strong home record as it is one three teams that are still unbeaten in Major League Soccer. The Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting - which has played just twice at home - are the others.

The Union have four wins and three draws at home and are second in the Eastern standings, just one point behind Red Bull New York with one less match played.

Philadelphia debuted new striker Veljko Paunovic at Vancouver, but the Union's offensive woes continued. The Union have scored one or fewer goals in 12 of 14 games this season, and six of their 16 goals were in one match.

Nowak could get a boost offensively by the return of Carlos Ruiz, who finished play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup over the weekend when Guatemala was eliminated.

But the quick turnaround presents a tough challenge, especially for the Union after the disappointing loss at Vancouver.

"I think everyone worked hard and put a lot of effort into the game and it's unfortunate to come out of here with nothing," Union midfielder Brian Carroll said. "We've got to turn around quickly and get ready for the next game."

Kansas City started the season on a 10-game roadtrip while its new stadium was completed, but extended its undefeated streak Friday night with a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

"What I would say to you is that this group has never lost the belief that they could play," Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said. "They know they're a good team and now it is about grinding out results.

"In this League, it is never easy. Anybody can beat anybody. Because of that, you have to come out and roll up your sleeves, fight, battle and scrape for every single roll of the ball."

Sporting snapped San Jose's six-match unbeaten streak, but Vermes has concerns ahead of the visit to Philadelphia.

Midfielder Craig Rocastle was injured playing for Grenada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Roger Espinoza remains on international duty with Honduras in the event, defender Aurelien Collin will serve a one-game suspension and Ryan Smith left the team Tuesday for the rest of the season due to family reasons.

However, midfielder Graham Zusi believes the team has grown from its struggles early this season and can continue to get results on the road, where it does have two wins and three draws in 11 matches.

"Every game we seem to be getting better and I think the whole team is playing with more confidence now," Zusi said. "We need to continue that and we'll get the results."