Jay Simpson scored his first two goals of the season, and John McCarthy made six saves in his first appearance in more than a year as the Philadelphia Union beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., on Sunday.
Simpson made it 1-0 in the 71st minute when he volleyed from 14 yards a header by Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya set him up again in the 89th minute, shortly after McCarthy made a lunging stop on Krisztian Nemeth.
Philadelphia is one point behind the fourth-place Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference with four matches left. The teams play in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.
Prior to that, the Union plays for its first trophy Wednesday in the final of the U.S. Open Cup in Houston against the Dynamo. With that in mind, Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin rested several starters Sunday.
McCarthy played for the first time since Aug. 19, 2017. He made a spectacular left-handed diving save off a header to the far post by Felipe Gutierrez in the 54th minute.
Sporting Kansas City slipped out of first place in the Western Conference when FC Dallas edged the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Sunday night.
The scoreless first half for SKC and the Union didn't jibe with the goal-scoring opportunities. It started in the 10th minute when Sporting K.C. goalkeeper Tim Melia, the league leader with 12 shutouts, denied Simpson from close range.
In the 28th minute, SKC should have gone on top, but Gerso Fernandes, after dribbling into open space, misfired from 10 yards.
The closest Philadelphia came to scoring in the first half was in the 36th minute from a corner kick. A strike by Borek Dockal hit the crossbar and bounced off Melia's foot. The rebound fell to Simpson, but SKC defender Seth Sinovic was on the goal line to clear the attempt.