Chester, PA – Graham Zusi scored a goal and assisted on two more as Sporting Kansas City's 2013 campaign opened with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Saturday.
The Union's Sebastien Le Toux enjoyed a successful return to his old club by putting the hosts ahead after 17 minutes.
But Sporting gradually began to get the better of the play and Zusi pulled his side level shortly before halftime.
Zusi led MLS in assists last term, and he collected two in the second half, first setting up Oriol Rosell's go-ahead goal in the 66th minute before having a hand in Claudio Bieler's 83rd-minute tally which put the game out of reach.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Union head coach John Hackworth said. "We let the fans down. We let ourselves down. A game where we felt like we should've been up a couple of goals."
Le Toux looked lively in his return to the Union and he found the net after just 17 minutes when he brought down Keon Daniel's floated ball and beat goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen from close range.
But the Frenchman squandered a great opportunity to double the lead in the 22nd minute, and Sporting was on level terms in the 41st when Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath saved a shot from Benny Feilhaber, only for Zusi to score on the rebound.
"It was a rough start for us," said Zusi. "We were chasing the game a little bit. To get one back right before half lifted our spirits quite a bit and turned the tide. Let us come out in the second half a little more aggressive and take the tempo of the game back."
Sporting took charge of the contest after the break and a free kick from Zusi in the 66th minute led to the second goal.
The ball was swung into the area and Rosell beat the onrushing MacMath to it, nodding the ball beyond the stranded goalkeeper.
Bieler then sealed the win seven minutes from time when Zusi played a ball to the back post for Chance Myers, who set up Bieler for a first-time strike that found its way inside the left post.