Archive for Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sporting KC the toast of MLS after 5-0 start to the season

April 8, 2012, 11:13 a.m.

Updated: April 11, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Though no longer playing under the banner of the Wizards, Sporting Kansas City has kept the magic alive.

In front of a standing-room-only crowd and with the nation’s eyes watching on television, Kei Kamara scored in the 40th minute off an assist from Bobby Convey to earn a 1-0 victory against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park.

This is just the second time in Major League Soccer history that a club has started 5-0. In the victory, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen posted his league-best fourth shutout of the season, and Sporting KC held an opponent without a shot on goal for a second straight game.

Kamara’s goal was his third of the year and put Sporting KC up at halftime.

Convey found an unmarked Kamara at the far post, who converted a pass into a header that sailed into the side netting for the score.

The top of the class of professional soccer in 2011, LA Galaxy has now started the year 1-3 and, for at least the first month of the 2012 season, has relinquished its swagger to Kansas City’s undefeated club.

Sporting KC outshot the Galaxy 14-4 on Saturday, with four shots on goal.

In the 20th minute, Sporting KC had two chances at a goal when Kamara dribbled beyond the Galaxy’s Sean Franklin and passed across the top of the box to Graham Zusi.

From there, Zusi took two touches and unleashed a left-footed strike over the bar.

Moments later, Aurelien Collin also put a shot over the bar, unable to keep a header down from Seth Sinovic’s cross.

The home side kept up the pressure in the 25th minute, when Roger Espinoza beat his man to the byline before sending a cross that C.J. Sapong picked up and lofted to Chance Myers. LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders denied Myers a goal, however, diving to his left to stop the shot.

Espinoza came out hot after halftime with a chance to add to his team’s 1-0 advantage. In the 52nd minute, he received a pass from Sapong at the top of the area and fired just wide of the goal.

Minutes later, Saunders kept Kamara from his second score when he quickly saved the forward’s close-range attempt.

Kamara kept the pressure on the visitors when he found Myers for another shot in the 73rd minute, but Myers curled the shot beyond the far post on his attempt.

The Galaxy, for their part, saw their best chance at tying the game come with eight minutes remaining in the contest.

Second-half substitutes Kyle Nakazawa and Chad Barrett attempted to connect for a score, but Barrett pushed his shot wide of the Sporting KC net.

Sporting KC’s Teal Bunbury nearly doubled his team’s score as the final whistle neared.

Bunbury received a pass from Jacob Peterson and broke free from his defender in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

From there, Bunbury forced a sliding save after having raced down the left side of the field for Sporting KC’s final attempt of the match.

Sporting KC will return to Livestrong Sporting Park when it hosts Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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