Sporting KC Posts 2-1 Win over D.C. UnitedAugust 12, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Sporting Kansas City
The home side scored early with a close-range header from Teal Bunbury in the 13th minute. Graham Zusi provided the assist, his MLS-leading 10th of the year, and would then score game-winning goal in the 63rd minute.
The two sides started the match fiercely, exchanging five shots inside the first eight minutes. Jimmy Nielsen made his only save of the night in the fifth minute to deny Chris Pontius and three minutes later D.C. United defender Brandon McDonald sailed his shot high after a nice piece of combination play with Long Tan at the top of the penalty area.
Sporting Kansas City's breakthrough began with a Matt Besler throw-in from the left sideline in the game's 12th minute. Aurelien Collin won the ensuing header over McDonald and forced a fingertip save from Bill Hamid to push it over the crossbar.
Zusi directed the resulting corner kick to Bunbury, who placed his glancing header from eightyards out inside the far post for his fifth goal of the season and third in the past five MLS matches.
Sporting Kansas City continued to press three minutes later when Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara played a quick one-two and Kamara sent in a low, angled shot that was just wide of the far right post.
In the 20th minute, Bunbury played the ball to Zusi in the center for a shot from 20 yards out. Hamid sprawled to make the save, one of three in the first half.
D.C. United fought back and equalized in the 23rd minute when Andy Najar, Espinoza's teammate on the Honduran National Team, sent in a floating cross to rookie Nick DeLeon at the far left post. DeLeon took one touch and sent the ball past Nielsen with a sliding finish from inside the six-yard box for his fourth goal of the year.
Sporting Kansas City would hold D.C. United without a shot for the remainder of the half, and only two more attempts in the entire match, while controlling nearly 63% of the possession.
In the 38th minute, Bunbury again acted as the playmaker, holding off his mark and playing the ball to Paulo Nagamura. The Brazilian's curving shot beat Hamid but was saved by the woodwork at the far right post.
Just two minutes later, Zusi sent in a free kick from the right that Michael Thomas connected with at the penalty mark and headed toward goal only to see Hamidmade another strong save, diving to his right to deflect the goal-bound shot.
The second half would see more of the same attacking soccer from Sporting Kansas City. The first noteworthy chance came in the 53rd minute when Bunbury sprinted to keep the ball in play, sending a first-time cross at the endline. Zusi's precise volley looked destined for the back of the net but struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced backed into play.
Zusi wouldn't be denied ten minutes later, putting his team ahead for good. Kamara received a long ball over the top from Matt Besler, who earned his first assist of theyear on the play, and Kamara picked out Zusi all alone at the backpost. Zusi settled the cross and fired his shot beneath the outrushing goalkeeper for his third goal of the year, all of which stood up as game-winning goals, and ninth goal of his career.
Despite being down a goal, D.C. United would manage only one shot in the game's finaly 30 minutes. Danny Cruz would have the honors in the 86th minute but scuffed itwide after receiving the pass from fellow second-half substitute Marcelo Saragosa.
Saturday's win was Sporting Kansas City's fourth straight over D.C. United, sweeping the season series in 2012, and came in Manager Peter Vermes' 100th MLS regular season match at the helm of the club. The milestone moves Vermes into a tie with Ron Newman for the second-most regular season games by a manager in club history.
Sporting Kansas City will return to the road to face Toronto FC at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 18 at BMO Field. The match will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV with pre-game coverage beginning at 3 p.m. CT.
* With the win, Sporting Kansas City's record moves to 13-7-4 in 2012 and 7-3-2 at home this season. * Sporting Kansas City takes sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 43 points. * Sporting KC's 43 points are second most in MLS and the team's 1.79 points per game are also second-best behind San Jose. * Sporting Kansas City is the third team in the League this season to reach 13 wins. The victory tally equals Sporting KC's total when they finished in first place in the Eastern Conference for the 2011 season and are the most wins since 2004. * Sporting Kansas City has the most wins in the Eastern Conference with 13. * Peter Vermes managed the 100th MLS regular season match in his KC coaching career on Saturday, tying Ron Newman for the second most MLS matches managed by a KC head coach. * Sporting Kansas City defender Neven Markovic made his first MLS start in Saturday's match and second MLS appearance. * Saturday's match marked Aurelien Collin's first appearance with Sporting Kansas City since suffering two facial fractures at the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena on July 25. * Sporting KC's newest signing, Oriol Rosell, made his MLS debut in second-half stoppage time on Saturday after joining Sporting Kansas City onAugust 2. * D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario missed his first MLS match during the 2012 season on Saturday due to injury, as did teammates Robbie Russell (Plantar Fasciitis), Daniel Woolard (concussion-like symptons), Maicon Santos (toe soreness) and Hamdi Salihi (viral infection). * Michael Thomas received a yellow card in the second minute of Saturday's match, the earliest yellow card issued in a Sporting Kansas City match this season. * Teal Bunbury scored the first goal in Saturday's contest, marking his first goal at home this season. The goal is Bunbury's third in his past five games and marks his fifth goal in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City is 13-1-4 in MLS competition (including playoffs) when Bunbury scores during his three seasons with the club. * Graham Zusi earned the assist off of a corner kick. The goal was Sporting Kansas City's fourth corner kick goal this season and ninth header goal of the season. * The assist was Zusi's 10th in 2012 and moves him into a tie with D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario and Houston Dynamo's Brad Davis for most in MLS. * Graham Zusi scored Sporting Kansas City's second goal of the match marking his third goal during the 2012 season and ninth all-time. * Kei Kamara earned the assist on Zusi's goal, his fifth assist in 2012. * Kamara is one of nine players who has five or more goals and assist during the 2012 season, joining Chris Wondolowski, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Patrice Bernier, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Dwayne De Rosario and Brad Davis. * The last time Sporting Kansas City scored two goals at home was on June 16, 2012 in a 2-0 win over Toronto. * In 2012, Sporting Kansas City is 11-2-2 when scoring first and 6-2-3 when tied at the half. * Sporting Kansas City is 138-75-45 at home all-time in regular season. * Sporting Kansas City is 207-206-104 all-time in MLS regular season play. * Sporting Kansas City is now 18-18-9 all-time against D.C. United in the regular season and 13-6-5 at home in the match-up. * Sporting Kansas City has not lost to D.C. United at home since July 4, 2007. * With the win, Sporting KC has beat D.C. United in the last four meetings between the two clubs. * Sporting Kansas City is 7-5-2 against the Eastern Conference in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City was without defenders Chance Myers (groin strain) and Seth Sinovic (right ankle sprain), as well as forwards Jacob Peterson (shoulder sprain) and Bobby Convey on Saturday. * Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has played every minute for the team during the 2012 regular season. Nielsen is the only Sporting KC player to appear in all 24 regular season matches. * Sporting Kansas City defender Michael Harrington has now played 11,543 minutes in his MLS and KC career, surpassing Josh Wolff for 10th place on the club's all-time chart. * Former Kansas City midfielder Josh Wolff played 19 minutes in Saturday's match for D.C. United. * Harrington started his started the 127th regular season game of his KC and MLS career on Saturday, breaking tie with Matt McKeon for sole possession of 10th most inclub history. * Sporting Kansas City has now scored 11 goals in the first thirty minutes of matches this season. * Kamara leads all MLS players with 92 shots in 2012 and 36 shots on goal. * Sporting KC is yet to score from beyond the 18-yard box through 24 MLS matches in 2012. * Saturday's match marked the second and final meeting between Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United during the 2012 regular season. * Saturday's temperature was 85 degrees and Sporting KC is 6-5-2 when the conditions are above 75 degrees in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City is 11-6-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season. * Sporting Kansas City is 7-5-2 when playing in the Central time zone this season and 11-6-3 when playing on a grass field. * Sporting Kansas City is 2-0-1 in August in all competition and moves to 33-39-12 all-time in MLS action during the month of August. * Sporting Kansas City is 7-5-0 in games decided by one goal in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City is 11-5-2 when outshooting an opponent in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City's 387 shots this season are the most in MLS. * Sporting Kansas City leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (245). * Sporting Kansas City leads MLS all-time in shots taken with 7,036. * Sporting KC leads the League in corner kicks this season with 148, adding nine in Saturday's match. * Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi leads MLS with 100 corner kicks this season. * The attendance at Saturday's match was 20,439, which marks the second largest crowd of the 2012 season and 11th sellout. * Pepsi was the sponsor for Saturday's match and the first 5,000 fans received a pepsi cooler. * All attendees received a coupon for a free Pepsi Max 2-liter from their local Price Chopper courtesy of Sporting Kansas City's two goals in the match. * Sporting Kansas City hosted a post-game party in the shield club to replay the LamarHunt U.S. Open Cup final.
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