Monday, August 27, 2012

RECAP: Sporting KC remains in first place with 1-1 draw against New York

Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.  Kei Kamara scored his team-leading 10th goal of the year to keep Sporting KC in first place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of New York with eight games to play.

Sporting Kansas City burst out of the gates with the top spot in the conference on the line and went up a goal in the first four minutes.

With Graham Zusi’s service from midfield drawing goalkeeper Bill Gaudette out of the box, Teal Bunbury was first to the ball and chipped the ball to Kamara, who sent in a perfectly-aimed header that put the home side ahead.

The two teams remained relatively quiet until the 20th minute when Aurelien Collin looped in a header that was just wide and high of the far post.

Collin again took another attempt seven minutes later, receiving a corner kick from Graham Zusi and aiming another header on goal, this time better-placed but into the arms of Guadette.

The Red Bulls equalized off of an own goal in the 28th minute after Sebastien Le Toux curled in a free kick from the left sideline that was directed toward Tim Cahill. In a rush to deflect the dangerous ball, Kamara’s header ended in the back of the net to draw the rivals level.

Neither side could create scoring opportunities in a half that saw Sporting KC hold the Red Bulls without a single shot.  Sporting Kansas City’s last effort of the first half came five minutes into stoppage time when Paulo Nagamura barged down the right flank and sent in an arching shot, just wide of the crossbar.

The second half commenced with Sporting KC continuing to control possession. Ten minutes in, Nagamura took a well-struck volley from the top of the box that was saved by Gaudette. Sporting Kansas City continued to push for the go-ahead goal two minutes later when Sapong received a cross from Chance Myers and made a diving header, denied again by Gaudette.

New York responded in the 65th minutes when Dax McCarty led a counter attack, slipping the ball to Le Toux at the penalty spot but the striker sent his first-timeshot well over the crossbar.

Kamara sought his second goal of the night in the 80th minute when he took a driving free kick that cleared the wall and was just a glance wide of the left post. Sapong took a long-range effort of his own two minutes later when he evaded New York’s defense and sent in a swinging ball that went wide.

Both sides kept up the tempo for the final 10 minutes of the match, with action in both ends but no shots on goal. New York had a golden opportunity in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time when Le Toux and McCarty broke away, catching Sporting Kansas City on the counter. Myers made the recovery run back on defense and denied McCarty just outside of the goal.

Sporting Kansas City, unbeaten now in their last four MLS matches, will host Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets are available online at and at LSP Box Offices.