Monday, May 20, 2013

Sporting KC earns draw in D.C.

Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 with D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. Sporting KC took the lead through an Ethan White own goal in the 60th minute but D.C. United responded with an equalizer from Kyle Porter five minutes later to split the points.

Sporting Kansas City started strong, with a run from Graham Zusi causing problems for the D.C. United backline in the game's opening minute.

He turned the corner past Daniel Woolard and nearly connected with Jacob Peterson on a pass inside the six-yard box at the near post.

D.C. United recorded their first chance of the match in the 10th minute when midfielder Nick DeLeon took an attempt from long-range, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen rose to the challenge and punched it out for a corner kick.

The home side fired back again with a notable chance in the 26th minute when Tyler Kemp, in his MLS debut, charged down the left flank and whipped in a low shot to the near post that Nielsen once again deflected.

Controversy came in the 30th minute when Ike Opara was ruled offside and his goal disallowed. Matt Besler had cut the ball back from the endline for Jacob Peterson, who slipped a pass first-time to Opara at the back post.

Opara hammered home his shot from close range to finish the superb sequence but assistant referee Matthew Nelson raised his flag and referee Jair Marrufo called the goal off despite four D.C. United players -- Bill Hamid, Kyle Porter, Dejan Jakovic and Ethan White -- positioned behind or even with Opara at the time of Peterson's pass.

D.C. United nearly went up a goal in the 36th minute when veteran midfielder Dwayne De Rosario fired a low, angled shot from the top of the box that barely missed the far post. Two minutes later, Zusi whipped in a dangerous shot on target that Hamid blocked expertly with his body.

In the dying minutes of the first half, De Rosario threatened again, this time with a slick header that floated just over the crossbar.

Sporting Kansas City broke the deadlock in the 60th minute of play on a corner kick from Zusi. Opara beat his mark and rose high for the header, re-directing the service at the near post. In short succession, the ball deflected off White's head and past Hamid for the own goal.

Five minutes later, D.C. United equalized with a goal from Porter. Second-half substitute Chris Pontius played a pinpoint cross from the left flank to Porter at the far post and the Canadian international's sliding volley tucked inside the post to level the score at 1-1.

Sporting KC nearly claimed a second goal in the 77th minute of play when Zusi whipped in a cross to the crowded box, where it was pinballed around from Opara to Kei Kamara and nearly sent in past Hamid.

A minute later, Porter almost notched his second goal of the game when he settled a cross from De Rosario and struck a dangerous ball that was blocked by Nielsen.

The action continued three minutes later when Zusi played the ball to a wide open Bieler at the top of the box. His one-touch strike was expertly saved by Hamid, who pushed it inches wide of the right post.

Kamara came close to scoring his first goal of the season in the final minutes of the match.  In the 90th minute, the Sierra Leone international fired a left-footed shot at the edge of the box that nearly slipped through Hamid's fingers. Two minutes into stoppage time, he flicked in a header that glanced past the near post.

Sporting Kansas City will return home to host the Houston Dynamo at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 26 at Sporting Park. Tickets are available in limited supply through Ticketmaster and Sporting Park Box Offices.