Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sporting KC earns 1-1 draw with Whitecaps FC

Sporting Kansas City increased their unbeaten run to six out of their past seven games with a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday night at Sporting Park.

In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 fans, Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin put the home side ahead 1-0 before Camilo Sanvezzo's free kick minutes before halftime earned the visitors the road point.

Sporting KC dominated the run of play, controlling 56% of the possession and out-shooting Vancouver 25 to 10.

The home side's first opportunity came in the fifth minute when Graham Zusi picked up a pass 30 yards from goal, dribbled around two defenders and laced a shot to the near post. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton lunged to his left to parry away the attempt.

Knighton made two saves on the night, including one off an Uri Rosell laser in the 24th minute. Rosell picked up a loose ball from 25 yards and laced a shot on target. Knighton reacted quickly to knock it away and Soony Saad's rebound attempt hit the side-netting.

Sporting KC broke through in the 35th minute. Matt Besler played a short throw-in that found its way to Rosell. The Spanish midfielder lofted a ball to the back post that Chance Myers headed back toward Aurelien Collin at the six-yard box.

Collin's first strike hit the back of center back Johnny Leveron, but he connected cleanly on his second attempt and drilled it past a helpless Knighton.

The Whitecaps FC snatched the lead from Sporting KC only seconds before halftime. Leveron earned a free kick at the top of Sporting KC's penalty box and Camilo curled the ball into the upper-corner of the net to level the match in the 45th minute with his 10th goal of the season.

Sporting KC attempted 16 shots in the second half but was unable to test Knighton. Kei Kamara had two attempts on frame but his headers in the 60th minute, off a Matt Besler long throw-in, and in the 66th minute, off a Zusi corner kick, sailed over the crossbar.

Sporting KC's best opportunity to take three points came in the 76th minute when second-half sub Benny Feilhaber picked up a Rosell header and sprinter toward the Whitecaps FC goal.

The U.S. international's pass deflected off a Vancouver defender and landed at the foot of Zusi who found himself alone at the top of the 18-yard box. Zusi took a touch and fired a low shot that ricocheted off the far post and was subsequently cleared from danger.

Kamara had one final chance to give the home side three points, but his 25-yard strike in the fifth minute of stoppage time missed the near post.

Sporting KC will hit the road this weekend for a nationally televised match against the Chicago Fire. Sunday's match kicks off at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN. The match can also be heard locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.