Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sporting Kansas City hammers Columbus, takes sole possession of first place

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Sporting Kansas City moved into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night at Sporting Park.

Claudio Bieler, Soony Saad and C.J. Sapong provided the goals as Sporting KC won in front of the 31st consecutive sellout crowd at Sporting Park.

Bieler opened the scoring for Sporting KC with a penalty kick in the seventh minute. Benny Feilhaber earned the PK off a short corner kick.

The veteran midfielder dribbled past one defender before Wil Trapp tripped him 12 yards from goal and referee Jose Carlos Rivero pointed to the penalty spot. Bieler converted the spot kick past goalkeeper Matt Lampson for his tenth goal of the season.

Sporting KC doubled their lead in the 41st minute behind Soony Saad's fourth goal of the season. Paulo Nagamura intercepted an errant Columbus pass and found Bieler deep in the Crew's defensive third.

The Argentine striker dribbled twice and found Saad streaking into the penalty box. The third-year striker cut to the inside and ripped his shot to the far post past Lampson.

Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made one save on the night, a low shot from Jairo Arrieta in the 78th minute. The shutout was Nielsen's tenth of the season, tied for the most in MLS, as the Danish goalkeeper improved his goals against average to a league-best 0.96.

The home side scored their third goal just minutes after halftime. Spanish midfielder Oriol Rosell received the ball from Seth Sinovic and lofted a 30-yard pass to the penalty spot. Lampson came off his line but Sapong deftly headed it past the onrushing goalkeeper for his first goal since May 5.

Sporting KC entered the match missing six players, including Dom Dwyer who was loaned to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC for their championship match. Dwyer tallied four goals and one assist as the Lions defeated Charlotte 7-4 to win the USL PRO championship.

Colombian midfielder Jimmy Medranda made his MLS debut when he entered the match in the 90th minute for Feilhaber and the 19-year-old directed a long-range attempt on frame one minute later.

Sporting KC has the week off as they prepare for their CONCACAF Champions League match against Real Esteli on September 17 at Sporting Park.

Sporting KC will return to MLS action on September 21 with a road match against Toronto FC.