Monday, March 24, 2014

Sporting KC earns 1-0 victory over San Jose

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City extended the team's home winning streak against San Jose to eight straight with a 1-0 victory over the Earthquakes on Saturday at Sporting Park. Dom Dwyer converted a penalty kick in the 57th minute and the Sporting KC defense held their opponent to a single shot on goal for the second straight MLS match in Eric Kronberg's second career MLS shutout.

Playing the team's fifth game in a 15-day stretch to open the 2014 season, Sporting Kansas City snapped the Earthquakes 12-game unbeaten streak in all competition. In doing so, Manager Peter Vermes recorded the 63rd regular season victory of his coaching career, tying ties him with Glynn Myernick and Peter Nowak for 15th most in MLS history.

San Jose's only shot on goal of the game came in the fifth minute as Shaun Francis' cross was re-directed on frame by Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi from 15 yards out and smothered by Eric Kronberg.

In the 18th minute, Sporting Kansas City were poised to take the lead only to see one shot cleared off the line and two others strike the left post in a matter of seconds. Off a Seth Sinovic throw-in, Ike Opara's header was flicked over Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch and saved on the goalline by Pierazzi. Sal Zizzo's ensuing shot from outside the area struck the left post and rebounded to Opara, who was again denied by the post on the follow-up effort.

Sporting Kansas City threatened again in the 25th minute with Benny Feilhaber finding Graham Zusi inside the penalty area. Zusi's first-time shot was struck well and forced a diving stop from Busch to keep the score level through halftime.

Opara, facing his former team for the first time, came close again in the 55th minute with a header off Zusi's cross that was tipped over the bar by Busch.

The game-winning goal would come from the penalty spot after Steven Lenhart was whistled for a handball during a scramble inside the box. Dom Dwyer calmly converted the penalty kick, sending Busch the wrong way for his first goal of the season and fourth in his MLS career (including postseason).

The Earthquakes' best scoring opportunity of the match came in the 71st minute. Chris Wondolowski was the first to Clarence Goodson's header inside the Sporting KC penalty area and fired just wide. Wondolowski would have another look in the 83rd minute on a free kick from the top of the area, however the set piece carried over the crossbar.

With the clean sheet, Kronberg lowers his goals against average to 0.66 in MLS matches this season. Additionally, all Sporting KC fans can receive 50% off any regular price online order at local participating Papa John's retailers over the next two days as part of the "Shutouts for Slices" promotion. Enter the code 'SPORTINGKC' online at to take advantage of the offer.

Sporting Kansas City will next face the Colorado Rapids (1-0-1) at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 29. The match will be shown live locally on KMCI (38 the Spot) and across the Midwest on the the Sporting KC Television Network. More than 700 Sporting Kansas City supporters will make the trip to Dick's Sporting Goods Park and all fans are invited to the team's official watch party at Johnny's Tavern.