Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dom Dwyer scores twice in 2-2 draw with Toronto FC, now leads MLS with 10 goals

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer scored twice in a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Friday. The third-year striker moves atop the MLS goal scoring chart with 10 goals scored in 2014 and becomes the third player in team history to score in four consecutive MLS regular season matches.

Dwyer struck in the 47th and 84th minutes to twice put Sporting KC ahead in front of the 43rd consecutive sold-out crowd at Sporting Park. Toronto FC responded on both occasions, rescuing a road result with a game-tying goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time on their second short-handed goal of the match following an ejection to captain Steven Caldwell in the 63rd minute.

The second-half action came on the heels of a first half that featured just three attempted shots from either side and of those, four of the six were blocked before reaching their target. The lone shot on goal in the first half came in the final minute of play with an ambitious chipped attempt from the foot of Justin Morrow along the left touchline.

The stalemate was shortlived in the second half as Dwyer put his name on the scoresheet within two minutes of the opening whistle. He held off two defenders in the attacking third and found Sal Zizzo inside the left edge of the penalty area. Zizzo took a touch and returned the ball back into the path of Dwyer, whose first-time shot from 15 yards out was buried into the back of the net with a left-footed strike.

Paulo Nagamura, wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Matt Besler (international duty), forced a diving save from Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik in the 62nd minute in the aftermath of a corner kick from Antonio Dovale. A minute later, Toronto FC were reduced to 10 players when referee Baldomero Toledo sent off Caldwell for his high challenge on Dovale near midfield.

Nevertheless, Toronto FC pulled level within four minutes. Designated Player Jermain Defoe dribbled through the central channel and slipped a pass for Luke Moore to finish the scoring sequence with his one-timed shot past Eric Kronberg . Moore, acquired via trade from Colorado earlier this month after starting the season with Chivas USA, now has two goals in his first two league games with Toronto FC, while Defoe earned his first MLS assist on the play.

Nagamura came close to putting his side back in the lead in the 82nd minute, unexpectedly volleying a shot from inside the area as it was being brought down off the chest of Dwyer. The go-ahead goal came moments later as Toledo pointed to the penalty spot in the 83rd minute when Igor Juliao was brought down inside the area by Toronto FC defender Doneil Henry.

Dwyer calmly converted his third penalty kick of the season, sending his shot beyond the outstretched arms of Bendik despite the goalkeeper correctly guessing to his right. Dwyer now has three multi-goal games in 2014 with each coming against a Canadian club.

Down a man and down a goal, Toronto FC rallied late to earn their first point at Sporting Park and first result in Kansas City in their last six trips. Rookie Nick Hagglund delivered the service and fellow defender Bradley Orr headed home the equalizer for his first career MLS goal since joining Toronto FC on loan from the Blackburn Rovers.

The stoppage-time goal is the fifth conceded by Sporting KC in the 90th minute or later through 12 games this season and produced Toronto FC's first draw in 15 games dating back to September 2013. With the draw, Sporting Kansas City moves into second place in the Eastern Conference and sits two points back of the New England Revolution.

Sporting Kansas City - shorthanded in central defense due to injuries sustained by Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara and Oriol Rosell, as well as international duty for Matt Besler and Lawrence Olum along with a suspension served by Erik Palmer-Brown - paired Chance Myers and Kevin Ellis in front of Kronberg on Friday. Myers exited the match in the first half with an injured left achilles and Seth Sinovic stepped into the position, becoming the eighth centerback used by the club in 2014.

Sporting Kansas City will next host the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN2. The two teams were separated by one point in the 2013 Supporters' Shield race and feature the top two goal scorers in Major League Soccer this season.

The first 15,000 fans inside Sporting Park on Tuesday will receive commemorative replica MLS Cup rings. A limited number of tickets remain available on or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

Prior to Friday's match, former club captain Jimmy Nielsen returned to Sporting Park for the first time since lifting the Philip F. Anschutz trophy after MLS Cup 2013. The White Puma was formally presented with his MLS Cup ring on field during the pre-game ceremony.