Sporting KC forward Diego Rubio reacted with delight to the goal by Daniel Salloi in the 23rd minute. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
by Brian Turrel
Sporting KC defeated the Chicago Fire 3 – 2 on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Sporting was missing its two leading scorers, Gerso Fernandes, who was suspended by the league for rough play, and Dom Dwyer, who was traded to Orlando earlier in the week. Even so, the team found plenty of offense with the remaining front line to cover a couple defensive lapses.
Game play was not nearly as close as the final score, with Sporting controlling the attack and running up a 19 to 10 shot advantage over the Fire.
Sporting forward Daniel Salloi opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, curling a shot from the left side into the upper right corner of the goal. Salloi was responsible for much of the offensive pressure on the night with a couple of near misses and another shot that was barely deflected away by Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
Chicago tied the score five minutes later on a Sporting own goal. Defender Matt Besler, freshly back from service with the U.S. Men’s National Team, failed to handle a Chicago cross into the box, instead chipping the ball past Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Sporting retook the lead just before half when midfielder Benny Feilhaber used an acrobatic bicycle kick to slam home the rebound of a Lampson save.
Kansas City’s third goal came just six minutes into the second half when a strong but wide shot from Diego Rubio barely deflected off the boot of fellow forward Latif Blessing and just inside the right post. Blessing was given credit for the goal.
Chicago threatened midway through the second half. Forward David Accam bounced a low shot off the left post to make the score 3 – 2. He nearly tied the game three minutes later with a header that was slightly off target.
Melia made two great saves late to keep the lead, including a notable lunging save on a shot by league scoring leader Nemanja Nikolic.
The victory moved Sporting KC back atop the MLS Western Conference standings, two points ahead of FC Dallas, which lost on Saturday. Kansas City plays next against Atlanta United FC at Children’s Mercy Park at 7 p.m. Aug. 6.
Photos copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel
Sporting KC fans celebrated after Daniel Salloi opened the scoring in the first half. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
A shot by Diego Rubio glanced off the right foot of Latif Blessing and inside the goal post for Sporting KC’s second goal of the game. Blessing was credited with the goal. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson got just enough touch on this Daniel Salloi shot to push it wide of the goal. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
Sporting KC defender Graham Zusi won a ball in the air against Chicago defender Patrick Doody. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Cristian Lobato made his Sporting KC debut, substituting for Daniel Salloi late in the second half. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia made a diving save to maintain the lead during a cluster of Chicago shots in the second half. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
After the game, Graham Zusi posed with former NFL star Chad Johnson. Johnson worked out with Sporting KC during the NFL lockout in 2011. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)
Members of the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office presented the colors before the start of the game. (Photo copyright 2017 by Brian Turrel)