Three inducted into Sporting Legends during last night’s Sporting KC match

Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union played to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park Friday night in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

by William Crum

At last night’s game between Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia Union, three were inducted into the Sporting Legends.

Club founder Lamar Hunt, manager Peter Vermes and six-time All-Star Jimmy Conrad received the honor.

Clark Hunt Jr., son of the late Lamar Hunt, said, “My father was a true visionary, he believed in soccer and how it is beneficial to the local community. We need to encourage soccer in our community. I feel we need to move forward.”

“We need to move forward, soccer was started here on the shoulders of Lamar Hunt who visualized what soccer and do for the local community. I’m really excited about what is going on with soccer in the Kansas City area. I’m only 37 years of age; I feel I need to be an ambassador regarding soccer. Who would ever imagine soccer popular in Kansas City in the old days. Now look at it. It is really exciting,” said Jimmy Conrad, former Kansas City Wizards team captain.

In the game against Philadelphia, the first half was scoreless. It wasn’t until the second half that things started to happen. Graham Zusi scored the first goal. It wasn’t until a little bit later that Brian Brown scored a goal for Philadelphia, tying the game.

After the game, the manager for Sporting Kansas City, Peter Vermes, said, “I feel we could have done better; however, Philadelphia Union is a real good team. They’re really disciplined.”

Graham Zusi said after the game, “I was really disappointed; I feel we could have won the game.”

Sporting Kansas City’s next game is in Vancouver, British Columbia, at BC Place on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Fans cheered during Friday night’s Sporting Kansas City match with the Philadelphia Union. Sporting The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

Clark Hunt Jr. accepted an honor for his late father, Lamar Hunt, founder of the soccer club, on Friday night at the Sporting Kansas City match. Lamar Hunt was inducted into the Sporting Legends. (Photo by William Crum)

Jimmy Conrad, former team captain for the Kansas City Wizards, was inducted into the Sporting Legends on Friday night. (Photo by William Crum)

Peter Vermes, manager of Sporting Kansas City, was inducted into the Sporting Legends on Friday night. (Photo by William Crum)

Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi scored his team’s only goal in the 1-1 draw Friday night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. It was Zusi’s 20th career goal for Sporting KC. (Photo by William Crum)

Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union played to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park Friday night in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

Sporting KC and the Philadelphia Union played to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park Friday night in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

Sporting KC suffers stoppage-time loss in New England

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 2-0 loss at the New England Revolution on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, conceding twice in second half stoppage time while playing shorthanded.

The defeat is the team’s first by a two-goal margin in MLS play in over a year and the second loss of the season, both coming on the road with goals in stoppage time.

The Revolution saw their best chance of the first half come in the 14th minute as Lee Nguyen’s chip played Jerry Bengtson behind the Sporting Kansas City backline. The Honduran Designated Player brought the ball down with his chest but sent his left-footed shot wide of the right post.

New England striker Teal Bunbury, acquired from Sporting KC in a trade earlier this year, had a pair of opportunities to score against his former club in the opening 45 minutes and both came from nearly the same spot eight yards out from goal. His first, a well-taken shot in the 21st minute, was blocked in the goalmouth by Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler and the second was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Eric Kronberg in the 32nd minute in what proved to be the only shot on goal of the half for either side.

Sporting Kansas City’s defense held its opponent without a goal in the first half for the seventh straight MLS match to start the 2014 season and the team’s attack outshot the Revolution 10-5 in the first half, though failed to challenge New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Sal Zizzo came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 26th minute but fired high  from the right side of the penalty area after receiving a pass from Benny Feilhaber.

Shuttleworth was called into action in the 59th minute, diving low to his left to palm away the attempt from Alex Martinez. The rookie, making his third appearance of the year for Sporting KC, then collected the ensuing corner kick and placed his shot inches wide of the near post.

Sporting Kansas City were reduced to 10 players in the 74th minute with the ejection of centerback Aurelien Collin for his challenge on Diego Fagundez.  Nevertheless, the shorthanded visitors nearly grabbed the lead three minutes later as Chance Myers led the counter and found Dom Dwyer on the right flank. His service into the area fell to Feilhaber, whose shot was off target from close range.

The visitors had done well to hold the Revolution without a shot on goal in the second half until stoppage time struck and the Revolution converted on two separate scoring sequences. The game-winning goal came off a cross from Fagundez, initially touched by Darrius Barnes and then re-directed by Bunbury inside the six-yard box.

Bunbury’s goal, his first in a Revolution uniform and first since August of 2012, snapped Sporting Kansas City’s 282-minute shutout streak and was the first for the Revolution in the regular season series in a span of 591 minutes dating back to 2011. Bunbury now has 22 goals in his MLS career (including postseason).

Two minutes later, New England doubled the lead with a penalty kick converted by Lee Nguyen. Fagundez earned the PK, forcing a save by Kronberg on the breakaway and then heading the rebound into the arm of Oriol Rosell.  Nguyen calmly slotted his shot to Kronberg’s right for his third goal of the season and 12th of his three-year MLS career.

With the loss, Sporting Kansas City slips to second place in the Eastern Conference and sits one point back of the Columbus Crew. The two sides will meet next Sunday at Sporting Park in a nationally televised match-up on NBC Sports. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the team’s MLS Cup ring presentation ceremony at 2 p.m.

Sporting KC moves to top of conference with 4-0 victory

Dom Dwyer

Sporting Kansas City moved atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Forward Dom Dwyer scored twice in the win and how has four goals in his past four games as he moves into a tie for third place among MLS scoring leaders.

Aurelien Collin also added a goal, his second of the season and 15th of his Sporting KC career to break a tie with Jose Luis Burciaga, Jr. for the second most goals scored by a defender in club history behind Jimmy Conrad (17).

The four-goal win matches the Impact’s largest margin of defeat in the team’s three-year MLS history and extends Sporting Kansas City’s unbeaten streak to five games in 2014.
The visiting Impact were held to only three shots on the night, all coming in the first half, as Sporting Kansas City lowered its league-leading goals against average to 0.67 per game with the team’s third clean sheet of the 2014 campaign.

The defensive play of the game came from Collin in the 14th minute after Montreal countered down the right flank. Felipe Martins led the two-on-one break and found forward Marco Di Vaio in the middle of the area. The designated player’s first-time shot from 10 yards out was cleared in front of the goal line by Collin and Eric Kronberg recovered in time to save Collen Warner’s foliow-up effort from the top of the box.

Sporting Kansas City responded in the 26th minute. Lawrence Olum, inserted into the lineup in place of the suspended Oriol Rosell, forced a turnover inside midfield and Benny Feilhaber threaded a pass between two Impact defenders to Sal Zizzo. Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins was forced off his line to intervene and made a sliding stop to thwart the attack.

Five minutes later, the home side took the 1-0 lead in front of a standing-room only crowd of more than 20,000, the team’s 40th straight MLS sell out at Sporting Park dating back to 2012. Matt Besler’s throw-in from the left sideline was challenged between Olum and Calum Mallace with the ball deflecting off the Impact midfielder and looping over Perkins inside the far post.

It was the first goal scored by Sporting KC in a first half this season, but it was the second half in which Peter Vermes’ side asserted its control on the match. In the 67th minute, Feilhaber intercepted a pass from Patrice Bernier and delivered another well-weighted through ball for Dwyer behind the Impact backline. Perkins was again alert to cut down the angle and blocked the chip with his face before then making a second save in short succession on the rebound.

A throw-in from Besler set up the second goal of the match, as well. The initial header from Collin led to a scramble inside the penalty area before the two-time MLS All-Star let loose a left-footed effort that beat Perkins at the near post for the club’s first goal from outside the penalty area this season.

Less than three minutes later, the lead stretched to 3-0. Graham Zusi’s free kick was chased down by Jacob Peterson in the right corner and sent into the box where Collin left it for Dwyer to hammer home with a sliding finish from six yards out. Peterson, a second-half substitute,  now has a goal or assist in each of his nine professional seasons.

Dwyer would continue his strong start to the season with his second goal of the game in the 86th minute. Zusi delivered a cross to Dwyer, positioned between Maxim Tissot and Karl Ouimette, and the third-year pro directed his header under Perkins for the game’s exclamation point prior to exiting to a standing ovation.

Sporting Kansas City will next travel to take on the New England Revolution (2-3-2, 8 points) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday live on KMCI and SKCTV.