Gutierrez streak continues in 1-0 Sporting KC win

Forward Khiry Shelton, left, attempted a header on goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Felipe Gutierrez wasted no time extending his scoring streak, knocking in the game-winning goal just three minutes into Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park.

Gutierrez intercepted a clearance by United along the left sideline and dribbled straight toward the goal, shooting the ball between the legs of United defender Frederic Brillant, and getting a fortunate bounce off Brillant’s boot.

The midfielder has scored in each of Sporting’s first five games and leads the league, but he left the game in the 53rd minute with a possible injury.

Sporting’s defense made the early goal hold up, eliminating the mistakes that made them porous in the first four games. Goalkeeper Tim Melia posted a shutout for the first time this season, stopping three shots on target from United.

Manager Peter Vermes complimented the defense’s decision-making after the game, noting that the unit cleared the ball from the goal area much more effectively.

The high press style of both teams created plenty of counter-attack opportunities. Defender Matt Besler commented that the movement of KC’s offensive players let him serve the ball forward to create offensive chances.

Sporting almost added on late in the game, with a near miss on a header from Ike Opara, and a shot just wide from Gerso Fernandes, who came on as a substitute in the 78th minute.

The victory allowed Sporting KC to keep pace with the Vancouver Whitecaps in a tie for first place in the MLS Western Conference. Sporting will head to Los Angeles to play the LA Galaxy on April 8. Their next home match is against the Seattle Sounders on April 15.

Felipe Gutierrez dribbled past one defender and through the legs of another to score a goal in the 3rd minute. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Felipe Gutierrez, left, got a hug from teammate Jimmy Medranda after scoring his goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted made a diving stop on a shot by Ike Opara. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Fans bundled up against the rapidly dropping temperature. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
United goalkeeper David Ousted dove in front of Gerso Fernandes’ run to the goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Johnny Russell, left, contended for the ball with United defender Steve Birnbaum near the D.C. goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Project Victory participant Matthew Harreld admired the gloves that goalkeeper Tim Melia gave him after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Defender Graham Zusi took a shot on goal in the first half. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Gerso Fernandes took a moment after missing a close range shot in the closing minutes of the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Johnny Russell looked for an opening on the right side. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)