Sporting Kansas City climbed back to the top of the Eastern Conference today, taking down the Columbus Crew 2-0 at Sporting Park. KC was already coming into the game on a high as in pregame, the players received their rings for last year's MLS Cup win.
With both teams playing a high pressure style, it was on display from the start today as both teams pressured the other with a high line. KC was the one to take the early advantage of it in the 10th minute. A long ball by Matt Besler switched the field for Graham Zusi. Sporting's US national teamer picked out Chance Myers on an overlapping run. Myers crossed the ball into the middle for Paulo Nagamura. Nagamura's effort was blocked twice. The second one deflected off another Crew player into the path of Jacob Peterson. The winger hit the shot on the side volley putting the ball past Steve Clark and into the net giving KC the lead. Both teams continued to high pressure all over the field, numerous times, Dom Dwyer would chase down Clark after he'd gotten a back pass and almost win the ball off his foot. The Crew created a number of headaches for KC as well with their high pressure. The chances though for both teams were lacking. In the 31st though Eric Kronberg pulled out a fantastic save. Will Trapp played in a nice cross to the middle of the box that curled away from Kronberg towards Bernardo Anor. Anor made good contact with the header and put it on goal right near the feet of Kronberg. KC's goalkeeper though got down amazingly well making the save. The rebound was cleared away by Seth Sinovic. Minutes later at the other end of the field Sinovic almost doubled KC's lead. A nice ball by Oriol Rosell played a lofted ball over the top for Sinovic. KC's leftback brought the ball down and tried to fire it into the corner, but Clark came up with a big save.
Just minutes into the second half, KC almost added a second again. Benny Feilhaber picked out Zusi on the wing with plenty of space. Zusi played a low ball across the box towards Dwyer at the back post, but Dwyer couldn't stear his shot on goal as it hit the side netting. The Crew continued to push forward trying to find a tying goal and had another great opportunity in the 65th minute. Anor again had the chance firing a shot from distance that Kronberg got down well to save. This time the rebound fell to Jairo Arrieta. Arrieta was offside though but Kronberg still made a save on Arrieta's chance that he didn't get credit for. The game took a turn in the 80th minute. Feilhaber won the ball off of Trapp in Columbus' end of the field and the Crew midfielder made a sliding challenge on Feilhaber, missing the ball. Trapp picked up his second yellow of the game and was given his marching orders as the Crew finished the game with 10. The Crew couldn't get much going with the disadvantage, and KC was willin to possess and kill the clock. But in stoppage time KC killed the game off with a second goal. A Kronberg goal kick was not controlled by Michael Parkhurst and before he could play the ball back to Clark Soony Saad picked it off him. As Saad raced towards the box, Parkhurst recovered and slid the ball away. It went into the path of Zusi though who chipped the ball into the middle for Claudio Bieler who controlled the ball and slotted it home to double KC's lead just before the final whistle.
Wizards Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - KC's goalkeeper came up big today a few times for KC. He made a couple great saves on Anor and another on Arrieta that does not appear in the stats because it was ruled out due to an offside call.
Player Ratings - Kronberg 8, Sinovic 7, Besler 7, Olum 7, Myers 7, Rosell 6, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 7, Dwyer 7, Peterson 7. Subs Saad 7, Martinez 6, Bieler NR.