Sporting KC headed into tonight's game sitting in sixth play in the Western Confernce with 27 points, but with anywhere from three to five games in hand on the five teams in front of them, including the Vancouver Whitecaps. On a weekend where teams in front of them were dropping points, KC picked up ground with a 1-0 win at BC Place.
The first half started with a fairly even game from both teams as each side seemed to be feeling each other out a little bit, without much created in the way of chances. The best early chance came for Vancouver in the 13th minute off a corner kick as a header was flicked on towards goal past Tim Melia, but Benny Feilhaber was behind him to head the ball off the line. The rest of the half saw Vancouver continue to apply more and more pressure to Kansas City, but the KC back line and Melia came up big shutting down the likes of Octavio Rivero and Kekuta Manneh, not allowing them really clear looks at goal as both teams went into the half time break tied at 0-0.
The first half saw Kansas City come out as the more aggressive side, attacking more. That paid off for KC in the 52nd minute. After a short corner, Soni Mustivar almost lost possession but kept the ball in Vancouver's end with an overhead kick that landed at the feet of Krisztian Nemeth who was given time to turn, take a touch and curl a cross into the box where Kevin Ellis had stayed up. Ellis headed the ball past David Ousted and into the far corner putting KC up 1-0. KC almost doubled their lead in the 58th minute. After working the ball down the left the ball was laid off by Feilhaber to Nemeth about 25 yards from goal. Nemeth fired a low shot towards goal but it hit off the outside of the post. The rebound made it to Jacob Peterson who was at the top of the box, but he couldn't put his rebound effort on net. Both teams were starting to find space as Vancouver had a good chance in the 60th minute as Rivero combined with Crisitan Techera to play the Uruguayan into the box with a back heel. Techera had his angle cut down by Melia, but fired a shot off the KC goalkeeper that bounced off of Matt Besler and was headed towards the back of the net before it was cleared away by Amadou Dia who'd raced back to clear it off the line. KC continued to push for a second and Peterson had a good opportunity to make it 2-0 after a cross in from the left, Peterson tried to hit a side volley first time, but ended up mishitting it, but he still forced Oustad to push the ball wide for a corner kick. Vancouver late on really put the pressure on KC, but Melia continued his fine performance keeping the ball out. The best of those probably came in the 90th minute off a long free kick. Whitecaps defender, Tim Parker got a head on it and put it towards the corner of the goal but Mellia got down well and tipped the ball away preserving the lead. Sporting held out and picked off the Whitecaps bringing them to 30 points, just two points out of first place and anywhere between two and four games in hand on all five teams above them in the standings.
Wizards Man of the Match - Soni Mustivar - The Haitian midfielder was a beast last night, working up and down the field as well as side to side to assist KC's two rookie outside backs manage the Whitecaps' speed down the flanks. He intercepted 19 passes, the most for a single player in a game since Opta started tracking the stats. KC really may have finally found the perfect replacement for Oriol Rosell.
Honorable Mention - Tim Melia, Kevin Ellis
Player Ratings - Melia 8, Abdul-Salaam 6, Ellis 7, Besler 6, Dia 7, Mustivar 9, Espinoza 7, Feilhaber 6, Nemeth 5, Dwyer 5, Peterson 5. Subs Hallisey NR.