Heading into a game without five of their starters the expectation last night heading into the match up between Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake was that Sporting would be on the front foot, and rack up a ton of shots against a RSL team that would sit deep and try to grab a point. RSL though came out playing a much higher line that KC didn't seem prepared for and Sporting never seemed to adjust. With the unexpected strategy from RSL, the visitors were able to dictate play a lot more and slow the game down to the pace that they wanted.
While RSL was the better team KC didn't start the game horribly, Dom Dwyer had a good chance when a Salt Lake defender misplayed a ball intended for Dwyer. The Sporting striker raced down field but was pushed wide of the goal and couldn't get a shot off. In fact it would be until first half stoppage time before KC even got a shot. In the mean time, Salt Lake grabbed the lead in the 29th minute off a set piece. Joao Plata played a nice floated free kick into the box where Justen Glad had completely lost his mark and easily headed a shot past a diving Tim Melia and into the net giving RSL the lead. Unfortunately for KC it wasn't like Glad did anything special to lose his defender, it was just that no one tracked him at all. After the goal KC continued to try to push forward with a lot of those efforts coming through Chance Myers and Brad Davis on KC's right side. Unfortunately Davis was floating a lot of his crosses into the box instead of driving them, making them easy to grab for Jeff Attinella in the RSL goal. KC got some good looks right at the end of the half as a ball over the top found Davis who squared for Dwyer but his effort was blocked, RSL couldn't clear and KC got another opportunity as Graham Zusi got played into the box, touching around a defender his shot towards goal was deflected wide for a corner as the half wound down.
The second half almost started in disaster for KC as Melia had to come up with a pair of big saves right after the half time break on Plata and Yura Movsisyan to keep Kansas City within a goal. Movsisyan had another good chance to double the lead in the 56th after a poor ball by Kevin Ellis allowed Movsisyan in one-v-one with Nuno Coelho, Movsisyan cut around the Portuguese center back and fired a shot that hit off the elbow of the far post and cross bar and bounced away from play to keep KC within one goal. Finally in the 79th RSL was able to double their lead, deservedly so based on their play. After Melia did a good job of keeping Salt Lake out on a corner the ball fell to Soni Mustivar who tried to clear the ball into the middle for Zusi, but he misplayed it right to Luke Mulholland who fired a shot from 30 yards out that it seemed Melia didn't see through traffic and the ball went into the far corner doubling RSL's lead. Down two goals KC still was still relying on balls over the top to try to create offense and Salt Lake continued to pressure, looking like the team still more likely to score another goal. KC introduced young designated player Diego Rubio into the game and he was able to have an immediate impact as in stoppage time he won a penalty kick for Kansas City. Luckily for KC it was called a penalty kick because replays showed the foul on Rubio occurred outside the box and shouldn't have been a penalty kick. Instead referee, Ted Unkel, who had a very poor game for both teams up to that point looked to his assistant on the other side of the field for confirmation on whether the foul was in the box or no, and ended up getting it wrong. Benny Feilhaber stepped up and buried the penalty kick but KC's efforts came too late and KC fell for the first time this season, losing 2-1 to Salt Lake.
Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Melia kept the game from getting out of hand for RSL making six saves on the night against Salt Lake.
Player Ratings - Melia 6, Dia 5, Coelho 5, Ellis 4, Myers 5, Mustivar 3, Feilhaber 5, Quintilla 4, Davis 5, Dwyer 4, Zusi 4. Subs Medranda 4, Rubio 5.