Sporting Kansas City’s league-leading 5 match clean sheet run, and MLS history’s fifth-longest shutout streak (545 minutes), came to an end in a 2-0 defeat to Western Conference foe Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Saturday. Though early in the MLS season the match had a playoff feel to it and was full of excitement.
With both squads coming out strong in the first half both sides had chances to take the lead, and Sporting Kansas City saw their first chance when in the 9th minute Claudio Bieler slipped a through ball in to CJ Sapong who got off a shot from the middle but Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini denied the effort.
Shortly after, the Galaxy had another chance when the Irish international Robbie Keane found Jack McBean through on goal but Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin recovered quickly and deflected his dangerous shot.
Sporting Kansas City nearly snatched the lead in the 20th minute when Graham Zusi sent a freekick bending over the wall to beat the keeper only to see the beautiful shot smack into the crossbar.
Los Angeles Galaxy went up 1-0 in the 27th minute as Landon Donovan broke up the left side of the field on a counter attack and slipped the ball through Aurelien Collin’s legs to find Marcelo Sarvas inside the six-yard box, where he calmly tapped the ball past Nielsen to end Sporting Kansas City’s 545 minute shutout streak that spanned seven matches.
The second half saw fewer chances fall to each side and was still 1-0 to the Galaxy when in the 61st minute Juninho’s freekick came close but in the end only hit the top net of Sporting Kansas City’s goal.
Just two minutes later, Sporting Kansas City nearly got their equalizing goal when CJ Sapong sent a fantastic, acrobatic volley just wide of the Galaxy goal.
Los Angeles doubled their lead in the 74th minute after Keane ran down the left flank and crossed the ball into Landon Donovan who easily slotted the ball past Nielsen to make it 2-0 to the Galaxy. Donovan nearly made it two on the night only four minutes later when he sent a sizzling shot over the crossbar.
The last chance of the night was another for the Galaxy when in the 88th minute Robbie Keane found himself one-on-one with Jimmy Nielsen who did well to stand his ground and take the ball from Keane’s feet before he made Sporting Kansas City pay.
Sporting Kansas City remains atop the East despite the loss, and still look like the team to beat in the conference. Sporting KC will return to Sporting Park to face the Portland Timbers April 27th.
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