Sporting Kansas City celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a strong performance against Chivas USA Sunday night in Sporting Park. Sporting Kansas City came out with goals on their mind as the game began with chances galore as Sporting’s attacking play saw them challenge Chivas USA’s defense time and time again.
In what was to be a strange night, Joaquin Velazquez of Chivas USA brought down Claudio Bieler just 20 seconds into the match on the edge of the box and could have been given a red card on account that it looked as though Bieler would be through on goal, but made off with just a yellow.
The flanks of Chivas USA’s defense looked open all night, and the first good chance for Sporting Kansas City saw Graham Zusi take the ball up the left, send a low ball all the way across the field to Jacob Peterson whose shot was right at goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
In the 18th minute, Zusi hit a similar low cross across the box toward a sliding Peterson but the ball was just out of his reach. Three minutes later in the 21st, Zusi orchestrated another chance for Sporting Kansas City as he managed to get through Chivas’ backline and find Bieler out wide, but his curling effort was knocked away by Kennedy.
Peterson found himself with space on the right again in the 32nd minute. He cut toward the middle and shot low but the shot was deflected into Kennedy’s arms.
The chances kept coming for Sporting Kansas City and in the 41st minute they found the only goal of the half when Zusi slid the ball to Bieler who made a great first touch to round the keeper on the right side of the box and calmly finished the play for his 5th goal of the season. This was also Zusi’s 4th assist on the season.
Zusi nearly doubled Sporting Kansas City’s lead in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. Another cross from the left was sent in dangerously but Sporting players in the box were unable to connect with it.
The second half saw much of the same attacking style, with Sporting Kansas City once again dominating the possession and chances. In the 54th minute Paulo Nagamura was denied a goal-scoring opportunity by Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the box. Kennedy received the requisite red card and was sent off, leaving cold keeper Patrick McClain to defend Bieler’s penalty kick. Bieler sent the shot low to the left while McClain went right to score his 2nd goal of the match and make it 2-0 Sporting Kansas City.
Zusi made it 3-0 for Sporting Kansas City in the 65th minute when Josh Gardner, making his debut off the bench, sent in a cross from the left and Zusi sent the ball into the top of the net.
Sporting Kansas City was not looking to sit back and defend their lead though, and persistence paid off again in the 87th minute when substitute C.J. Sapong got on the end of a cross from Mechack Jerome in the six yard box, marking Sapong’s 1st MLS goal of 2013 and Jerome’s 1st assist.
With the 4-0 win, Sporting Kansas City put themselves in a four way tie for 1st in the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-3-2. Other milestones included goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s 38th clean sheet with the club, the most in club history and Manager Peter Vermes
’ 50th match in charge of Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City will host a rematch of the 2012 US Open Cup Final with the Seattle Sounders at Sporting Park on Wednesday, May 8th at 7:30 CT.