Sporting Kansas City traveled into Chicago and took home the victory with a score of 2-1, using two goals in the first eight minutes of the match to do so. The win puts them in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Impact.
Sporting Kansas City are gaining a reputation for attacking early and often this MLS season, and this match against the Chicago Fire was more of the same. In the 6th minute, Benny Feilhaber took a first hit at the ball with the outside of his foot, sending it through traffic toward the Chicago goal. His shot hit the inside of the post and into the goal to give Sporting Kansas City an early 1-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, playmaker Graham Zusi doubled Sporting Kansas City’s lead. Zusi brought the ball up the left side of the pitch before floating a curling ball that looked like it may have been meant as a cross, but found the top corner just out of Chicago goalkeeper, Paolo Tornaghi’s reach to make it 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City.
The Chicago Fire nearly got a goal back in the 10th minute but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made a wonderful save to knock the ball over the top of his goal to preserve the early lead.
Chicago cut the lead to one in the 38th minute. Mike Magee gets a ball over the top and while several Sporting Kansas City players slowed to call offside, Magee calmly takes the ball to near the penalty box and slips the ball past Nielsen to make it 2-1.
In the 46th minute, Chicago nearly evened the score. Magee makes a great pass that looked to be dangerous in to Chris Rolfe whose low shot goes just wide of the post.
In the 52nd minute, Chance Myers carved out a decent chance for Sporting Kansas City. His overlapping run allowed him to send a low cross into the box where Claudio Bieler, who had been quiet for much of the match, slowed his run to find a pocket of space nearly the penalty spot. Bieler’s first time shot sailed far too high of the goal in the end.
Sporting Kansas City nearly grabbed a third goal in the 59th minute when Claudio Bieler found Kei Kamara on the right side of the goal. Chicago defender Austin Berry was able to make a double block; first blocking Kamara’s shot before recovering to block Oriol Rosell’s shot off the rebound as well to keep Chicago in the match.
While there were some half-chances, the match slowed down for the next twenty minutes before each team grabbed some last chances toward the end of the match. In the 87th minute, Chicago’s Joel Lindpere was able to get in behind Sporting Kansas City’s defense in the box and slide the ball toward the middle. Dilly Duka’s low shot from 15 yards out was collected easily by Nielsen to keep the score at 2-1.
In the first minute of extra time, second half substitute Soony Saad sent a long, curling cross into the box to fellow substitute Dom Dwyer. Dwyer found himself wide open for the header but couldn’t direct it goalward.
Sporting Kansas City is now 8-5-6 with 30 points and tied for first place in the Eastern Conference. Their next match is Saturday, July 13th against Toronto FC at Sporting Park in Kansas City.