Sporting Kansas City were able to come back from a one goal deficit in the 2nd half to grab the victory and 3 points at Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. The win extends Sporting Kansas City’s unbeaten streak to six games and ended Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak of 11 games.
The match was set to be a physical affair when Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert barreled through Kei Kamara while going for the ball in the first 20 seconds of the match, earning himself a yellow card. Graham Zusi’s free kick found Ike Opara, starting in place of U.S. Men’s National Team call-up Matt Besler, but Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was able to scoop the ball up.
In the 16th minute, Real Salt Lake threatened to take the lead. Joao Plata played a long ball into the box to Luis Gil. Jimmy Nielsen came off his line, but was beaten by Gil, who crossed to Robbie Findley but he was unable to send it toward goal and Nielsen was able to recover and stop the chance.
Nielsen was in action again just minutes later when Findley found Plata at the back post, but Nielsen was able to get his fingers onto the cross and affect the move, allowing Chance Myers to clear the ball for a corner.
Last match’s hero for Sporting Kansas City, Soony Saad, nearly beat Attinella in the 49th minute for the first goal. His low shot to the left was heading toward the back post but Attinella, Real Salt Lake’s third-string goalkeeper, got down quickly to knock the ball around the post and out for a corner. On the ensuing corner, Opara broke free at the back post and his header seemed destined for goal but Plata was well-positioned and cleared it off the line.
Real Salt Lake took the lead in the 56th minute when Javier Morales’ free kick was overran by Nielsen and slipped through his hands. Findley showed great presence of mind to knock the loose ball into the back of the net with his head for the 1-0 lead.
The match changed dramatically in the 66th minute when Wingert received his second yellow card, this one for pulling down Soony Saad as he ran past him on the right flank. Sporting Kansas City capitalized immediately, with the ensuing Zusi free kick bouncing around the box in front of goal before Saad was able to twist his body to send the ball into the goal for the equalizer.
Sporting Kansas City almost found the winner in the 89th minute, but substitute Benny Feilhaber’s powerful strike was directed directly at Attinella.
The winning goal was to be found deep in stoppage time for Sporting Kansas City. In the 97th minute, Opara was found once again by a Zusi corner kick and he headed the ball nicely for the 2-1 lead.
Sporting Kansas City own the best road record in the MLS now, and have extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to four points over the New York Red Bulls.
Sporting Kansas City’s next match is next Saturday July 27th at the Montreal Impact