Sporting KC looked to get back to their winning ways when they visited the Chicago Fire on Friday night. But a first half goal from Chicago’s Hunter Jumper was enough to see the home side pull through with the victory.
The Friday night Eastern Conference match up saw the return of Graham Zusi to Kansas City’s starting line up. It was his first start after being injured in the MLS All-Star Game on July 31st. Teal Bunbury also returned to the starting line up for the first time since August 26th, 2012 when he tore his ACL in a game against New York Red Bulls.
The match opened with very little chances for either side. In the 13th minute Jalil Anibaba crossed the ball to find Mike Magee. He played the ball back towards the top of the six-yard-box where Jumper met the ball with a diving header to score on a wide open net. It would end up being the game winner for Chicago.
Sporting KC dominated the possession after the goal, possessing the ball 59% of the time in the entire match. They also out passed Chicago 423 to 277, completing 80% of their pass attempts. But having better stats do not always equal goals, as Sporting KC demonstrated on Friday night.
Kansas City never really tested Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Substitute Dom Dwywer had arguably the best chance in the 83rd minute for Sporting KC. Zusi found Chance Myers on the right side, who played in a cross to Dwyer. Dwyer’s looping header beat Johnson, but was denied by the crossbar.
New designated player for Chicago Juan Luis Anangonó almost got his first goal with his new club in the 73rd minute. He was able to turn an excellent volley on target, but Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made an excellent fingertip save. Just before Anangonó’s chance Chicago had the opportunity to extend their lead when Chris Rolfe found himself one-on-one with Nielsen, but he put his shot wide of goal.
It was a poor performance from Sporting KC, who have lost four out of their last five matches. While they still sit at the top of the Eastern Conference, it most likely will not last long with both New York and Montreal Impact in action on Saturday night.
Sporting KC will look to get back to into form on Wednesday night when they travel to Honduras to face Club Deportivo Olimpia in CONCACAF Champions League group play. They will return to MLS play on August 31st when they return to Sporting Park to play the Colorado Rapids.