Sporting KC traveled to Toronto to face Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon. The rain came down throughout the entire match and contributed to a rough, unorganized game between two very different teams. But Sporting KC was able to battle through the rough weather to win against the Canadian side 2-1.
To say that this game was a rough one is an understatement. Kansas City was called for 14 fouls against Toronto’s 12, with each side seeing two players issued yellow cards, and Toronto having a player sent off for a straight red card late in the match.
Three of the total four yellow cards issued on Saturday afternoon came before Sporting KC opened the scoring in the 18th minute. It was a great goal scored by C.J. Sapong, who has come under some criticism by Kansas City supporters for his lack of scoring this season. Graham Zusi found a wide open Dom Dwyer in the penalty box. Instead of trying to score himself, Dwyer was able to head the ball back towards Sapong who had found himself open in front of goal. His header beat the Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik, and Sporting was ahead 1-0.
The game opened up a little bit after the first goal with action happening on both ends of the pitch. But the rain soaked turf made it difficult for either team to really hold any significant possession.
Toronto was able to equalize in the 38th minute through an unusual defensive lapse by Sporting KC. Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen tried to play the ball to defender Aurelien Collin. Collin mis-judged the poor pass from Nielsen, and Toronto midfielder Alvaro Rey was able to steal the ball. He found Darel Russell wide open at the top of the 18-yard box, and slotted his shot past Jimmy Nielsen. It was a goal that Sporting KC should have never conceded, but the scoreline read 1-1.
The rain came down even harder in the second half, making the playing conditions unfavorable to either side.
After eight minutes into the second half, Sporting KC was able to take the lead and score the final goal of the match. In the 53rd minute, Chance Myers played in a great cross to Sapong who had beaten the nearest defender. Bendik was unable to stop Sapong’s diving header, who scored his second goal of the game, and his fourth goal of the season.
The rest of the game saw Toronto look for the equalizer, and resulted in some bizarre moments as the match came to a close. It started when Sporting KC substitute Peterson Joseph was not called for a very reckless challenge from behind. Many Toronto fans felt that Joseph should have been carded for the challenge, with some believing he should have seen a red card.
The red card would come soon after this incident, but it was for the Toronto FC captain Steven Caldwell. After a poor pass was played to Caldwell, he went into a challenge against Sporting KC’s Josh Gardner with his studs up. Head official Allen Chapman deemed it worthy of a straight red card for a dangerous tackle, and Caldwell was sent to the dressing room in the 86th minute.
With four minutes of stoppage time added to the end of the second half, a very controversial no-call happened in the 92nd minute. Toronto was awarded a free kick in Sporting KC’s half. The ball was sent in, and Collin looked to have taken down Toronto forward Justin Braun in the penalty area. Chapman once again deemed it was a legal challenge, but replays showed that Collin pulled Braun down without making an attempt to play the ball.
Although it was a rough match from the beginning, Sporting KC was able to get all three points in Toronto. Kansas City is now tied for first in the Eastern Conference with New York Red Bulls with 48 points. New York plays FC Dallas at home on Sunday afternoon, and will have played one more game than Kansas City after their match on Sunday, which is favorable toward Sporting KC.