Sporting KC Play Out Scoreless Draw Against Real Salt Lake


Sporting KC faced off against Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake with second place in the conference on the line on Saturday.

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Sporting KC was without forward Graham Zusi due to a hamstring injury, and Seth Sinovic because of a groin injury. The only change in the line up from last weeks game against the Philadelphia Union was Krisztian Nemeth was given the start on the left wing in place of Jimmy Medranda.

Sporting KC nearly opened up the scoring in the sixth minute when Ike Opara found himself up the field near the penalty box. Opara played a great ball through to Jalil Anibaba, and Anibaba gathered the ball and fired a shot from close range, but Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando was positioned well to block the shot.

Sporting KC once again found themselves with a chance at the lead in the 25th minute when Benny Feilhaber whipped in a corner kick and Opara rose up and got his head to the ball, but a defender deflected the ball over gall and out for another corner.

Sporting KC had their best opportunity just after half time when Feilhaber crossed a ball into the box that found Krisztian Nemeth. Nemeth got his foot to it and directed it towards goal, but it hit the post and spilled out to Jacob Peterson who one timed it, but sent it just wide of the post.

Disaster struck for Sporting KC in the 81st minute when Opara rose to head the ball in attack. Opara jumped up, but seemed to pull up mid jump and landed hard immediately grabbing his calf. Kevin Ellis was subbed in for Opara, and Opara was carried off the field unable to walk. It looked to be a calf muscle injury, but no final word has been reported as of Sunday night.

Despite being on the offensive the entire game Sporting KC was unable to find the finishing touch to pull ahead as the game ended 0-0 giving Sporting KC their third shutout in the last four games, and extended their four game unbeaten streak.

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The real star of the game was the Sporting KC defense which held Real Salt Lake without a shot on goal making goalkeeper Luis Marin’s job easy. Real Salt Lake was in a shell a majority of the game keeping nearly all their players behind the ball.

Sporting KC captain Matt Besler was called up to join the United States Men’s National Team on Sunday for their friendly against Mexico on Wednesday.

Sporting KC will be in a tough position if they are without Besler and Opara next Saturday against the defending champions LA Galaxy. Anibaba and Ellis would most likely fill in at centerback if Opara and Besler are unable to play.

Next: Sporting KC Steal Victory From Philadelphia Union