All it took was one mistake.
Eric Kronberg's flub on Fabian Espindola's shot-cross hybrid in the 28th minute was the one mistake needed for DC United to claim an early and eventually final lead, beating Sporting Kansas City 1-0.
This was the fifth match in a row without a win for Sporting Kansas City while DC United leapfrogged Sporting KC in the standings, moving to second.
Aurelien Collin returned from his hamstring strain on Tuesday against New York and was in the starting lineup tonight. In the 8th minute, however, he went down with an apparent re-aggravated hamstring strain and had to be subbed off. Erik Palmer-Brown came in as the early sub. Palmer-Brown would end up having a decent game, helping contain Eddie Johnson and making several good reads.
Even with the defense in tatters, it would not be a defensive mistake that led to the DC United goal. In the 28th minute, Fabian Espindola attempted to cross the ball into the box towards the far post but he got too much air under it. Eric Kronberg, however, was too far out and the ball curled over his head and into the top corner for the goal. It was Espindola's 7th of the year and DC United led 1-0.
From there, DC United was able to put several men behind the ball and stall, leaving Sporting Kansas City without many good chances for the rest of the first half. The home side led 1-0 at the break.
The second half didn't provide much action as DC United continued to put men behind the ball, especially when Eddie Johnson was subbed out in the 68th minute. We did, however, get this great gif of Peter Vermes knocking down Cristian Fernandez. Gif courtesy of Andy Edwards.
Sporting Kansas City did push forward in the second half, controlling the possession the entire half. They were not able to get any good shots off, however, hardly challenging Bill Hamid at all. Soony Saad and Jimmy Medranda both came on in the second half but neither were able to spark much offense.
The biggest event of the second half came in stoppage time when Alex Caskey went in way late on a tackle on Kevin Ellis, earning himself the straight red. It was too late for Sporting KC to take advantage of the man-advantage, however, as they fell to a final score of 1-0.
Caskey's card marked the 9th time in the last 11 games for Sporting KC that someone had earned a red card in the game. Sporting KC has one more match before the World Cup break, a home match with Houston next Friday. After that, they'll have a couple of weeks before their US Open Cup bout with Minnesota United FC.