Graham Zusi was a late scratch on top of Dom Dwyer being suspended. Jimmy Medranda was shockingly slotted in at left back and Paulo Nagamura was starting in place of the injured Roger Espinoza. It's safe to say no one expected much from Sporting KC against Toronto FC.
However, Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth and Jacob Peterson all saw it differently as they each chipped in a goal en route to Sporting KC's 3-1 win over Toronto FC. The win moved SKC into third place in the Western Conference for the time being.
The away side came out strong to start the match and Chance Myers had a couple of good opportunities early, once on a header and once on a volley. Both shots, however, went wide and kept the match scoreless.
Sporting KC's first score came in the 22nd minute when Kevin Ellis was clattered into by a Toronto FC man in the box, leading to a penalty kick for Sporting. Feilhaber put it away down the middle for his eighth goal of the year to give Sporting KC a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, however, and the attacking prowess of Toronto FC made itself known in a big way as Toronto FC equalized. Sebastian Giovinco sent in a through ball to Michael Bradley, who was all alone behind the Sporting defense and the United States international rolled it past Tim Melia for the tying goal.
It would only be seven minutes of a tied match, however. In the 29th minute, Feilhaber sent in a free kick from the wing that found the head of Nemeth. Nemeth lifted the ball up and, in a high arc, made its way over Toronto keeper Joe Bendik and into the net for the score. This gave Sporting KC the 2-1 lead, which they carried into halftime.
In the second half, Paulo Nagamura came off for Amobi Okugo in the 57th minute. Okugo made his Sporting KC debut and he would play a part in the third goal of the afternoon for the away side a bit later. While the second half didn't provide the same energy and tempo that Sporting KC had controlled in the first, they were still holding well in the back and not allowing Toronto FC to score.
A large part in this was from big performances from Kevin Ellis, Jimmy Medranda and Tim Melia. Ellis shut down Jozy Alitdore and, more importantly, Sebastian Giovinco for most of the match. Medranda was solid in his left back debut, providing fresh legs on the defensive wing and Tim Melia continued his improbably fantastic run through 2015. He had a save of the week candidate in the 80th minute which started with a one-handed save from a ball headed toward the far-post from Jackson. The ensuing rebound was attempted to be shot by Ahmed Kantari but Melia got in front of the ball with his body to deflect it away.
Altidore had an open header from the rebound and cross that came afterwards, but sent it wide to end the threat.
After that high-paced affair, Sporting KC put in the dagger in the 87th minute. Peterson received the ball from Okugo and advanced into the box from the wing before sliding the ball past Bendik for his first goal since 2014. This gave Sporting KC the 3-1 lead, which ended up being the final score.
After the match there was no word on the severity of Zusi's injury before the match, all that is known is that he has a calf strain. He may or may not be available for Sporting KC's next match, the US Open Cup semifinal against Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park on Wednesday.