Kansas City came bursting out of the gates to begin the match. For the first time in far too long, Sporting was playing with a purpose. They looked determined. This was a fun team to watch again! But for much of the day, it looked like things would end in familiar disappointment. It took an unlikely hero in Jacob "The Answer" Peterson coming off the bench to provide an assist and the match winner.
Roger Espinoza and Peterson combined for a beautiful goal to put the game away in the 79' minute. Roger took the ball at the corner of the box and sent in an absolutely fantastic pass on a dime for Peterson. The Answer let the ball come to him and he confidently directed it into the net with his forehead. Sporting Kansas City finally had the lead.
However at one point it truly felt as though they were never going to score in this game. The onslaught of opportunities started in the 3' minute when they came within inches of an early lead. Dwyer was wrestling away defenders in the box but was able to lay it back for Zusi, who took it first time. The shot went curling between defenders and passed the keeper, but it came back into play off the crossbar. It wasn't a goal, but it was a statement of intent from the home side.
Orlando was being dominated, but they had perhaps the best chance of the half for either team. In the 7' minute the brilliance of Kaka began to show. The Brazilian DP played a perfectly weighted ball through the defense for Brek Shea giving him all the time in the world. He had Cyle Larin wide open for the easiest of all finishes, but he chose to shoot for the far post missing by the slimmest of margins.
The chances continued for both sides throughout the half. It was a wide open match with end to end action. Sporting KC had the better of the possession with a ridiculous 16 shots (five were on target), but once again had nothing to show for it. A bit of doubt began to set in throughout Children's Mercy Park.
But Peter Vermes' squad opened up the second half with even more intensity. They added ten more shots in the first 20 minutes and the situation officially descended into absurdity. It felt like the ball would never go in.
And then right on schedule, Orlando City took the lead in the 67' minute. Kaka curled in a corner kick that was headed back across the goal and it bounced around the box like a pinball machine. When the play finally ended, the ball was in the back of the net. Not even Orlando was sure they had scored. It was as ugly of a goal as they come, and it was eventually declared an own goal for Jimmy Medranda. Pretty harsh for Jimmy, who did nothing wrong on the play and had himself a fantastic match overall.
But just a few minutes later, Sporting KC would finally break its 317 minute scoreless drought. Benny Feilhaber received the ball at the top of the box. Servando Carrasco him far too much time to wait for the right pass to develop, and Orlando paid for it. Benny cleverly dinked a short ball over the defense right on the head of Peterson, who nodded it across to Dwyer for the easy headed finish. The goal was the English striker's 50th in a Sporting KC uniform and with it, he brought his team level.
After taking the lead a few minutes later, Kansas City never looked back. There was a HUGE sigh of relief around the stadium as they ended the seven game winless streak. With a grand total of 34 shots on the day, SKC had shattered the franchise record. A respectable 13 of those shots were on goal, and they forced ten saves out of keeper Joe Bendik. Finally, SKC had turned a dominant performance into a win.
Dwyer's 50th goal was not the only career milestone today, as head coach Peter Vermes also picked up his 100th career MLS win.
It was the first three point result since a 2-0 win over NYRB on April 9th. Sporting KC moves to 17 points with a 5-6-2 record. Next up is Real Salt Lake at home on Saturday, May 21st.