Sporting Kansas City were without Benny Feilhaber, who was still nursing a hamstring injury, for a second straight game. In his place Jimmy Medranda slid into the midfield and Soony Saad took Medranda’s spot on the wing. No Benny seemed to be no problem though for SKC.
Colorado on the other hand were without any of the players they picked up in the Minnesota United trade, so essentially they were down two starters.
The game got off to an early start for Sporting as the combination on the right side of the field between Graham Zusi and Gerso Fernandes finally resulted in their first assist. Gerso would ultimately send a ball through the box that Tim Howard would get a hand to but he didn’t push it far enough away and Seth Sinovic cleaned it up for his first career regular season goal in just the 6th minute.
Another two angles on the Sinovic goal.
After the goal the game started to settle down a bit for both teams. Colorado would proceed to be offside several times as they kept pushing towards the goal but the next good chance would come from Sporting KC as well. This time up the left wing where Soony Saad had his 2nd straight start. He sent a cross right through the box but no one was there to clean up the easy goal.
The next pivitol moment of the match came in the 24th minute. Gerso was once again causing trouble up the right side of the field when there was contact in the box sending him to the ground. Tim Howard absolutely lost his mind that Gerso should be carded for diving but there was clear contact. For my money, it’s not a PK, but there was definitely contact.
In the 32nd minute a Gerso run would produce a corner kick for SKC. From the kick Sporting would go short and Zusi’s shot was blocked but only as far as Medranda. Jimmy’s pass would lead to a goal that was called back for offside. The team is out of frame but it seems clear Dom and maybe Opara were both offside. Dom will have to wait for his first goal of the season.
The first booking of the night would go against Sporting KC despite the early fouls from Colorado setting the tone that the game would be physical. Ilie Sanchez was very late on a challenge and deservingly picked up a yellow card.
Just before the half Colorado started to find their stride in the attack. The first opportunity came when Melia was forced into a bad clearance and the Rapids were deep in Sporting’s zone. The ball was thrown in and Kevin Doyle sent a cross that Dominic Badji got his head to but Tim Melia came up huge with the save.
Marlon Hairston then beat an offside trap and he probably should have just shot as he was one on one with Melia but he sent a cross through the box but it was too heavy for Azira to find the other end and put away the goal. The game would go into the half with SKC up 1-0, but not before Zusi was on the wrong end of a rough foul.
The second half got under way and the Rapids really looked like they were trying to make up the one goal difference. Their first early chance would leave Marlon Hairston clearly offside. Melia would come in very late not realizing the play was dead and was lucky to avoid the second booking of the night.
Shortly after that SKC got into the attack and Medranda would pay for it. He took a very violent knee to the head that would open up a cut. Somehow there was no card for this foul. Somehow Medranda would remain in the game.
The ensuing free kick from the Watts foul would leave an odd deflection to the top of the box that Graham Zusi tried to send home a goalazo, but the strike landed comfortably in Howard’s hands.
The pressure would just keep coming as Soony Saad would nearly get on the board as well but his shot would get deflected wide.
It had been building throughout the second half and finally Sporting broke through for their second goal. It start with some nifty moves from Dom Dwyer to spring the attack. Ultimately both Dom and Espinoza would pick up assists and Designated Player Gerso Fernandes would tally his first MLS goal.
The goal was so nice, let’s look at it twice.
After that lead Colorado would make their first sub taking off arguably their best player in Gashi and replacing him with Calvert. Shortly after the Rapids had their best effort of the second half but Opara would shut it down.
Despite the 2-0 lead Sporting kept pushing for more goals. Another nice buildup on the right side of the pitch between Gerso and Zusi would setup Soony Saad for a great shot from the top of the box that he’d like back. He ultimately sent it right into Howard’s chest.
Sporting KC would make their first sub of the night bringing off a bandaged Medranda for Soni Mustivar to attempt to preserve the late lead in the 74th minute.
Dom Dwyer had one of his best chances of the season with an errant clearance that went off Watts face and after a header from Mustivar. Dom was one-on-one with Howard but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Dom refused to be denied tonight though as Daniel Salloi came onto the pitch for Soony Saad and immediately made an impact. Salloi found Sinovic who sent a beautiful cross in for Dwyer who could no longer be denied. 3-0 Sporting KC!
Something about getting too far ahead doesn’t sit with Kansas City well though. They’ve kept clean sheets in all their draws but their wins is another story. Just before the game was to come to an end Soni Mustivar was called for a PK and Colorado would end up converting the kick.
Ultimately the game would end with a 3-1 score line. 300 percent more goals than the team had scored for the rest of the season. Not a bad way to return home.
One bizarre thing worth seeing is the interaction between Dom Dwyer and Tim Howard after the game. Howard was very animated and Dom seemed very calm. Vermes even had to hop in. It’ll be interesting to see these two on the same team if Dom gets his US National Team call up this summer.