The road had not been kind to Sporting so far this season, but they turned that around and stole all three points away from the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night in Carson City. A miscue in goal gave them the lead, and Ike Opara scored the winner with an absolutely beautiful bicycle kick.
The match was fairly even in the opening couple of minutes. Sporting KC let it be known they were not afraid to get forward and play attacking soccer. In turn, the Galaxy let it be known they were going to be dangerous on the counter.
In the 23’ minute Sporting would be gifted the 1-0 advantage. Gerso left the ball behind him for Espinoza so he could make a run into the box. The defense failed to step up, and Roger fired it on target. LA Keeper Clément Diop meant to punch it away but the ball knuckled and glanced off of him as it flew into the net. For the first time in three games, SKC had scored an away goal and had the 1-0 lead.
The visitors then settled in and took control of the match. In the 35’ minute they would double the lead, and they would do it in style. With the team still way up the pitch for a set piece, the ball bounced back to Besler near the midfield. He looped it back into the box with one touch and Ike Opara read the play very well. Diop charged off his line but it was far too late. While still in motion, Ike used an overhead kick to dink the ball passed Diop and double the lead. It was truly an amazing display of athleticism and probably the goal of the year so far for Sporting KC.
The Galaxy were hungry to get back into the match in the second half. The stingy SKC defense was staying organized and doing well to preserve the lead against a dangerous attack. But in the 77’ minute the home side would get one back.
It was a pretty ugly goal as the ball was banging around the box before barely crossing the line. Melia made a great save off a corner kick but it fell into traffic in the box. Dave Romney headed the ball back on frame. Melia, because he is Tim Melia, again got his paws on this attempt, but the ball still trickled JUST over the line before he knock it away again.
Sporting KC fell back and made sure to put bodies behind the ball and preserve the precious 1-0 lead. Los Angeles were growing frustrated and desperate as they searched for an equalizer the last 15 minutes.
Finally, the whistle blew and Sporting KC had secured all three points. Once again, they went on the road and had more possession than their opponent, but this time they left with the spoils of victory.
SKC sit five points clear atop the Western Conference with 30 points. Next up they travel to Houston on Wednesday for US Open Cup action.