Daniel Salloi was the goalscorer for Sporting on the evening, although his knee slide was probably more impressive than his goal. Tim Melia & the defense get the praise as they picked up their fourth shutout in the last six matches.
With the first kick of the ball the Rapids showed off their game plan - a long, hopeful ball over the top. The visitors were content to sit back, stay compact, and wait for to counter-attack.
The opening goal was put in motion with a beautiful pass from Matt Besler in the 16th minute. He found the head of Ike Opara who sent it across the face of goal. Khiry Shelton was using everything to get on the end of it. The striker laid out and headed the ball off the post - because the rules of our universe prevent him from scoring. But Salloi was there to smash it home and he ran to the corner to celebrate the early 1-0 lead.
The Shelton-Salloi connection almost produced another goal a few minutes later when Khiry set up Salloi in the box with a clever flick. The Homegrown Hungarian nearly broke the frame of the goal with a powerful strike, but lead remained the same.
Colorado turned up the heat when they came out for the second half. The match opened up as they pushed further up the pitch and both sides were seeing more chances on goal. Johnny Russell in particular enjoyed the change as he was finding more space to attack. In the 51st minute he made one of his patented runs into the box, split two defenders but his shot was kicked away by Tim Howard.
Sporting piled up the opportunities but couldn’t find the the 2nd goal. They were almost made to pay for it in the 80th minute. There was an awkward moment as Besler and Ilie both made a good challenge, but the ball unluckily bounced right to Dominique Badji with only Tim Melia to beat. But the Colorado striker sent it to the wrong side of the near post. Children’s Mercy Park took one big collective sigh of relief.
The home side came close to doubling the lead as the match drew to a close with more chances from Shelton, Zusi & Salloi. But the l1-0 lead would prove to be enough as the referee blew his whistle to give Sporting KC all three points.
Kansas City strengthens the lead over the Western Conference and also moved moved into 2nd on the Supporters’ Shield table. It’s a quick turnaround with a trip to Atlanta for Wednesday’s match.
Check out the latest edition of Shades of Blue recorded immediately following the match: