Sporting Kansas City won their fifth straight match to open the 2012 season with a 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday in front of a standing-room only crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Kei Kamara’s goal in the 40th minute, assisted by Bobby Convey, was all the club needed as Jimmy Nielsen posted his MLS-leading fourth shutout of the season and the Sporting KC defense held their opponent without a shot on goal for the second consecutive contest.
The Galaxy earned the first chance of the match in the game’s seventh minute, as forward Edson Buddle found his strike partner Robbie Keane in space on the counter. The Designated Player advanced toward the Sporting Kansas City backline before slipping a pass through for Mike Magee, who skewed his shot wide of the farpost.
The first clear chance for Sporting Kansas City came in the 20th minute as Kamara dribbled beyond Sean Franklin and laid a pass across the top of the box for Graham Zusi. The Sporting KC playmaker, who leads MLS with five assiststhis season, took two touches to create space away from Michael Stephens before unleashing a left-footed strike that flew over the bar. Two minutes later, Aurelien Collin put his effort over the bar, failing to keep his header down from Seth Sinovic’s cross.
Sporting continued to create chances in the 25th minute when Roger Espinoza beat Stephens to the byline before sending a cross into the area. C.J. Sapong helped the lofted pass on to Chance Myers, whose volley was denied very well by Josh Saunders, diving down to his left.
In the 40th minute of play, Sporting KC made their pressure pay off, as Kamara grabbed his third goal of the year to put Sporting in front heading into halftime. With the ball at his feet on the right flank, Bobby Convey cut towards the area before picking out Kamara’s run at the far post. Kamara was left unmarked and powered his header into the side netting to put Sporting up 1-0.
After the break,Espinoza nearly doubled Sporting Kansas City’s advantage in the 52nd minute, receiving a pass from Sapong at the top of the area and firing a left-footed shot just wide of target. Four minutes later Saunders did well to deny Kamara a second, getting down quickly to save the forward’s attempt from close range.
Myers found himself at the end of another goalscoring opportunity in the 73rd minute, taking a pass from Kei Kamara as he made a late run into right side of the penalty area. His first time effort curled it beyond the far post to leave the lead at one.
The Galaxy’s best chance of the second half came with eight minutes to play as two second-half substitutes combined to put a scare in the sold-out crowd. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa flicked a ball over the top of the Sporting KC defense for Chad
Barrett to run onto, but the eighth-year pro pushed it wide of Jimmy Nielsen’s net.
The game’s drama lasted all the way until the final whistle when Sporting KC striker Teal Bunbury broke free from his defender after receiving a pass from Jacob Peterson in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Bunbury raced down the left side of the field and forced a sliding save from Saunders from a tight angle for the team’s final attempt of the match on a day they outshot their opposition 14-4.