Sporting Kansas City moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Sporting Park. Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi tallied in the first and second half, respectively, as Sporting KC earned three points in front of the 30th consecutive sellout at Sporting Park.
With the win, Sporting KC improved to 12-9-6 (42 points) and pulled level with the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls atop the Eastern Conference. Sporting KC also moved six points back of Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
Feilhaber’s strike in the 33rd minute was his third goal of the year and second in as many home matches. Dom Dwyer earned his first career assist on the goal in his first MLS start. The second-year striker slid toward a loose ball and poked it to an open Feilhaber. The U.S. international took one touch and with the outside of his right foot curled a 30-yard shot past Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen tied his season high with four saves including two on rookie forward Deshorn Brown in the first half. In the 22nd minute, Brown received a long ball over the Sporting KC defense and found himself one-on-one with Nielsen. The veteran goalkeeper came off his line and dove to his left to snatch Brown’s header out of the air.
Brown was in the thick of the action again when he beat Sporting KC’s offside trap in the 45th minute. Nielsen tipped away the rookie’s attempt, however, to keep the visitors off the board. On the ensuing corner kick, Hendry Thomas headed the Dillon Powers set piece off the crossbar and after a scrum in the box, the ball was knocked out for a goal kick.
Colorado found their equalizer in the 77th minute when Edson Buddle’s volley hit off Sporting KC defender Matt Besler and ricocheted past Nielsen.
The home side continued to press and found the eventual game winner in the 88th minute. Oriol Rosell’s long ball found Chance Myers streaking down the right flank. The veteran defender one-timed his cross to the back post and C.J. Sapong alertly headed the ball back toward the middle of the box. Zusi struck quickly and slid the ball under a diving Irwin to give Sporting KC the full three points.