In front of 19,249 fans at Children's Mercy Park, Sporting Kansas City put on what could be considered one of their most dominant performances of the season in a 3-1 defeat of the Colorado Rapids. Featuring goals from three different players and a strong performance from the defense, particularly goalkeeper Tim Melia and defender Ike Opara, the club ran their unbeaten streak to five. They are one of only three unbeaten clubs in the league, Dallas and Toronto being the others.
Sporting KC started the scoring early from an unlikely source. Left back Seth Sinovic pounced on a rebound from goalkeeper Tim Howard on a shot by Gerso Fernandes and drove it into the back of the net for his first regular season goal (4th in all competitions).
After the goal, the Cauldron, one of SKC's largest supporters groups, seemed to get under Howard's skin. According to multiple reports from that end of the stadium, Howard made obscene gestures towards the fans behind his goal more than once.
The score remained 1-0 until the 58th minute. Colorado had trouble dealing with the counterattack all evening and this was no exception. Receiving the ball from a long clearance by the SKC defense, forward Dom Dwyer dribbled around three Rapids players before playing a good ball diagonally to midfielder Roger Espinoza. Espinoza held up the ball just long enough to let Fernandes get by him and played a perfectly weighted pass to the Bissau-Guinean forward, who beat Howard to the near post with his left foot to double the SKC lead.
In the 85th minute, Dwyer put the game to bed. In another counterattack the Rapids failed to deal with, Sporting had a series of one-timed balls leading to Sinovic's cross to an on-rushing Dwyer who blasted the ball past Howard for the team's third of the match and the first of the season for the Sporting forward.
In second half stoppage time, Sporting midfielder Soni Mustivar conceded a penalty by bringing Rapids midfielder Dominique Badji down in the area. Kevin Doyle stepped up and converted the penalty to provide the final 3-1 scoreline.
Taking a look at the final stats, it's clear why Sporting won the match. They won more than 52 percent of the duels, had better passing accuracy and controlled almost 58 percent of the possession for the match. Colorado also had a great deal of trouble dealing with the counterattack. As Steve Brisendine pointed out to me, the Rapids were a team that train at altitude and got run off the pitch. As good as the Rapids were last season, finishing second in the West behind Dallas, they are just as bad this season, currently in ninth place.
Up next for SKC, they will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the first place Portland Timbers on Saturday at 9:30 CT on FSKC.
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