Recap: KC breaks out for 4-1 win at Dallas

Zusi scores twice and adds assist in convincing road win at reigning MLS Cup runners-up

MLS Game #12
Sunday, June 12, 2011, 6:00 p.m. CT
English TV: KSMO

Spanish TV: Time Warner Cable Ch. 5
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

Pizza Hut Park | Frisco, Texas
Weather:  Sunny and 98 degrees
Attendance: 10,450
Video: Match Highlights

Score: 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (2-6-4, 10 pts) 1 3 4
FC Dallas (7-4-4, 25 pts) 1 0 1

Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic, Birahim Diop (Julio Cesar 78), Davy Arnaud (Kei Kamara 68), Milos Stojcev, Graham Zusi (Teal Bunbury 89), Luke Sassano, C.J. Sapong. 

Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Kevin Ellis, Korede Aiyegbusi, Scott Lorenz 

FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd (Jackson Goncalves 46), George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (Ruben Luna 74), Eric Alexander (Milton Rodriguez 46), Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez, Fabian Castillo.

Subs not used: Chris Seitz, Bruno Guarda, Bobby Warshaw, Eric Avila

Stats:                            SKC       FCD
Shots 10 9
Shots on Goal 6 1
Saves 0 2
Fouls 9 16
Offside 0 1
Corner Kicks 3 3

Misconduct Summary:
KC -- Aurelien Collin (caution; Reckless Foul) 21  
KC -- Seth Sinovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 33  
KC -- Milos Stojcev (caution; Reckless Tackle) 39  
DAL -- Zach Loyd (caution; Reckless Foul) 47+  
DAL -- Ugo Ihemelu (caution; Reckless Tackle) 56  
KC -- Milos Stojcev (caution; Reckless Tackle) 56  
KC -- Milos Stojcev (ejection; Second Caution) 56  
DAL -- Milton Rodriguez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89  

Scoring Summary:

KC -- Graham Zusi 1 (Davy Arnaud 1) 28  
DAL -- Brek Shea 5 (unassisted) 32  
KC -- Aurelien Collin 1 (C.J. Sapong 2, Graham Zusi 1) 49  
KC -- Graham Zusi 2 (unassisted) 55  
KC -- Luke Sassano 1 (Birahim Diop 1) 78

Midfielder Graham Zusi scored two goals and added an assist as Sporting Kansas City (2-6-4) earned a resounding 4-1 win at FC Dallas (7-4-4) on Sunday and are now unbeaten in their last four MLS matches.

Sporting Kansas City entered Sunday’s match missing nine players – four to international duty, three to injuries and two to suspension – and were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute, but handed the reigning MLS Cup finalists their first loss in 10 matches behind three second-half goals at Pizza Hut Park. The road victory snapped Sporting Kansas City’s 10-game winless stretch in MLS play and the club’s four goals scored matched their total offensive output for the team’s last eight MLS matches.

With strikers Ryan Smith and Omar Bravo injured, and Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury on the bench, it was Zusi who became the surprise star at the center of Sporting Kansas City’s attack, playing a part in every goal on Sunday and several other scoring chances throughout the contest.

First in the fourth minute, Zusi’s corner connected with Sporting Kansas City rookie C.J. Sapong at the backpost but his diving header was off target. Zusi then fired a shot from the right side in the 17th minute that nearly gave Sporting Kansas City the lead but struck the near post.

Just over ten minutes later, following an ambitious long-range attempt from defender Chance Myers moments earlier, Zusi scored his first goal of the game – and second of his MLS career – when he beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman with a bending shot inside the far post from the left corner of the penalty area. 

FC Dallas responded to tie the match four minutes later as Brek Shea dribbled through four players en route to placing his shot past KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, filling in for the suspended Jimmy Nielsen. Shea’s fifth goal of the season marked FC Dallas’ only shot on goal of the game, a season-low for a Sporting KC opponent and for FC Dallas in 2011, and ended Sporting Kansas City’s stretch of 289 minutes without allowing a goal, sixth longest in MLS this season.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Milos Stojcev, making his first start since May 14th, tested Hartman in the 35th minute with a well-struck shot from distance. The former KC netminder was again called into action to deny Sporting Kansas City on the final play of the first half to push Zusi’s dangerous free kick narrowly wide of the post.

Manager Peter Vermes’ side picked up right where they left off in the second half, as Zusi delivered the eventual match winner on a corner kick in the 49th minute. Sapong was positioned at the backpost and re-directed the service into the middle of the goalmouth where defender Aurelien Collin was waiting to send it into the net for the first goal of his MLS career. 

Zusi, having gone over a year since his own first MLS goal on June 10, 2010, then scored his second of the match in the 55th minute on a free kick from 45 yards out. The driven shot from inside midfield caught Hartman too far out and the Dallas goalkeeper couldn’t retreat quickly enough to prevent the shot from dipping beneath the crossbar.

The goal proved pivotal as one minute later Sporting Kansas  City was reduced to ten players for the fifth time this season when Stojcev received his second caution from referee Kevin Stott. Still, KC continued to attack as Sapong missed on a left-footed shot on a counter-attack in the 67th minute before Sporting scored their fourth and final goal in the 78th minute. Zusi laid off a pass for Birahim Diop, who’s first-touch pass put in fellow midfielder Luke Sassano behind the Dallas defense. Sassano beat Hartman to the pass and lofted the ball over him for his first career goal, and point, in four MLS seasons.

Kronberg, making his third straight appearance for Sporting Kansas City, earned the victory and is now 2-1-1 all-time with a 1.50 career goals against average.

Sporting Kansas City return home to state-of-the-art LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday when they host the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. on Soccer Night in America on FOX Soccer. Tickets are available at SportingKC.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will also host the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday, featuring the a doubleheader between Panama and Canada and the United States play Guadeloupe in Group C.

Fast Facts:  

Sporting Kansas City is now 2-6-4 in 2011 and is currently in ninth position in the Eastern Conference.

With the win, Sporting Kansas City now hold the advantage in the series against FC Dallas with a 19-18-8 record all-time. Sporting Kansas City is 9-11-3 all-time on the road in the series.

Sporting Kansas City is 2-3-2 at Pizza Hut Park. Prior to Sunday, Sporting Kansas City’s last win at Dallas came in 2007 and the club last scored at Pizza Hut Park in 2008.

Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in four straight MLS matches, and five games in all competition.

Sporting Kansas City earned their first win of 2011 when tied at halftime and now stand at 1-4-2 when even at the break.

Sporting Kansas City are 2-1-1 when scoring first in 2011. 

Sporting Kansas City snapped a 10-game winless streak with their first victory since opening the 2011 season with a 3-2 triumph at Chivas USA. The stretch of games without a victory was the longest in a single-season in club history and matched the 10-game winless streak that stretched from the end of the 1998 season through the beginning of 2009.

Eric Kronberg made his third straight appearance for Sporting Kansas City, starting in net while Jimmy Nielsen served a mandatory one-game suspension following the red card he received in Sporting’s 0-0 draw against Chicago on Thursday. 

Sporting Kansas City held FC Dallas to only one shot on goal, the fewest of any opponent in MLS play this season and the fewest by FC Dallas in 2011.

Sunday was the second game of 2011 that a Sporting KC goalkeeper has not made a save. The feat also happened on April 23rd in 3-2 loss at NE.

Midfielder Graham Zusi recorded his first career multi-goal game on Sunday and fourth by a Sporting Kansas City player in 2011. The 2009 MLS SuperDraft pick now has three goals and two assists in his career and has recorded a point in each of his first three MLS seasons.

Zusi’s goal in the 55th minute was Sporting Kansas City’s first goal directly from a free kick in 2011 and was the first such goal allowed by FC Dallas this season.

Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin scored his first career MLS goal on Sunday in the 49th minute. Collin’s goal gave KC a 2-1 lead and stood up as the match-winner.

Collin’s goal was Sporting Kansas City’s first goal off a corner kick in 2011. It was the second corner kick goal allowed by FC Dallas in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Luke Sassano scored his first career MLS goal on Sunday, earning his first point in his 46th career game played, including postseason, in four MLS seasons.

Sassano’s goal in the 78th minute was the latest Sporting Kansas City had scored in an MLS match this season.

Goalkeeper Jon Kempin made third ever appearance in the Sporting Kansas City first team. He was named to the bench in the final match of the 2010 season against San Jose Earthquakes, as well as Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw at Toronto earlier this season.

 

Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud tied Preki for third place among Sporting Kansas City players all-time in games started, including postseason, on Sunday. Arnaud has started 218 MLS matches, with nine of those starts coming in the playoffs.

Sporting Kansas City was without four players due to international duty. Midfielders Stephane Auvray (Guadeloupe) and Craig Rocastle (Grenada) and defenders Shavar Thomas (Jamaica) and Roger Espinoza (Honduras) were all unavailable due to international duty. 

Sporting Kansas City was without two players due to suspension. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen missed the match after receiving a red card on Thursday and defender Michael Harrington served a one-game suspension for caution accumulation after receiving his fifth yellow card of the year on Thursday.

Sporting Kansas City was without two additional starters due to injury. Winger Ryan Smith (groi strain) and Designated Player Omar Bravo (lower back strain) did not travel and were listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

Prior to Sunday, Sporting Kansas City had scored four goals in their past eight MLS matches.

Sporting Kansas City scored four goals for the first time this season. Sunday also marked the first time Dallas has allowed four goals in a game this year.

Sporting Kansas City last scored four goals on the road on September 5, 2009 in a 4-2 win at New England.

Sunday was the third time Sporting KC has scored four or more goals against FC Dallas in the all-time series. Sporting Kansas City also scored four against FC Dallas once in the US Open Cup.

Sunday was Sporting Kansas City’s 30th straight win when scoring four or more goals. FC Dallas has lost 26 straight when allowing four or more goals. 

Sunday marked the eighth time FC Dallas had allowed four or more goals at home in their history and first time since May 2008.

Dallas suffered their first loss in 10 games played and only their second loss of the season at Pizza Hut Park (5-2-2)

Prior to Sunday, FC Dallas had allowed four goals in eight home matches.

Sporting Kansas City received their fifth red card of the 2011 season on Sunday, an MLS team high. KC is one ejection shy of the club’s all-time season-high of six, which has happened on two occasions.

With the 4-1 win, Sporting Kansas City is now tied for the most road wins amongst Eastern Conference teams.

Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in road goals scored this season with 16 in 11 games, averaging 1.45 goals per away game.

QUOTES

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Overall thoughts on the game…
This was a tough one for us, we expended a lot of nervous energy Thursday night and to come back down here in such a short turnaround and knowing full well the game was played at six o’clock and knowing the heat was going to be factor.  Omar (Bravo) is out from the tackle, we have another player that came back from Grenada, Craig Rocastle, so we’ve lost some players and we have guys that are on national team duty as well for Guadeloupe, Honduras and Jamaica, so it is definitely a testing period for us but I give a lot of credit to the guys for their commitment physically.”

On winning in Dallas…
Were undefeated since our New England game which is four straight games now and we have been right there. There is not a lot that has gone our way this season but credit to the guys because they have been committed, they have not got off the beaten path, they’ve stayed focused and committed on what we are trying to do and believe in each other and that’s a great thing.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

Thoughts on first goal…
The first one was a classic counter attack, working the ball from left to right.  CJ (Sapong) made a good run across the top of the box which opened up space for me, I took a couple touches, got inside and found the far post.

Thoughts on the heat…
We were very disciplined.  It was extremely hot today and we came in with a game plan and stuck to it throughout the whole game.

Thoughts on quick turnaround from opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Thursday…
That’s tough, especially when you’re on the road as well, after a midweek game. To be honest, we were disappointed we didn’t get the win on Thursday, so for us to come here on the road and get a win was huge for us.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Luke Sassano

Thoughts on first career goal…
I’m very happy. My first job is to help the team defensively, when I can help them score a goal that is even better. I hope I score a lot more and I’m very happy.

Thoughts on the weather…
It was crazy. I have never played in these conditions before. I was so tired and it was very, very hard.

On the importance of the victory…
Of course, but it’s not just this game. We’ve been good and concentrated the last four games, but I believe we are on our way to beating stronger teams.