Recap: Kamara header gives Sporting KC fifth straight win

First time since 1996, an MLS club begins season 5-0 in regulation

Kamara Celebration Galaxy

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

English TV: ESPN
Spanish TV: ESPN Deportes
English Radio: Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio: ESPN Deportes Radio

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, KS
Attendance: 20,323 (sell out)
Weather: Cloudy, 66 degrees
Video:Match Highlights

Score

1

2

F

Sporting Kansas City (5-0-0, 15 pts)

1

0

1

LA Galaxy (1-3-0, 3 pts)

0

0

0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic ; Julio Cesar (Paulo Nagamura 78), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 87), Bobby Convey (Jacob Peterson 69)

Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Michael Harrington, Lawrence Olum, Luke Sassano

LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan (c), Juninho (Kyle Nakazawa 72), Michael Stephens (Marcelo Sarvas 77), Mike Magee; Edson Buddle (Chad Barrett 57), Robbie Keane

Subs not used: Bill Gaudette, Andrew Boyens, Bryan Jordan, Pat Noonan

Stats

KC

LA

Shots

14

4

Shots on Goal

4

0

Saves

0

3

Fouls

9

12

Offside

2

1

Corner Kicks

7

2

Misconduct Summary:
LA – Landon Donovan (caution; reckless foul) 89

Scoring Summary:
KC – Kei Kamara 3 (Bobby Convey 1) 40

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.

Sporting Kansas City will next host Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 14 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets are available for the match at Ticketmaster.com or at the LSP Box Offices.

FAST FACTS:

  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City is 5-0-0 in 2012 and in first place in the Eastern Conference.
  • This is the second time in MLS history that a club has won five consecutive matches in regulation to start the season. The only other team to accomplish this feat was LA in 1996 when they won eight straight matches in regulation to start the season.
  • Sporting KC is 3-0-0 at home in 2012 and is one of five teams with a perfect record at home in MLS this year.
  • With Saturday’s win, Sporting Kansas City has a .500 record all-time (199-199-100) and has a 134-72-43 record at home in the team’s 17-year history.
  • Sporting Kansas City has the second most home wins in MLS history with 134. Since moving into LIVESTRONG Sporting Park last year,Sporting Kansas City is 12-2-6 at home, which ranks as the second best winning percentage among all MLS teams in their current venue.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s all-time record against LA Galaxy improves to 18-22-11 after the win. Saturday’s win marks Sporting Kansas City’s first home victory in the series since 2008.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 33-26-11 all-time in the month of April.
  • Sporting KC started the same lineup in Saturday’s match as they did in their previous three matches against New England, FC Dallas and Chivas USA.
  • Kei Kamara notched his third goal of 2012, tied for the team lead, and 36th of his MLS career.
  • Kamara's goal came on his first of two shots in the match, both of which were on target.
  • Kamara leads all MLS players in shots in 2012 with 30 and shots on goal with 14 at the conclusion of Saturday’s match.
  • Kamara’s goal is the seventh game-winning goal since joining Kansas City in 2009. He is now tied with Scott Sealy for sixth on the club’s all-time game-winning goals chart.
  • Bobby Convey had the assist on Kamara’s goal, earning his first point with Sporting Kansas City.
  • Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen earned his 21st shutout of his MLS career in Saturday’s match and now has four shutouts in the first five games of the 2012 season.
  • Nielsen has the second lowest goals against average in MLS this season at 0.20.
  • Nielsen has the most wins (5) and shutouts (4) of any MLS goalkeeper.
  • With only one shot on goal against in the club’s last three games, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s last save came in second-half stoppage time against the New England Revolution.
  • Kansas City is second in the League in goals allowed, allowing just one goal in five games.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-0-0 against Western Conference opponents and Saturday was the third of six straight matches against Western Conference teams for Sporting Kansas City.
  • Sporting Kansas City has gone 245 straight minutes without allowing a shot on goal.
  • The last time the LA Galaxy were held without a shot on goal was May 31, 2003.
  • Sporting Kansas City held their without a shot on goal for the second straight match on Saturday, marking the fifth time in club history that a KC goalkeeper has faced no shots. The other four times were:

    • 4/13/96 vs. Colorado 3-0
    • 9/20/2008 vs. Toronto 2-0
    • 9/10/2011 vs. Houston 3-0
    • 4/1/2012 vs. Chivas USA
  • Nielsen’s shutout in Saturday’s match was the third in his MLS career against the LA Galaxy, most all-time by a Sporting KC goalkeeper in the series.
  • Sporting Kansas City has outshot their opponent by ten or more shots in each of the first five games in 2012. KC leads the League in shots with 95 and is second in the League in shots on goal with 34.
  • Sporting Kansas City is second in MLS behind the New York Red Bulls with nine assists in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads the League with 30 corner kicks in 2012.
  • Paulo Nagamura entered the match in the 78th minute replacing Julio Cesar. Nagamura started his MLS career in 2005 playing two seasons for the LA Galaxy.
  • Sporting Kansas City is second in the League for fewest shots allowed this season with 36.
  • Sporting Kansas City maintained 59.7% of possession in today’s match.
  • The Galaxy were without Designated Player David Beckham due to injury.
  • Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes sits atop the team’s all-time coaches chart for best winning percentage (.525, 32-28-21).
  • The match was broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, marking the first of seven nationally televised games at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
  • The network featured a special feature on Sporting Kansas City striker and Sierre Leone international Kei Kamara during their halftime coverage of the match. The segment was also shown on SportCenter shows leading up to Saturday’s kick off.
  • The official radio partner of Sporting Kansas City, Sports Radio 810 WHB broadcast the match locally for the station’s first of six broadcasts at LSP in 2012.
  • The Final Whistle postgame show debuted on Sports Radio 810 WHB with Josh Whisenhunt and AndyEdwards.
  • The first 10,000 fans in attendance on Saturday received complementary Sporting Kansas City flags courtesy of match sponsor H&R Block.
  • Prior to the match, Budweiser hosted a PoolBall Tournament on the patio of the Members’ Club.
  • Sporting Club Network hosted a chalk talk with Sporting Kansas City assistant coach John Pascarella prior to the match on Saturday.
  • The Kansas City Cauldron participated in the League’s Red Card for Racism initiative on Saturday holding up red cards in the first minute of the match.
  • Following the match Boulevard hosted a launch party for Boss Tom’s Golden Bock in the Members’ Club at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

Quotes:

Quote sheet available here