Recap: SKC's road win over Columbus puts them alone atop the East

Nielsen makes four saves for League-leading eighth shutout; Jacob Peterson, Teal Bunbury score

Teal Bunbury Columbus - DL

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Columbus Crew Stadium | Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 17,588
Weather: Cloudy and 83 degrees
Video: Match Highlights

Score                                               

1

2

F

Sporting Kansas City (11-5-3, 36 pts)

1  

1    

2

Columbus Crew (6-7-4, 22 pts)

0

0

0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Peterson Joseph (Michael Thomas 72); Jacob Peterson (C.J. Sapong 38), Soony Saad (Teal Bunbury 52), Kei Kamara

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Julio Cesar, Michael Harrington, Graham Zusi

Columbus Crew: Andy Gruenebaum; Josh Williams (Olman Vargas 80), Chad Marshall©, Eric Gehrig, Bernardo Anor; Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani (Cole Grossman 76), Chris Birchall, Justin Meram; Emilio Renteria, Jairo Arrieta (Dilly Suka 62)

Subs not used: Matt Lampson, Sebastian Miranda, Nemanja Vukovic, Kevan George

Stats:              

KC

CLB

Shots                

8      

16

Shots on Goal   

2

4

Saves                

4         

0

Fouls                

12   

9

Offside            

0      

4

Corner Kicks    

4  

5

Misconduct Summary:

CLB – Bernardo Anor (caution; reckless foul) 8
KC – Peterson Joseph (caution; reckless foul) 57
KC – Paulo Nagamura (caution; tactical foul) 69
CLB – Emilio Renteria (caution; unsporting behavior) 69
CLB – Chris Birchall (caution; tactical foul) 83

Scoring Summary:
KC – Jacob Peterson 3 (Peterson Joseph 1) 6
KC – Teal Bunbury 3 (Kei Kamara 4) 82

Sporting Kansas City defeated the Columbus Crew 2-0 on Saturday night at Columbus Crew Stadium. The win marks Sporting KC’s fifth road victory of the season and improves their record to 11-5-3, putting them alone in first place of the Eastern Conference.

Jacob Peterson claimed his third goal of the season just six minutes into the match and Teal Bunbury sealed the victory in the 82nd minute with his third goal of the year.  Jimmy Nielsen’s four saves earned him his eighth shutout of the season, tying him for most in the League with Joe Cannon.

Sporting Kansas City started the game aggressive on the attack, getting on the scoreboard in just the seventh minute. Peterson Joseph, in the second start of his MLS career, threaded the ball past two Columbus defenders to the awaiting foot of Jacob Peterson, who slotted the ball in.

The sliding strike was Peterson’s third goal in his last five MLS matches and came three days after he scored the game-winning goal in the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Philadelphia. Joseph bagged his first assist, and point, of his MLS career on the play.

Three minutes later, Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor took a shot from 40 yards out on the left but was just wide of the far right post.

Kei Kamara showed his eagerness to score against his former club in the 15th minute when he capitalized on a poor pass from Anor. Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum’s clearance bounced off of Kamara’s chest and nearly slipped in to the goal.

The Columbus Crew began to pick up some momentum of their own 20 minutes into the contest. The home team nearly equalized in the 24th minute when a free kick from Anor was pinballed around the Sporting Kansas City penalty area before it found the foot of Emilio Renteria, who turned and shot, hitting the side netting.

The Crew continued to threaten Sporting KC’s one-goal lead five minutes later, when Tony Tchani, at the top of the box, made a slick pass to Soony Saad’s former Michigan teammate, Justin Meram. His shot was right at Jimmy Nielsen who collected it at chest-level.

The final 20 minutes of the first half were relatively calm, with an exception in the 44th minute when a free kick from Anor, with plenty of power behind it, cleared the wall but couldn’t get past Nielsen, a 2012 MLS All-Star.

The Crew opened the second half strong, nearly drawing level in the 48th with a cross into the box to Meram. He made a perfectly timed leap and headed the ball on frame only to be denied by the underside of the crossbar.

Dilly Duka made an instant impact upon being substituted into the game in the 62nd minute, making a slicing shot from the left that was turned away by the superb defending of Matt Besler.  The next minute saw a series of dangerous crosses from Duka and Tchani, causing Espinoza and Collin to frantically defend and sending Nielsen off his line to finally snuff out the danger.

The 75th minute saw one of the Crew’s finest chances of the game when Renteria, in the box, flicked the ball past Collin and shot. The attempt ricocheted off Nielsen and was collected by Tchani, whose shot from distance went just wide of the goal.

Sporting KC then sealed their third straight road win in all competition in the 82nd minute when Kamara and Bunbury charged at the Crew goal. Kamara calmlypassed the ball to the ever-ready Bunbury in the middle and the third-year pro took a soft touch and slotted the ball past Andy Gruenebaum.

The goal, Bunbury’s 17th of his MLS career, came two years to the date of his first MLS  strike in a 1-0 win at Columbus Crew Stadium.

The frustrated Crew continued to fight back but Sporting KC stood their ground late. Chris Birchall took a shot from distance in the 87th minute that found Nielsen’s gloves for his fourth and final save of the night. Duka proceeded to take another shot from range two minutes later but was just wide of the right post.

Sporting Kansas City will play the final game of their three-game road tripagainst the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The match will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

FAST FACTS:

  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City’s record moves to 11-5-3 in 2012 and 5-3-2 on the road this season. 
  • Sporting Kansas City takes sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s 11 victories are most in the Eastern Conference and tied for the most in MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s five road victories are second most in MLS, trailing only the San Jose Earthquakes’ six away wins.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s three road losses in 2012 are the second fewest in MLS this season, trailing only Chivas USA who have lost away from home once this year.
  • Sporting KC extended the team's shutout streak to 310 minutes in all competition on Saturday.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 68-130-59 on the road all-time in regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 205-204-103 all-time in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 19-20-5 all-time against Columbus in the regular season and 9-12-3 on the road in the match-up.
  • Sporting Kansas City won for only the second time in their last eight trips to Columbus Crew Stadium in MLS competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 5-4-1 against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
  • Following Saturday’s match, the New York Red Bulls are the only team Sporting Kansas City is yet to play during the 2012 regular season.
  • Saturday’s temperature was 83 degrees. The team is 4-3-1 when the temperature is above 75 degrees in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-0-1 when keeping a clean sheet this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-0-1 when scoring two or more goals in 2012.
  • Sporting KC is 11-2-3 when leading or tied at halftime in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 9-4-3 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-0-0 when leading at the 75-minute mark in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-4-2 on natural grass playing surfaces this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-1-0 in the Eastern Time zone this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-0-1 this month in all competition and improves to 37-29-21 all-time in MLS action during the month of July.
  • Sporting KC is 9-1-2 when scoring the first goal in 2012.
  • Sporting KC has scored first in 13 of 19 games in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City matched their season low in shots (8) and shots on goal (2) on Saturday.
  • Sporting Kansas City's 306 shots this season are most in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 6,955.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 19-2-3 with Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin starting in defense.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in corner kicks this season with 120.
  • Columbus Crew striker Jairo Arrieta made his MLS debut on Saturday.
  • Columbus made four changes from their 2-1 loss at Montreal last Sunday. Arrieta, Eric Gehrig, Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram were the new additions to the starting eleven.
  • Saturday marked the first time Miranda has not started since joining Columbus last season. It snapped a streak of 40 straight starts.
  • Soony Saad and Peterson Joseph made the second starts of their MLS careers on Saturday.
  • Forward Jacob Peterson made his fourth start of the season for Sporting KC, replacing Teal Bunbury.
  • Sporting KC is 3-0-2 when Paulo Nagamura starts in 2012 and 2-0-2 when Jacob Peterson starts in 2012.
  • Peterson scored the first goal of the match in the sixth minute of play, marking his first game-winning goal since joining Sporting Kansas City in the offseason.
  • After scoring three goals in his previous 92 MLS matches prior to June 20, Peterson has now scored three goals in his last five MLS matches.
  • He now has 12 goals in his career and three in 2012, one shy of his single-season career high set as a rookie with four goals in 2006.
  • Including Open Cup competition, Peterson now has four goals and two assists in his last seven appearances.
  • Peterson's goal was Sporting Kansas City's second fastest on the road this season and third fastest goal overall.
  • Joseph had the assist on the play, marking the first assist, game-winning assist and point of his MLS career.
  • Peterson left the match in the 38th minute with a sprained left ankle.
  • Saturday marked the third time in 2012 that Sporting KC made a substitution due to injury in the opening 45 minutes. 
  • Sporting KC had four corner kicks on Saturday. Each was taken by a different Sporting KC player.
  • Teal Bunbury surpassed 4,000 minutes played mark in tonight’s match in his MLS and KC career.
  • Bunbury becomes the 40th player all-time to log 4,000 or more regular season MLS minutes in a KC uniform and is one of eight active players to do so.
  • Bunbury scored the second goal in tonight’s match in the 82nd minute on an assist from Kei Kamara. The goal marks Bunbury’s third in the 2012 MLS season with his other two coming in a 2-2 draw at Colorado on May 19, 2012.
  • Kei Kamara had the assist on the goal marking his fourth assist in 2012 and 17th of his MLS career.
  • Prior to Saturday, Kamara’s last assist came on May 27, 2012 against San Jose.
  • Kamara leads MLS in shots with 74 and shots on goal with 31.
  • Bunbury becomes just the third KC college draft pick -- along with Scott Sealy (2005) and Yura Movsisyan (2006) -- to score 16 or more goals in the player's first 4,000 minutes.
  • Bunbury scored his first MLS goal at Columbus Crew Stadium exactly two years ago from Saturday.
  • Bunbury’s goal in Saturday's match ties him with Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Johnson for 10th most on the team’s all-time chart with 17.
  • Jimmy Nielsen surpassed 7,000 regular season minutes played in his MLS and KC career on Saturday. He becomes the 25th player in club history to log 7,000 regular season minutes and is one of four active players to do so.
  • Since 2010, Nielsen has played the third most regular season minutes of any MLS goalkeeper. He trails only Nick Rimando and Matt Pickens in minutes played the last three years.
  • Nielsen leads Major League Soccer with 11 victories this season and his eight shutouts are tied for the most in the League with Joe Cannon (8).
  • The clean sheet was Nielsen's 25th MLS shutout in his three-year career.
  • With four saves in Saturday's match, Nielsen tied Mike Ammann for fourth on the club’s all-time chart with 206. 
  • Nielsen went his third consecutive match on Saturday without receiving a caution or expulsion and will now have his cumulative caution total reduced to three for the season courtesy of the Good Behavior Incentive.
  • Nielsen lowered his all-time MLS goals against average to 1.10, third best in MLS history among goalkeepers with a minimum of 4,000 minutes played.
  • Columbus has allowed seven of the team’s 19 goals against in the final 15 minutes of their matches this season.
  • The Sporting Kansas City defense has the lowest goals against average in MLS at 0.89. 
  • The team leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (202).
  • Sporting Kansas City has scored 14 goals on the road this season, second most in the Eastern Conference behind the New York Red Bulls (15).
  • Sporting Kansas City’s +2 goal differential on the road makes them the only team in the Eastern Conference without a negative goal differential away from home.
  • Prior to Saturday, Columbus had won three consecutive games at Columbus Crew Stadium.
  • Sporting Kansas City is yet to score a goal from outside the 18-yard box during the 2012 season after 19 games played.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza will depart for the London 2012 Olympic Games to join Honduras on Sunday. 
  • Midfielder Graham Zusi missed his first match in all competition on Saturday. Zusi leads MLS with four game-winning assists and his eight assists are second-most in MLS.
  • Aurelien Collin, Myers and Nielsen are the only three Sporting KC players to appear in all 19 MLS regular season matches thus far in 2012.
  • Myers is the only field player to have played every MLS minute this season for Sporting Kansas City.
  • Nielsen has played every MLS minute in net for Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
  • Major League Soccer will announce the 18-player MLS All-Star gameday roster on Sunday during ESPN’s broadcast of the New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC match at 3 p.m. CT.
  • Nielsen, Collin and Zusi were all members of the MLS All-Star First XI announced last weekend.
  • Sporting Kansas City played their ninth competitive match in a 29-day period on Saturday. The team is 5-2-2 during the stretch.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s game against Columbus is the second of three straight road games. The team will travel to Houston for their first match at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday.

QUOTES:

Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes

General impressions on the game:

“Whenever you play away from home you got to realize that the other team has the pressure on them to drive the game. They have to entertain their home fans and I think we were really solid defensively, we didn’t give much away. I think it was hard for them to break us down and I think they got a little frustrated. We scored a great goal early on, we talked about finding some seams in behind them and it was a great run and finish by Jacob [Peterson] and a great ball by Peterson Joseph who was making his debut for us tonight. In the end we defended very well we really grinded the game out and that was huge for us.”

On the Crew’s lineup changes:

“I’m a big believer that in this league there’s so much parity. You can never underestimate the lineup that comes out on the field. I had seen some of those players play at one point or another so it was different but we had a lot of new guys in the lineup as well because we have been playing two games a week for a while now and I think that we took our chances when we needed to.”

On the possibility of a physical letdown after playing on Wednesday night in U.S. Open Cup:

“We talked about it but I talked about the fact that I don’t believe in that stuff. For me it’s all about mentality and I think the guys came out with the right mentality. All season long they have, we dropped a few games here and there, they figure out how to get themselves into a game and be successful.”

Sporting KC midfielder Jacob Peterson

On the game:

“Overall it was a good performance from us with a good result. We came here in the middle of a ten-day road swing and we got the three points which is what we set out to do. We scored two great goals and Jimmy [Nielsen] made some good saves back there and it kept them out of the back of the net.”

On the importance of scoring early while playing away:

“It is important, especially you want to get the crowd out of the game and I thought we did that with the early goal. I think they started getting some good chances towards the end of the first half and being dangerous. I think throughout the game our shape was pretty good and the guys battled.”

Sporting KC Jimmy Nielsen

On the game:

“I think overall it was a solid performance. I think we were very well organized. Of course you can’t keep them from creating chances for 90 minutes because they are a very good team.  I think they created their chances but unfortunately for them it wasn’t their night. They hit the crossbar and had another few good chances but I am very happy with the win and with the way we reacted on the field. It is a performance to be proud of.”

On getting the early goal:

“Of course it was a good thing. They had to drive the game then; they had to go for the equalizer and it opened up to our counters and I think we did very well on that end. We scored the second goal by getting in the middle of the field and going down to the end. It was a solid performance and I am very proud of my

Crew head coach Robert Warzycha

General thoughts on the match:

“We played against a very good team and they punished us for our mistakes. I think we made two mistakes, and they got two chances. Obviously, they scored both of them. Overall… We had a lot of possession. They sat back and waited for the counter attack. We had some momentum, we created chances, but when we had those five minutes, we didn't score. You have to score.”

On the lineup changes:

“We weren't playing good. You change the lineup or the players, obviously you're going to play better. I think Josh (Williams) and Bernardo (Anor), other than the two mistakes, they played a good game. With Bernardo against Kamara and Josh against Sapong, I think they had a good game.”

On the team's attack in the second half:

“The beginning of the game, usually you don't know what the other team is going to do. So, you just watch. That's what happened in the first half, other than the mistake. In the second half, actually, we moved the ball a little bit quicker and we were getting in the spots and being more dangerous. That's why we created those chances. Especially Dilly (Duka), when he came in, those five minutes were really he good. He put some crosses in and did a good job. Like I said, you have to finish your chances when you have them. The header Meram had, it was great, but it hit the cross bar. It needs to be in the back of the net. Obviously, Emilio's chance, if you don't foul and get the penalty, you've got to finish it.”

Crew defender Josh Williams

On the cramp that forced him to leave the match:

“I went down to tackle C.J. (Sapong) there, and right when I went down and kicked the ball away, both (legs) just tightened up. It definitely put a scare into me, but I was sitting there realizing it was cramps instead. I wanted to be out there for my guys, but I knew as soon as I'd get back up, they'd just tighten up again. I knew I had to get out.”

On the frustration of the evening:

“We were all talking, this is a league where you can't make mistakes. The teams are so even, I feel like that the team with the least mistakes wins. We just need to limit our mistakes, starting with the back, starting with me. I can't make a mistake in the back there. They're a good enough team to pound those chances in and they capitalized on two mistakes.”

On SKC's first goal:

“They play happened so fast, I thought (Jacob Peterson) was behind the defense. So, I tried to stay even with the line, but I guess he wasn't. It was a good ball through and a good finish.”

Crew midfielder Dilly Duka

On his impact as a substitute:

“I came into the game, I think my first touches were in a pretty good area and I took it to the byline to serve it in and hopefully create something. It worked. For some reason, on that left hand side, I was getting the ball a lot. I had the ability to serve it and I was open. It just didn't work out. Coming in, I just wanted to bring energy and help the team out. We were down a goal, so we were throwing our numbers forward, so that's what you saw.”

On playing after missing time with injuries:

“I didn't think we deserved to be down a goal. (SKC) had that one chance, and they finished. I came into the game, and I wanted to at least get a tie out of this. I was focused. We need points and this is a tough stretch. So right off the bat, I just wanted to go in and get in a tackle, or get a shot, or cross a ball.”

On the physical play of SKC's back line:

“They're very athletic and physical. The one center back, Collin, he was pretty dominant in the air. I think we could've done a better part competing with him on those 50-50 balls. But overall, we did have chances and they didn't go in. That's how the game was."