Recap: Sporting KC wins third straight, tops Toronto FC 1-0

Sporting KC sets club record with seventh road win of season

Graham Zusi vs Toronto

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

BMO Field | Toronto, Canada
Attendance: 18,151
Weather: Sunny and 72 degrees
Video: Match Highlights
Quotes

Score                                               

1

2

F

Sporting Kansas City (14-7-4, 46 pts)

1    

1

Toronto FC (5-14-5, 20 pts)

0

0

0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen ©; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Julio Cesar (Lawrence Olum 88), Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza; Kei Kamara (C.J. Sapong 86), Teal Bunbury, Graham Zusi

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Oriol Rosell, Soony Saad, Michael Thomas

Toronto FC: Milos Kocic; Doneil Henry (Logan Emory 36), Richard Eckersley, Darren O'Dea, Ashtone Morgan; Andrew Wiedeman (Quincy Amarikwa 86), Torsten Frings ©, Terry Dunfield, Ryan Johnson; Luis Silva, Eric Hassli

Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Adrian Cann, Dicoy Williams, Aaron Maund, Eric Avila

Stats:              

KC

TOR

Shots                

17      

6

Shots on Goal   

8

2

Saves                

2         

7

Fouls                

17 

16

Offside            

4      

3

Corner Kicks    

3  

4

Misconduct Summary:

TOR – Torsten Frings (caution; reckless foul) 7
KC – Aurelien Collin (caution; tactical foul) 12
TOR – Eric Hassli (caution; reckless foul) 49
KC – Chance Myers (caution; persistent infringement) 60

Scoring Summary:

KC – Kei Kamara 9 (Graham Zusi 11) 83

Sporting Kansas City won for the seventh time on the road this season, a new club record, with a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC 1-0 on Saturday at BMO Field. Forward Kei Kamara scored the lone goal of the match, his team-leading ninth of the season, in the 83rd minute off of a low, driving free kick.

Graham Zusi earned his League-best 11th assist of the year on the play and Jimmy Nielsen recorded his 11th shutout of the season, also a League high. Sporting Kansas City remains in first place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, five points clear of the New York Red Bulls.

Toronto posed a threat in the 12th minute when Torsten Frings took a well-placed free kick that floated just over the crossbar. Just a minute later, Paulo Nagamura sent in a rocket from  35 yards out that went inches high of the top left corner.

Seth Sinovic looked to claim his first professional goal in the 19th minute when he sent in a powerful, low shot from distance that forced goalkeeper Milos Kocic to dive to his left to make the save.

After a great deal of build-up in Toronto’s end, Sporting Kansas City finally found that coveted bit of space to hammer out a chance in the 30th minute. Kamara drove the ball down midfield after beating two men and took a low strike from the top of the box, but was denied by a solid save from Kocic.

Four minutes later, Zusi played a picture-perfect ball from the right flank to Teal Bunbury in the center. Bunbury broke behind the Toronto FC backline and attempted to slot the ball in, but again Kocic was ready to make the save. 

Toronto FC saw two chances in the 43rd minute beginning with a corner kick from Frings that rattled the woodwork and was headed back toward goal by Terry Dunfield. The attempt again went off the crossbar, this time striking the top side and going out of play.

The final chance of the first half came again from a burst of speed from Bunbury, whoreceived the ball off of a flick from Kamara, but Kocic prevailed again with his fifth save of the half to send both teams into halftime without a goal.

The second half began with both sides in possession of a renewed energy and sense of urgency. In the 48th minute, Kamara fired in a shot from distance that bounced off of Kocic’s chest but the rebound was sent out by Toronto’s backline. Six minutes later, Toronto responded when Ryan Johnson curled in a cross from the left and Eric Hassli won a head that was just wide of the far post.

Roger Espinoza put Toronto to the test in the 63rd minute when he sent in a well-taken effort from the left that Darren O’Dea made an attempt to send out, instead deflecting it just over the goal and nearly in the net.

Toronto fought back seven minutes later when Frings sent in an arching free kick across the goal where Johnson placed his header just over the crossbar.

The lone goal of the match came in the 83rd minute when Zusi nudged the free kick to Kamara, who took a low, driving shot that slid past the wall and into the net past Kocic.

Riding high on a newfound confidence, Chance Myers whipped in a shot from distance four minutes later that was just wide of the far left post. 

Toronto nearly equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Johnson, on the receiving end of a cross from the right side, sent in a bouncing header that Nielsen reacted well to collect, preserving his clean sheet and lowering his goals against average to 0.88.

Sporting Kansas City will host the New York Red Bulls at 8 p.m. CT on Sunday, August 26 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets for the match, sponsored by Home Depot, are available in limited supply online at Ticketmaster.com or at LSP Box Offices.

FAST FACTS:

  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City’s record moves to 14-7-4 in 2012 and 7-4-2 on the road this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City remains in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.
  • Sporting KC’s 46 points are second most in MLS and the team’s 1.84 points per game are also second-best behind San Jose.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now tied with San Jose for the most wins in the League with 14. The victory tally surpasses Sporting KC’s total (13) when they finished in first place in the Eastern Conference for the 2011 season and are tied for the most wins in regulation in team history with the 1997 and 2004 seasons.
  • Fourteen wins is second in team history behind the 16-win Supporters Shield season in 2000.
  • In 2000, Kansas City had 57 points and if Sporting KC continues to average 1.84 points per game, they would finish the 2012 season with 63 points.
  • Sporting Kansas City won on the road for the seventh time in 2012, the most away victories in regulation in club history. To date, Sporting Kansas City has won at D.C. United, Chivas USA, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Montreal Impact, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution and Toronto FC in 2012.
  • Kei Kamara's game-winning goal on Saturday moves him into sole possession of fifth place on Sporting KC’s all-time chart with nine.
  • Kamara's goal breaks a tie with Scott Sealy and Vitalis Takawira for sole possession of sixth place on the club's all-time goal scoring chart with 29.
  • Of the 31 goals scored by Sporting KC this season, Kamara’s goal was the team’s first from outside the penalty area.
  • The goal as only the second goal that Toronto FC has allowed from outside the penalty area in 2012.
  • Saturday’s goal marks Sporting Kansas City’s third indirect free-kick goal of the year.
  • Saturday’s goal is Sporting Kansas City’s 18th right-footed goal of the year and fourth game-winning goal after the 75th minute.
  • With three shots on goal, Kamara moved past Takawira for sixth most in club history with 103.
  • Kamara is one of only three players in MLS with nine or more goals in each of the last three seasons, along with Alvaro Saborio and Chris Wondolowski.
  • Kamara’s 43 career MLS goals moved him up to 43rd on the all-time MLS goalscoring chart, surpassing Chad Barrett and Pat Noonan.
  • His nine goals this season matches his total from last year and is the most on the team in2012 and ninth most in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-2-0 in 2012 when Kamara scores in MLS competition.
  • Graham Zusi's game-winning assist on Saturday moves him into sole possession of fifth place on Sporting Kansas City's all-time chart with nine.
  • Zusi’s assist is his fifth game-winning assist in 2012, most in MLS this season.
  • The assist was the 19th in Zusi’s KC and MLS career, moving him into tenth on Sporting KC's all-time chart.
  • Zusi is tied with Landon Donovan for the MLS lead with 11 assists in 2012.
  • Zusi is one of five MLS players with seven or more assists in 2011 & 2012. The others are 2011 MVP finalists Mauro Rosales, Dwayne De Rosario and Brad Davis, as well as David Beckham.
  • In last weekend’s match against D.C. United at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kamara earned the game-winning assist on Zusi’s game-winning goal.
  • Zusi celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday.
  • Peter Vermes managed his 101st regular season match for Sporting KC on Saturday, breaking a tie with Ron Newman for the second-most regular season games managed in KC history.
  • Vermes has the best winning percentage (0.534 when including playoffs) for a coach in Sporting KC history.
  • Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza surpassed 8,000 minutes played in his KC and MLS career when including playoffs. He becomes only the third active player to surpass the 8,000-minute played mark in a KC uniform.
  • Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in their last six matches against Toronto FC, going 4-0-2 during the span.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 6-3-4 all-time against Toronto FC in the regular season and 2-2-3 on the road in the match-up.
  • Sporting Kansas City has not lost to Toronto FC since April 26, 2009.
  • Since Paul Mariner took over for then 1-9-0 Toronto, he is 4-4-5, with two of those four loses coming against Sporting Kansas City.
  • Saturday’s match marked the second of three meetings between Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC during the 2012 regular season. The last contest between the clubs during the 2012 regular season will be held at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on September 1, 2012.
  • Kamara’s goal was Sporting Kansas City’s first in six games at BMO Field, breaking a streak of 541 consecutive minutes without a goal in Toronto.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 22-2-5 with Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin starting in defense in all competition.
  • The back four were together for the first time since July 14 in a 2-0 win at Columbus.
  • Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen is the only Sporting KC player to have played every minute of the 2012 MLS regular season.
  • Nielsen made two saves on Saturday for his MLS-leading 11th shutout of the year. His 11 shutouts are the second-most in a single-season in Kansas City history, trailing only Tony Meola’s 16 clean sheets in 2000.
  • Nielsen ranks 17th all-time in MLS shutouts with 28, two behind Kasey Keller with eight fewer games played.
  • Nielsen's 28 shutouts are the second most in MLS since 2010, trailing only Nick Rimando.
  • Nielsen's 1.08 goals against average in the regular season is the best mark for a Sporting KC goalkeeper all-time.
  • Sporting Kansas City has allowed 22 goals in 25 matches for a 0.88 goals against average, the best defensive mark in MLS.
  • Sporting KC leads the League in corner kicks this season with 151, adding three in Saturday’s match.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi leads MLS with 103 corner kicks this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (251).
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 7,053.
  • Sporting Kansas City again leads MLS in shots, currently with 404. The club finished first in shots in 2011 (488) and 2010 (393). Kansas City finished third in 2009 and seventh in 2008, but led MLS in shots in 2007 (420) and 2006 (408), marking five of the last seven seasons when including 2012.
  • Kansas City was also League leaders in shots in 2002 and the inaugural 1996 campaign, where they set the club markwith 514 shots that season. The all-time MLS record is 522 by the 1999 MetroStars, but if Sporting Kansas City still maintains their average of 16shots per game in 2012, they will finish with 544, shattering the previous high.
  • Sporting Kansas City outshot Toronto FC 17-6 in Saturday’s match. Sporting KC has outshot their opponent by 10 or more shots 12 times in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-5-2 when outshooting their opponent in 2012. Sporting Kansas City has outshot their opponent in 19 out of 25 matches in 2012.
  • Kamara leads all MLS players with 97 shots in 2012 and 39 shots on goal.
  • Kamara now has 418 shots in his MLS career, placing him 23rd on the all-time MLS charts.
  • Saturday’s victory marks Sporting Kansas City’s sixth 1-0 win in 2012, compared to the team’s two 1-0 losses on the year.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-5-0 in games decided by one goal in 2012.
  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City has won three games in a row for the first time since the team went 7-0-0 to start the season.
  • In 2012, Sporting Kansas City is 12-2-2 when scoring first and 7-2-3 when tied at the half.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 70-131-59 on the road all-time in regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 208-206-104 all-time in MLS regular season play.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-5-2 against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
  • Saturday’s temperature was 72 degrees and Sporting KC is 7-2-2 when the conditions are below 75 degrees in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-6-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 5-1-0 when playing in the Eastern time zone this season and 12-6-3 when playing on a grass field.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-0-1 in August in all competition and moves to 34-39-12 all-time in MLS action during the month of August.
  • Sporting Kansas City was without forwards Jacob Peterson (shoulder sprain) and Bobby Convey (hamstring strain), as well as midfielder Peterson Joseph (hamstring strain) on Saturday.
  • Aurelien Collin set a single-game career high with four fouls suffered on Saturday.
  • Kamara suffered five fouls on Saturday and now has been fouled 47 times in 2012, sixth most among all MLS players.

QUOTES:

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

What are the positives that you took away from this game?

We had two great chances in the first half.  Teal (Bunbury) had two awesome chances, the breakaway and then the left footed volley and if he finished both of those situation we would be up two-nil.  Even though they were launching balls and putting balls in our box it wasn’t like anything was major.  It’s going to happen during the game where a team is going to cross a ball and things like that but it wasn’t like there was some major breakdown on our part.  But what I takeaway from the game is that it is another victory on the road, I think right now we have the best record in the lead.  To be successful in any league you have to be successful on the road so from that perspective I appreciate the effort and also getting a clean sheet and not giving up a goal. This isn’t an easy place to come in and get a result, it really isn’t.  It’s a tough place to play.  There are some places that are tough in the league and this is one of them.

Thoughts on the Toronto FC team…

I think that Paul (Mariner) has done a great job of turning the group around and more importantly buying into the way that they want to play right now.  You can tell that their players are battling, they are trying, they’re more organized and you can see that there is a difference in a team.

You did not make a substitution until the 83rd minute, did you like the play of your starters?

I did, sometimes I don’t like messing with the continuity unless someone is really struggling physically or someone is not in form and I didn’t think that anybody was struggling on the field.  Before we scored I was actually going to make a sub, I changed it around a little bit for tactical reasons, but I think at the end the two guys thatcame in did really well for us.

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler

Thoughts on today’s game…

Yeah I think it was a great performance by us.  Coming in here we knew it was going to be a physical match, we knew that their style of play was probably going to be amore direct with personnel that they have up top.  They made it tough for us but I think we handled that really well.  We played a good game today.

It’s a different looking Toronto FC team than you saw earlier in the year, what are your thoughts on this new look team?

It’s a different team.  I think it’s a more organized team and they are starting to have a style of play.  And then obviously with the guys up top now, they have three or four guys who are all dangerous so it makes them tough to play.

Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara

Thoughts on today’s game…

It was a sloppy game, this is really difficult for the style that we play to play when it comes to teams like Toronto.  But we are really happy with the three points.  In the first half we were able to keep the ball a lot more and in the second half it was just kind of the type of style that they play and it is very difficult to adapt to that so we are happy tocome away with the three points.

On the play of Toronto FC…

It’s a new coaching staff and a new system so we know what they are looking to do, everyone is looking to impress, but at the same time we werereally looking forward for them to come at us a lot more because when teamscome at us we get to play our game, when teams sit back we don’t get to really do what we are good at.  The moments that they came at us are the moments that open up spaces and Teal (Bunbury) had a couple chances but unfortunately he didn’t put them in the back of the net.  Their game is to kick the ball up to (Eric) Hassli, and he is a big guy with a lot of credit because he works a lot, but when they play like that it is really difficult for a team like us to adjust.

Thoughts on the goal…

(Paulo) Nagamura got the foul which is great.  It was one of those where the keeper got caught the wrong way and all that was in my head was to hit the ball on target.  I got the bounce off it and that bounce gave us the three points.

Toronto FC Head Coach & Director of Soccer Operations Paul Mariner

What were your thoughts on the goal? Was it deflected?

I thought that maybe it got a nick; it didn’t seem to go in the corner. I don’t know. I’m looking at all sorts of stuff from my vantage point. I mean Milos (Kocic) had made some great saves in the game, everyone wants to point the finger I suppose but you got to look at the overall 90 minutes.

How disappointing to give up a goal on another restart?

It’s always disappointing. You gotta restructure the back four in an instant the left goes down, to be fair. I thought about bringing Dicoy (Williams) on, I really did but then I thought I don’t really want to disrupt Darren (O’Dea) and Richard (Eckersley) because I thought they did very well, they coped very well. It was a bit of a nothing match to be perfectly frank, a bit of a stalemate and then all of a sudden they get a goal. We pushed and pushed. Ryan (Johnson) had a great header, unlucky, couple other chances, hit the bar in the first half. It wasn’t going in don’t get me wrong but you know we had a couple of chances. They’re a good team.

Toronto FC defender Darren O’Dea

How did you feel fatigue wise, flying back and forth?

Yeah, to be honest when I went down it wasn’t for any particular reason, it was to give myself a breather and it’s been a tough week. People work nine to five, I wouldn’t want to be doing that so I’m happy to be flying around the world playing football matches in different places, I’m not complaining. I’m tired, but it’s not a big deal.

Did you see what happened on the goal? Did it take a deflection?

Yes, took a deflection. It’s bitterly disappointing. I think you don’t need to play well in football matches, it doesn’t need to be pretty but you need to come away something and I think for the large part that was the best spell in the game as well. It’s just disappointing. Now we are going to fix this problem with the players and get together and stick together and get to the next one.