Recap: Sapong’s last-minute goal earns dramatic 1-1 draw

Sporting KC extends lead in East with point against Houston
Sapong’s last-minute goal earns dramatic 1-1 draw
 
Sporting Kansas Cityextends lead in East with point against Houston Dynamo
 
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 19,877 (sell out)
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 72 degrees
 
Score                                               
1
2
F
Sporting Kansas City (15-7-6, 51 pts)
1    
1
Houston Dynamo (12-7-10, 46 pts)
0
1
1
      
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Julio Cesar, Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza (Jacob Peterson 74); Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi
 
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Lawrence Olum, Neven Markovic, Michael Harrington, Oriol Rosell, Dom Dwyer
 
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Corey Ashe (Andre Hainault 74), Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Sarkodie; Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis©, Luiz Camargo; Macoumba Kandji (Giles Barnes 81), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 88), Boniek Garcia
 
Subs not used: Tyler Deric, Warren Creavalle, Colin Clark, Cam Weaver
 
Stats:              
KC
HOU
Shots                
28      
6
Shots on Goal   
9
3
Saves                
2         
7
Fouls                
11 
8
Offside            
1      
1
Corner Kicks    
11  
2
 
Misconduct Summary:
HOU – Luiz Camargo (caution; delaying a restart) 86
 
Scoring Summary:
HOU – Brad Davis 7 (Boniek Garcia 6) 58
KC – C.J. Sapong 6 (Graham Zusi 13) 93+
 
(September 14, 2012) – Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 with the Houston Dynamo in front of a sold-out crowd on Friday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Down a goal with less than a minute remaining, C.J. Sapong claimed the equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time on a header assisted by Graham Zusi.
 
Sporting Kansas City, unbeaten in their last six MLS matches, remains in first place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points and are two points back of the San Jose Earthquakes in the Supporters’ Shield race with six games remaining in the regular season.
 
Zusi earned his 13th assist on the game-tying goal, putting him atop the League in the category on a night that saw Sporting KC record 28 shots, the most in a match in club history. Kei Kamara led all players with 10 shots attempted, one shy of this year’s MLS high which he set earlier this season, and Sapong set a single-game career with nine shots of his own.
 
Sporting Kansas City opened the game on the front foot, with their first chance arriving in the opening 15 seconds. Paulo Nagamura floated the ball over Houston’s backline to Sapong, who went one-on-one with goalkeeper Tally Hall but couldn’t connect on the volley. Just four minutes later, Sapong took Hall on once again, drew the ball back and passed back to Nagamura, who sent in a left-footed volley over the crossbar.
 
The visitors had a dangerous chance of their own in the 13th minute off of a left-footed, curling free kick over the wall from Brad Davis that narrowly missed the goal, skimming the side-netting.
 
Six minutes later, Aurelien Collin chipped a long ball to Kamara deep in the left corner. The Sierra Leone international made a short pass to Sapong, who turned on his heel, faked out his mark and took a hard, angled shot that breezed just past the far right post.
 
Sporting KC put the pressure on Houston once again in the 33rd minute when Matt Besler curled in a cross to Sapong inside the box. The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year made a perfectly-timed stretch to meet the ball with his head, hammering in a shot on goal that was saved expertly by Hall.
 
Houston’s finest chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute when Corey Ashe drove the ball down the left flank and played a well-weighted through ball to Will Bruin. Nielsen came off his line quickly to face the second-year striker and made a superb save to not only stop but hold onto Bruin’s left-footed shot.
 
Both sides entered halftime scoreless and returned to the field for the second half with a renewed fervor. It was Houston with the first chance, when Bruin once again managed his way behind the Sporting KC backline and sent in a low drive that Nielsen scooped up.
 
The home side nearly bagged a goal in the 55th minute, instigated by a long throw-in from Besler. Sapong received the service and flicked to Kamara for a header that was on target but punched out for a corner by Hall.
 
Three minutes later, the Dynamo scored off of a powerful strike from 25 yards out from the veteran Davis following a methodical buildup of 11 consecutive passes. The 2011 MLS MVP runner-up scored his seventh goal of the season after taking a positive first touch on the pass from Boniek Garcia and unleashed a left-footed strike that skipped inside the far post.
 
Sporting Kansas City responded in the 63rd minute when Kamara tipped in a header, forcing Macoumba Kandji to make an acrobatic save in the goalmouth.
 
Hall proved to be the man of the match for Houston when he valiantly defended the Dynamo’s goal against a series of shots that commenced in the 73rd minute when Kamara took an attempt from distance that was blocked by Hall. His shot was followed six minutes later by a sailing header from Sapong that was just wide of the far left post.  
 
Chance Myers then looked to claim his first career goal when he whipped in a direct header that was once again saved by Hall.
 
In dramatic fashion, Sporting Kansas City’s equalizing goal came in the third minute of stoppage time. Besler sent in a hopeful long-ball from inside his own half that Sapong won at the top of the penalty area. Zusi settled and curled a chip toward the back post where Sapong was stationed to power his header past Hall for his sixth goal of the season.
 
With the draw, Sporting Kansas City matches last year’s point total with 51 points, and will now return to the road to face the New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Red Bull Arena. The match will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV and La Gran D 1340 AM.
 
FAST FACTS:
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 15-7-6 on the season and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s 51 points matches the team’s total from last season and are second most in MLS, two pointes fewer than the San Jose Earthquakes.
  • Sporting KC’s 1.86 points per game are also second-best behind San Jose, who take on Chivas USA on Saturday.
  • Sporting KC is 8-3-4 at home this season in MLS play and 138-75-47 all-time at home.
  • Since moving into LIVESTRONG Sporting Park last year, Sporting Kansas City is 17-5-10 at home in the regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 209-206-106 all-time. The 106 ties are the most among all teams in MLS history.
  • Sporting KC have the most wins (15) and best goal differential (+10) of all teams in the Eastern Conference this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City made five changes to their starting lineup for Friday’s match from the last time the team faced the Houston Dynamo on July 18 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • With tonight’s draw, Sporting Kansas City is now 7-2-5 when tied at the half in 2012.
  • Sporting KC picked up their first point of 2012 when trailing in the 75th minute and are now 0-5-1 when behind with 15 minutes to play.
  • Sporting KC played Houston for the third and final time in the regular season on Friday. Sporting KC went 0-1-2 against the Dynamo in 2012 and is now 3-6-6 in the all-time regular season series.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 2-3-3 at home against the Houston Dynamo all-time and 0-0-2 at home in the match-up during the 2012 season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now unbeaten in their last six MLS matches, the longest active unbeaten streak in MLS.
  • Sporting KC is now 3-5-1 when allowing the first goal in 2012. Conversely, the Houston Dynamo are now 11-0-5 when scoring the first goal this season.
  • Friday’s match was the third of three consecutive MLS home matches for Sporting KC. The team has six games remaining in the regular season with two at home and four on the road.
  • Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis scored the Dynamo’s lone goal on Friday. Davis now has five goals again Kansas City during his MLS tenure, most among all active Houston Dynamo players.
  • The goal is his fourth in a Houston uniform, also most among Dynamo players all-time. 
  • SportingKansas City has allowed 25 goals in 28 MLS matches for a 0.89 goals against average, the best in MLS this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City has allowed only eleven goals at home this season in 15 matches, the second fewest home goals allowed in the Eastern Conference behind the Houston Dynamo.
  • Jimmy Nielsen is the only Sporting KC to have played every minute for the club this season.
  • Nielsen’s 1.07 career goals against average in the regular season is the second best mark in MLS history among goalkeepers with 4,000 minutes played.
  • Nielsen’s 0.89 goals against average this season is on pace to be the best mark in club history, surpassing Tony Meola’s 0.92 goals against average in 2000.
  • Nielsen leads MLS with 15 victories and 11 shutouts this season.
  • Sporting KC is 6-3-3 when scoring one goal in 2012 and 6-2-3 when allowing one goal this season.
  • Sporting KC is 13-6-6 when wearing Sporting Blue this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 13-5-4 when outshooting an opponent in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-2-3 when the temperature is below 75 degrees at kickoff in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-5-4 in the central time zone this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 9-5-4 against the Eastern Conference this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-6-5 on grass surfaces this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City held the Dynamo to six shots in Friday’s match, which marks Houston’s fourth lowest shots tally in 2012.
  • Conversely, Sporting Kansas set an all-time club high with 28 shots on Friday.
  • The team's 28 shots ties for the most in MLS this season by single team in a regular season match.
  • Prior to this season, Kansas City had attempted 27 shots only three times in club history. During the 2012 season, Sporting Kansas City has tallied 27 or more shots four times.
  • Sporting Kansas City also matched a season-high with nine shots on goal on Friday.
  • Sporting Kansas City attempted 18 shots in the second half on Friday, one shy of the MLS-high for this season which was set by the team earlier this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is the only team to attempt 18 or more shots in the second half this season and has done so on three occasions.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS with 470 shots this season and has allowed the fewest shots against (265).
  • The club has led MLS in shots in five of the past seven seasons, finishing first in shots in 2006 (408), 2007 (420), 2010 (393) and 2011 (488).
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 7,119.
  • Nine of Sporting Kansas City's 10 field players recorded a shot on Friday. Midfielder Julio Cesar was the only field player not credited with a shot.
  • Sporting Kansas City outshot Houston Dynamo 28-6 on Friday. Sporting KC has outshot their opponent by 10 or more shots 15 times in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City has outshot their opponent in 22 out of 28 matches in 2012.
  • Graham Zusi leads MLS with 125 corner kicks this season and Sporting Kansas City leads MLS with 174.
  • Sporting Kansas City only made one sub in Friday’s match, the second time this season when only one sub was made. Sporting KC is 0-0-2 when only making one sub.
  • Sporting KC forward Kei Kamara recorded ten shots on Saturday, a new KC player high in the all-time regular season series against Houston Dynamo. It doubles the previous mark of five shots by a KC player against Houston.
  • He now leads MLS with 119 shots this season.
  • Kamara has the second most shots in a single-season by a KC player, behind only Preki (140), and fourth most in a single-season in MLS history.
  • The last time an MLS player attempted more than 119 shots in a season was in 2000 (Ante Razov and Mamadou Diallo).
  • Kamara’s ten shots was one shy of the MLS high (11) for this season, which he set earlier in the year.
  • Kamara now holds three of the top four spots for single-game shots in MLS this season with 11, 10 and nine shots respectively. Montero comes in tied for third with nine.
  • Kamara’s 10 shots on Friday moves him into third place on the club’s all-time chart, surpassing Chris Klein with 313.
  • Kamara also leads MLS in shots on goal with 44 this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 22-2-7 all-time with the backline of Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin starting in defense in all competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in the last eight games that Roger Espinoza has started for the club.
  • The Houston Dynamo were without regular starter Calen Carr due to yellow card accumulation and head coach Dominic Kinnear after he was shown a red card on September 6 in the Dynamo’s 1-0 victory against Real Salt Lake.
  • C.J. Sapong scored the game-tying goal in the 93rd minute, which matches Sporting Kansas City’s latest goal scored in 2012.
  • Sapong was also responsible for Sporting KC’s previous goal scored in the 93rd minute which came against D.C. United in the season opener on March 10.
  • Both goals were scored on a header on an assist from Graham Zusi.
  • The goal was Sporting Kansas City’s 11th goal scored on a header this season and sixth header goal allowed by Houston in 2012.
  • C.J. Sapong set a new single-game career high in shots with nine.  
  • Friday’s goal broke a streak of 12 games without a goal for Sapong, dating back to June 16.
  • The goal also broke a streak of 283 minutes for Sporting KC without a goal at home against Houston, dating back to the 2011 regular season.
  • Sapong’s goal on Friday was in the first in his career that did not come during a Sporting KC win. The club is now 11-0-1 in MLS competition (including playoffs) when Sapong scores.
  • Zusi now has 13 assists in 2012, tied for most in MLS this season with Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Mauro Rosales.
  • Zusi’s assist on Friday was the 21st of his career in regular season play and moves him into sole possession of eighth place on the team’s all-time chart, breaking a tie with Jack Jewsbury.
  • Sporting KC striker Jacob Peterson entered in the 74th minute, making his first appearance since July 28th after recovering from a sprained shoulder.
  • Sporting Kansas City earned 11 corners in Friday’s match, tying the team’s season high in corner kicks.
  • Zusi took all 11 corner kicks, matching the single-game high for an MLS player this season.
  • With Friday’s match, Kei Kamara surpassed 12,000 minutes played in the MLS regular season. This ranks Kamara third-highest in minutes played amongst active players on the Sporting KC roster, behind only Bobby Convey and Paulo Nagamura.
  • Matt Besler played his 100th game in MLS competition, including playoffs.
  • Paulo Nagamura surpassed 15,000 minutes in MLS competition, including playoffs. He is the second player on the Sporting KC roster to surpass the 15,000 minutes played barrier in MLS competition.
  • Chance Myers did not receive a yellow card in Friday’s match and as such received the good behavior incentive to have his caution total reduced by one. 
  • Friday’s attendance was 19,877. The sellout marks the 14th sell-out of the season and 13th consecutive sell-out at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
  • Peter Vermes is 44-36-27 (including playoffs) in his coaching career. Friday's match was his 107th in MLS competition, tying Ron Newman for the second most games managed in club history.
  • He currently ranks 24th among MLS coaches all-time with 42 regular season wins.
  • Sporting KC is averaging 19,295 fans for MLS home matches this season. The mark is on pace to set a new club record for highest average attendance in a season.
  • BlueCross BlueShield sponsored Saturday’s match.
  • Sporting Kansas City hosted LIVESTRONG Night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park during Friday’s game. Fans were provided with yellow LIVESTRONG banners and pom-poms.
  • Sporting Kansas City preformed a naturalization ceremony on the field prior to kick off.
  • Sporting KC hosted Scout Night in which 2,500 Boy Scouts of America were honored during a pre-match ceremony. Each troop was represented on the field with their troops flag and each scout was given a commemorative Sporting KC scout night badge.
  • Seth Sinovic and his older brother Adam attained Eagle, the highest-ranking scout in the boy-scouting program of Boy Scouts of America.  As of January 2012 Sinovic was one of only two MLS players who achieved this rank, the other is the New England Revolution’s Zak Boggs.
  • KFC provided 1,000 samples of their new original recipe of chicken bites on the Sprint Plaza prior to the match.