Forwards Alan Pulido and Daniel Salloi struck on both sides of halftime and goalkeeper Tim Melia claimed his second straight shutout as first-place Sporting Kansas City (11-4-4, 37 points) handed FC Dallas (5-8-6, 21 points) their first home loss in 12 months with a 2-0 victory on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.

Dallas entered the evening with an 18-game home undefeated streak and a six-game unbeaten run against Sporting, but Manager Peter Vermes' men delivered a spirited performance to keep their two-point lead atop the Western Conference table and improve to 4-0-1 in their last five road matches since the start of July.

Sporting will continue their daunting stretch of seven competitive matches in 22 days when they return to Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday for a compelling showdown against the sixth-place Portland Timbers (7-8-2, 23 points). Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT with tickets available on SeatGeek.com and live coverage on Bally Sports Midwest Plus, Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app.

Vermes fielded a formidable Sporting Kansas City lineup on Saturday as seven players who were rested in a Leagues Cup quarterfinal loss to Club Leon at midweek—namely Pulido, goalkeeper Tim Melia, midfielder Roger Espinoza, captain Johnny Russell and defenders Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins and Graham Zusi—earned starts in Frisco, Texas.

The hosts threatened inside two minutes, pressing high to create a turnover in Sporting's defensive third, but a lunging effort from Hungarian winger Szabolcs Schon off Jesus Ferreira's diagonal pass was smothered impressively by Melia. Sporting responded with an agonizingly close scoring chance of their own in the seventh minute, as Pulido's sweetly struck free kick near the left edge of the penalty area curled past Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and skimmed the post before fizzing out of play.

Pulido would not be denied a second time, however, as the Mexican fired Sporting ahead in the 12th minute. Salloi created a pocket of space by turning away from a defender and feeding Gadi Kinda, who accelerated goalward and slipped a delightful through ball in the path of Pulido. The 30-year-old made no mistake from 12 yards, finishing low across Maurer at a tight angle for his third goal in as many starts and his eighth of the MLS campaign. Kinda tallied his third assist on the play, while Salloi now has assists in three straight MLS appearances and a team-leading six helpers for the season.

Dallas looked for a quick reply as outside back Ryan Hollingshead settled a pass on the left side of the box, cut onto his left foot and hammered his shot inches wide into the side netting in the 20th minute. Another Dallas defender saw his bid at an equalizer narrowly miss the mark on 35 minutes when captain Matt Hedges rose to nod Ferreira's free kick a yard beyond Melia's left-hand post.

Sporting breathed a massive sigh of relief eight minutes after the restart. Schon embarked on a solo run into the penalty box, and although he was crowded out by a host of Sporting defenders, 18-year-old striker Ricardo Pepi scooped up the loose ball amid traffic and rifled a shot off the woodwork from 10 yards. Shortly thereafter, Facundo Quignon dragged his attempt marginally wide as the visitors survived unscathed.

Head coach Luchi Gonzalez's men continued to pressure near the hour mark and Schon almost drew Dallas level when his close-range blast caromed off the underside of the crossbar and came within an inch of crossing the goalline. Not long later, the right-hand post thwarted substitute Jader Obrian, who had beaten Melia with a shot on the right side of the box.

Salloi made Dallas pay for their missed chances with a predatory strike in the 63rd minute. Russell was afforded time to curl a low cross into the mixer, where Salloi outmaneuvered his marker and sent a right-footed piledriver into the roof of the net to double his team's advantage. The clinical finish gave Salloi his 11th goal of the season, one behind New England's Gustavo Bou in the MLS Golden Boot race, and his 17 combined goals (11) and assists (six) are tied for the league lead. Russell, meanwhile, has scored or assisted in four of his last five appearances.

Having regained momentum, Sporting pushed forward once more in the 74th minute when Pulido forced a reflex save from Maurer. It proved to be the final major scoring opportunity for either team, even with referee Armando Villarreal allowing 10 minutes of stoppage time.

2021 MLS Regular Season | Match 19
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
Attendance: 14,133
Weather: 85 degrees and mostly cloudy

Sporting KC 2-0 FC Dallas
Score
1
2
F
Sporting Kansas City (11-4-4, 37 points)
1
1
2
FC Dallas (5-8-6, 21 points)
0
0
0

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Ilie Sanchez, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins; Remi Walter, Roger Espinoza, Gadi Kinda; Johnny Russell (C), Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi (Grayson Barber 90+3')
Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Amadou Dia, Kayden Pierre, Roberto Puncec, Kaveh Rad, Cam Duke, Wilson Harris

FC Dallas: Jimmy Maurer; Ema Twumasi, Nkosi Tafari, Matt Hedges (C), Ryan Hollingshead; Edwin Cerrillo (Bryan Acosta 46'), Facundo Quignon (Andres Ricaurte 83'); Paxton Pomykal (Jader Obrian 62'), Jesus Ferreira (Franco Jara 73'), Szabolcs Schon (Freddy Vargas 73'); Ricardo Pepi
Subs Not Used: Phelipe, Jose Martinez, Eddie Munjoma, Brandon Servania

Scoring Summary:
SKC -- Alan Pulido 8 (Gadi Kinda 3, Daniel Salloi 6) 12'
SKC -- Daniel Salloi 11 (Johnny Russell 5, Alan Pulido 2) 63'

Misconduct Summary:DAL -- Jesus Ferreira (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 38'
DAL -- Matt Hedges (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 49'
DAL -- Jader Obrian (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 67'
DAL -- Szabolcs Schon (yellow card; dissent) 68'
DAL -- Freddy Vargas (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 76'
DAL -- Ema Twumasi (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 89'
SKC -- Gadi Kinda (yellow card; time wasting) 91'

Match Statistics
Stat
SKC
FCD
Shots
11
16
Shots on Goal
6
2
Saves
2
4
Fouls
9
14
Offsides
1
1
Corner Kicks
6
5

Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referee: Jeffrey Greeson
Assistant Referee: Eric Weisbrod
Fourth Official: JC Griggs
VAR: Alejandro Mariscal
AVAR: Jonathan Johnson