Davy Arnaud vs. Columbus

RELEASE: Sporting Falls 1-0 at Columbus

MLS Game #4
Saturday, April 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m. CT

English TV: KSMO
Spanish TV: Time Warner Cable Ch. 5
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

Columbus Crew Stadium | Columbus, Ohio
Weather:  Rainy and windy, 47 degrees
Attendance: 7,695
Video: Match Highlights

Score:                                                                    1          2          F
Sporting Kansas City (1-2-1, 4 pts)                   0          0          0
Columbus Crew (2-1-2, 8 pts)                           0          1          1

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza; Birahim Diop, Davy Arnaud © (Graham Zusi 71), Milos Stojcev (Shavar Thomas 75); C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara (Korede Aiyegbusi 87)

Subs not used: Stephane Auvray, Kevin Ellis, Eric Kronberg, Craig Rocastle

Columbus Crew: William Hesmer; Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan; Dilly Duka, Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo (Dejam Rusmir 89), Robbie Rogers (Jeff Cunningham 77); Eddie Gaven, Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 67)

Subs not used: Andy Gruenebaum, Andy Iro, Andy Mendoza, Justin Meram

Stats:                            SKC       CLB
Shots                             10           15
Shots on Goal                2             4
Saves                             3             2
Fouls                              18           12
Offside                            1             4
Corner Kicks                  3             6

Misconduct Summary:
SKC – Julio Cesar (caution, Reckless Tackle) 50
SKC – Michael Harrington (caution, Reckless Foul) 55
SKC – Julio Cesar (caution, Handball) 72
SKC – Julio Cesar (ejection, Second Caution) 72
SKC – Shavar Thomas (caution, Reckless Foul) 76

Scoring Summary: 
CLB – Robbie Rogers 2 (Dilly Duka 1) 53

Sporting Kansas City suffered their second defeat of the 2011 season on Saturday, dropping a 1-0 decision at the Columbus Crew in an evenly contested Eastern Conference match-up. Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made three saves in an improved defensive performance for the road-tested visitors, but Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers scored the decisive goal in the 53rd minute and the Crew’s defense held Sporting Kansas City scoreless for the first time this season.

Saturday’s match, played in wet and windy conditions, saw limited scoring opportunities as the two teams combined for just six shots on goal and a scoreless first half.

Sporting Kansas City got the first good look of the game in the 15th minute as midfielder Milos Stojcev played a pass to striker Kei Kamara on the left side of the penalty area. Kamara, who started his career in Columbus, attempted to slide his shot past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer, but the former KC backup made a foot save on the attempt.

Nielsen then recorded his first save of the match in the 21st minute on a shot from distance by Columbus midfielder Dilly Duka. Kansas City was back on the attack eight minutes later, nearly capitalizing on a free kick when rookie forward C.J. Sapong directed his header on goal but the shot was held by Hesmer.

Three minutes later, another set piece led to an opportunity for Manager Peter Vermes’ squad as the Sporting Kansas City corner kick was won in the air by Kamara, but defender Matt Besler couldn’t re-direct the effort on frame from the backpost. The forward trio for Sporting KC continued to threaten in the final minutes of the first half, as striker Teal Bunbury had a shot blocked that fell to Kamara who followed up with an ambitious attempt over the crossbar. 

Though Sporting Kansas City made the first noteworthy foray forward of the second half as Stojcev sent a shot narrowly wide of the far post in the 51st minute from 25 yards out, it was Columbus who scored the game’s decisive goal two minutes later.

Rogers received a pass from Dilly Duka at the top of the box and settled it off his chest to set up a sliding shot over Nielsen’s foot and inside the far post. Rogers goal was his second of the season and second all-time against Kansas City.

Nielsen continued to be called into action for Sporting Kansas City, kicking away a shot in the 57th minute and making his best save of the night in the 68th minute to deny Eddie Gaven, who was left unmarked at the penalty box.

Sporting Kansas City’s bid for a comeback then took a turn for the worse in the 72nd minute as central defender Julio Cesar received his second caution of the match and KC was reduced to 10-men for the second time this season.

Despite the insertion of Graham Zusi and Korede Aiyegbusi to aid the attack, Sporting KC failed to find the back of the net for the first time in 2011 as the Crew extended their shutout streak to 373 minutes, the longest mark in MLS this season and matching an all-time club record.

Sporting Kansas City will continue their 10-game road trip to start the 2011 MLS regular season next Saturday at Gillette Stadium against the New England Revolution.

Fast Facts:

  • With the loss, Sporting Kansas City is 1-2-1 in 2011 and is currently tied for eighth position in the Eastern Conference.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 17-20-5 all-time against Columbus and 8-12-3 all-time on the road in the series.
  • Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes used the same starting lineup on Saturday as the team’s last regular season match at Vancouver.
  • Sporting Kansas City defender Shavar Thomas assumed captain’s duties upon entering in the 75th minute for midfielder Milos Stojcev.
  • Midfielder Korede Aiyegbusi made his first appearance of the 2011 season on Saturday, replacing Kei Kamara in the 87th minute.
  • Columbus Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer has not allowed a goal in four straight games, totaling 373 scoreless minutes for Crew opponents, the longest such streak in MLS this season and matching the all-time club record.
  • Sporting Kansas City was shutout for the first time in MLS or U.S. Open Cup competition in 2011 and went scoreless for the first time since October 16, 2010.
  • Columbus is now unbeaten in four consecutive matches in 2011.
  • Sporting Kansas City was without striker Omar Bravo, MLS Player of the Week for week one, after the Designated Player underwent successful sports hernia surgery earlier this week and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks.
  • Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made three saves in the loss and now has 16 on the season.
  • Nielsen, C.J. Sapong, Matt Besler and Roger Espinoza have played every minute of every MLS match for Sporting Kansas City in 2011.
  • KSMO-TV will air highlights and reaction from Saturday’s match on the station’s weekly 30-minute soccer show “Off the Pitch with Sporting Kansas City” on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. CT.