Teal Bunbury vs NYRB
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Recap: SKC in playoffs after win over Red Bulls

MLS Game #33
Saturday, October 15, 2011, 3:00 p.m. CT
English TV: KSMO-TV
Spanish TV: Telefutura
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees
Attendance: 19,921
Video Highlights: Click here

Score                                                  1     2     F
Sporting Kansas City (12-9-12, 48 pts)   0     2     2
New York Red Bulls (9-8-16, 43 pts)      0     0     0      

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic; Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza (Davy Aranud 55), Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara (Soony Saad 90), Teal Bunbury, Omar Bravo© (C.J. Sapong 73)

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Jeferson, Lawrence Olum

New York Red Bulls: Frank Rost; Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel, Tim Ream, Roy Miller; Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio (Mehdi Ballouchy 83), Rafael Marquez (Stephane Auvray 83), Joel Lindpere; Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 70), Thierry Henry©

Subs not used: Bouna Coundoul, Matt Kassel, Carlos Mendes, John Rooney

Stats:              KC      NY
Shots               24         6
Shots on Goal   8          2
Saves               2          6
Fouls                11       15
Offside             0          2
Corner Kicks     5          6

Misconduct Summary:
NY – Thierry Henry (Ejection; Violent Conduct) 28

Scoring Summary:
KC – Teal Bunbury 9 (Julio Cesar 2) 57
KC – C.J. Sapong 5 (Matt Besler 3, Graham Zusi 7) 74

Sporting Kansas City secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2008 by virtue of a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. The win also moves Sporting Kansas City back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Second-half goals from Teal Bunbury and rookie C.J. Sapong paced a Sporting Kansas City attack that outshot New York by a 24-6 margin in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 19,921 fans at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City earned a chance in the very first minute of play. Winning a corner, Kamara took his place in the box to prepare for the service from Graham Zusi. Zusi’s corner eventually fell to Kamara, who took a touch before chipping the ball back in front of goal. Aurelien Collin rose to meet the cross, but the Frenchman put his header just wide of the far post. 

In the 11th minute, New York created a chance of their own through midfielder Joel Lindpere. Lindpere drove into the area through the left channel, fighting off several challenges before forcing a pass across the box for Dane Richards. The Jamaican midfielder took a touch before blasting a shot high to the near post, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen—voted 2011 team MVP by media and teammates—was equal to it. 

Saturday’s match took a turn when Thierry Henry, joint leading goalscorer in MLS with 14 goals on the year, was sent off following a collision with Roger Espinoza after Espinoza had gone down under a challenge with Teemu Tainio. 

After going a man up, Sporting Kansas created several more quality chances in the first half as two opportunities for Bunbury came in the space of two minutes. Beginning in the 34th minute, Bunbury took a pass from Julio Cesar before firing over from the edge of the area. A minute later, Bunbury took a pass from Zusi, but fired wide of the near post with Rost advancing out of his goal to cut the angle. 

A quick counterattack for New York in the 39th minute saw defender Jan Gunnar Solli go close with his first attempt of the afternoon. Richard, after beating Seth Sinovic to the byline, laid a pass back to the edge of the area for Solli, but the defender couldn’t keep his shot down as it sailed over the bar.

The final chance of a tense first half fell to Bravo. Winning the ball down the left flank, Espinoza drove a cross to the back post where both Bunbury and Bravo were lurking. The ball went beyond Bunbury, but only as far as Bravo. The Designated Player powered a header towards goal but it was straight at Rost, who saved with his chest.

Sporting Kansas City came out of the halftime break on top, as both Zusi and Sinovic nearly gave Sporting the lead, but the breakthrough finally came in the 57th minute. A corner from Zusi was partially cleared by New York, but fell only as far as Julio Cesar at the edge of the area. Cesar cushioned a header for Bunbury, and the second-year forward directed a right-footed volley past Rost to put Sporting in front. The goal was Bunbury’s ninth of the season, putting him into a three-way tie with Bravo and Kamara for the team lead in goals in 2011. 

Three minutes later, Kamara headed over from a long ball over the top of the New York backline from Matt Besler. Shortly after, New York created their final chance of the match, again through Lindpere. The Estonian international took off on a powerful into the box, but his low shot was saved smartly by Nielsen.

Eleven minutes from time it was substitute forward and Rookie of the Year favorite C.J. Sapong got the goal that sealed the victory and a playoff spot for Sporting Kansas City. From a Zusi corner, Besler headed the ball powerfully down towards goal. Positioned with his back to goal, Sapong managed to set himself and swivel a right-footed strike past Rost to ensure three points for Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting Kansas City will conclude the 2011 MLS regular season at D.C. United on Saturday, October 22nd. The match will be shown live locally on KSMO-TV, with a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT.

FAST FACTS

• Sporting Kansas City is now 21-9-12 and moves into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with one game remaining in the regular season. 

• Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia Union are even on points with 48. The head-to-head series is even in 2011 (0-0-2) and both team’s goal differential is also even (+9). Sporting Kansas City’s hold the third tiebreaker, goals scored, with 49 goals scored in 2011 to Philadelphia’s 44.

• Sporting Kansas City went 9-2-6 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in its inaugural season.

• Sporting Kansas City is 9-4-3 in home regular season finales in the club’s history and have not loss a regular season home finale since 2002.

• Sporting Kansas City secured a berth in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs with the win, marking their first appearance in the postseason since 2008.

• Sporting Kansas City can clinch one of the top three spots in the East if Columbus lose or draw later tonight.

• Sporting Kansas City is in first place in the month of October for the first time since finishing with the Western Conference’s best record in 2004.

• Sporting Kansas City equaled the all-time series against New York and are now 17-17-9 all-time against the Red Bulls with a 14-7-2 record at home in the series.

• New York Red Bulls Manager Hans Backe lost for the first time against Sporting Kansas City and is now 3-0-1 in the series. 

• Sporting Kansas City has lost only three times in their past 25 MLS matches.

• Teal Bunbury’s goal in the 57th minute was his ninth of the season, moving him into a tie for the team lead with Omar Bravo and Kei Kamara.

• Bunbury has now scored in back-to-back matches for Sporting Kansas City, who are 2-1-3 in matches that Bunbury scores in this season.

• Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made two saves on Saturday as he recorded his sixth shutout of the season. The 2010 MLS All-Star now has 11 wins, tied for fourth most in MLS.

• Sporting Kansas City has a +9 goal differential in 2011, which is tied for the best margin in the Eastern Conference.

• Sporting Kansas City has scored 49 goals in 33 MLS matches this season, tied for second most among all MLS teams. 

• Sporting Kansas City has attempted the most shots in MLS this season with 461.

• Sporting Kansas City’s 24 shots on Saturday ties their high for match this season.

• Sporting Kansas City’s eight shots on goal on Saturday sets a single-game high this season.

• New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost set his season and MLS career high with six saves on Saturday.

• Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong played 17 minutes as a second-half substitute on Saturday and is the only Sporting Kansas City player to appear in all 33 MLS matches for the club this season.

• Sapong scored 47 seconds after entering, marking his fifth goal of the season which ties Will Bruin for most among all MLS rookies.

• Sporting Kansas City is 5-0-0 in MLS matches when Sapong scores this season.

• New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry was ejected for the second time this season when he was shown a red card in the 28th minute for violent conduct in a collision with Roger Espinoza.

• Sporting Kansas City opponents have received five red cards this season and Sporting Kansas City is 2-0-2 in those matches.

• Henry’s ejection was the earliest red card against a Sporting Kansas City opponent this season.

• New York was shutout for the first time in nine matches on Saturday.

• Defender Matt Besler has started 26 straight MLS matches for Sporting Kansas City, the most of all current players.

• Besler and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza surpassed 6,000 minutes played, including postseason, in their MLS and Sporting KC careers on Saturday.

• Sporting Kansas City’s 461 shots this season, most in MLS, is the most for the club since the 1996 season (514).

• Sporting Kansas City held a citizenship ceremony immediately prior to kick-off on Saturday, naturalizing 50 U.S. citizens from 29 different countries. 

• Sporting Kansas City held Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, recognizing the team’s record support this season. Sporting Club owners and Sporting Kansas City staff members held a Thank You!” banner on field prior to the match which contained every season ticket member’s name inside the club shield.

• Every season ticket member’s name was also shown during the match on the digital field boards and video boards.

• The team also held a post-game event in the Members’ Club with giveaways, in addition to distributing prizes for those using the team’s Sporting Explore mobile app.

• Sporting Kansas City midfielder Davy Arnaud was recognized before the match for moving into sole possession of first place on the club’s all-time games played chart in their previous MLS match at San Jose.

• Sporting Kansas City participated in Major League Soccer’s recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Saturday. Merchandise was sold throughout the stadium with proceeds benefitting Susan G. Comen for the Cure. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen wore a pink uniform, striker Teal Bunbury wore special pink adidas cleats and the game was played with a commemorative pink match ball.

• Sporting Kansas City released it’s 2011 team awards on Saturday, recognizing goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen as Most Valuable Player, Matt Besler as Defensive Player of the Year, Kei Kamara as MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year and Nate Opperman as the Bob Gansler Award for the most outstanding Juniors Player of the Year.

• The Sporting Kansas City 2011 Budweiser Golden Boot will be given out at the completion of the regular season to the team’s leading goal scorer.

RECORD BREAKDOWN

• Sporting Kansas City is 3-5-5 when tied at halftime in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 11-3-2 when scoring the first goal in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 5-3-1 when scoring twice in MLS matches this season and 5-0-3 when keeping a clean sheet.

• Sporting Kansas City is 12-6-11 when wear all-Sporting Blue uniforms in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 12-2-1 when leading at the 75th minute in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 9-4-8 when outshooting opponents in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 2-0-1 in games before 5pm in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 10-3-7 in games played in the Central time zone this season.

• Sporting Kansas City is 5-4-6 against the Eastern Conference in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 1-0-1 this month and 12-10-10 all-time in October.

• Sporting Kansas City is 11-7-11 on natural grass playing surfaces this season.

• Sporting Kansas City is 4-7-7 when the temperature is below 75 degrees at kickoff in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 11-9-8 on KSMO-TV in 2011.

• Sporting Kansas City is 131-72-43 at home in club history and 193-199-100 overall all-time.

• Sporting Kansas City is 10-2-11 in matches that defender Chance Myers starts in 2011, and 10-3-6 in matches that defender Seth Sinovic starts in 2011.