Nielsen Real Salt Lake - DL
Getty Images

It's getting Real

English TV: KSMO-TV
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, KS
Attendance: 19,422 (sell out)
Weather: Cloudy, 76 degrees
Video: Match Highlights





Sporting Kansas City (6-0-0, 18 pts)




Real Salt Lake (5-2-0, 15 pts)   




Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic (MichaelHarrington 89); Julio Cesar (Paulo Nagamura 51), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Bobby Convey (Jacob Peterson 82)

Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Teal Bunbury, Lawrence Olum, Luke Sassano

Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman©, Sebastian Velasquez (Jonny Steele 63), Will Johnson, Luis Gil (Paulo Araujo Jr 76); Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio

Subs not used: Kyle Reynish, Chris Schuler, Terakazu Tanaka, Yordany Alvarez, Emiliano Bonfigli







Shots on Goal   












Corner Kicks    



Misconduct Summary:

RSL – Will Johnson (caution; reckless foul) 51
KC – Paulo Nagamura (caution; reckless foul) 76
RSL – Jonny Steele (caution; tactical foul) 78

Scoring Summary:
KC – Aurelien Collin 2 (Graham Zusi 6) 63

Sporting Kansas City stretched their winning streak to six matches to open the 2012 season with a 1-0 victory over Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake on Saturday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Aurelien Collin scored the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute, heading home a corner kickfrom Graham Zusi, and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his MLS-best fifth shutout of the year.

The sell-out crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park would have to wait until the 31st minute to see the first chance of the match, when Bobby Convey had his shot saved by Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Zusi's corner was hit long to the back post and gathered by C.J. Sapong, who laid the ball back for Convey but thewinger’s shot was straight at Rimando.

Just a minute later, Fabian Espindola was at the end of the first chance for Real Salt Lake. Collecting a one-touch pass from Luis Gil, Espindola sped in behind the Sporting Kansas City backline but fired his shot wide of the far post.

Sporting Kansas City would have a goal disallowed in the 44th minute when Sapong wasjudged to have fouled Jamison Olave as the two players contested a cross from Convey. Sapong looped his header over Rimando from the backpost but  referee Kevin Stott waved it off to the dismay of the home crowd.

Undeterred, Sapong had another chance just after halftime. A free kick from Roger Espinoza was played in low through a cluster of bodies in the area, and was met by asliding Sapong who diverted his effort just wide of the near post.

After nine corner kicks in the first half, Sporting Kansas City finally broke through in the game’s 63rd minute on a corner taken from the left side. Zusi curled a right-footed in-swinger into the area where Collin rose unmarked to power aheader past Rimando from close range.

Zusi's assist, his sixth of the season, keeps him atop the League lead in the category, while Collin records his second of the season and sixth of his Sporting KC career in MLS competition.

Just over ten minutes later, Sporting Kansas City looked poised to double their lead  on another Zusi corner kick only to be denied by a superb save from Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. KeiKamara rose between two defenders inside the six yard box to win the header and direct it goalward but Rimando reacted remarkably to push the attempt away.

Real Salt Lake ramped up their attack in the game's final 15 minutes in their search for an equalizer. Fabian Espindola and Will Johnson but sent attempts awry when given space to shoot and Jamison Olave drew a foul in the 91st minute that provided a late opportunity for the visitors to flood the box with bodies.

Kyle Beckerman delivered the lofted service from 45 yards out and Nat Borchers did well to snap his header on frame but Nielsen confidently collected the chance. The shot on goal, Real Salt Lake's only such shot of the match, ended Sporting Kansas City's streak at 335 minutes without allowing an attempt on target and sets a new all-time best mark for MLS defenses.

Saturday’s match was the first of three games in an eight-day stretch as Sporting Kansas City will embark on a road trip to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday and Portland Timbers on Saturday. Both matches will air live on KSMO-TV.


Quotes are available on the quote sheet.


  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City is 6-0-0 in 2012 and in first place in the Eastern Conference.
  • This is the second time in MLS history that a club has won six consecutive matches in regulation to start the season. The only other team to accomplish this feat was LA in 1996 when they won eight straight matches in regulation to start the season.
  • Sporting KC is 4-0-0 at home in 2012 and is one of three teams with a perfect record at home in MLS this year.
  • Saturday’s win marks Sporting Kansas City’s 200th regular season victory in club history. Sporting becomes the fifth team in MLS to surpass the 200-win mark.
  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City improves their all-time record to 200-199-100 and has a 135-72-43 record at home in the team’s 17-year history.
  • Since moving into LIVESTRONG Sporting Park last year, Sporting Kansas City is 13-2-6 at home, which ranks as the second best winning percentage among all MLS teams in their current venue.
  • Sporting Kansas City has the second most home wins in MLS history with 135 trailing the LA Galaxy (146).
  • Tonight marked the 250th regular season home game in club history. Sporting Kansas City’s next match, at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, will mark the 500th regular season game all-time inteam history. Sporting Kansas City will become the first club in MLS history to play 500 matches.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s all-time record against Real Salt Lake improves to 7-5-3 after the win. Sporting Kansas City’s all-time record at home against Real Salt Lake is 5-1-2.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 34-26-11 all-time in the month of April.
  • Sporting KC started the same lineup in Saturday’s match as they did in their previous four matches against New England, FC Dallas, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy.
  • Sporting Kansas City scored their second goal off a corner kick this season.
  • Aurelien Collin scored the goal for Sporting Kansas City in the 63rd minute.
  • The goal marks Collin’s second this season and 6th of his career in MLS competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s record when Collin scores is 5-0-1. Of Collin’s six goals, four were game-winners and the other two were game-tying goals.
  • Graham Zusi earned the assist on the play marking his sixth assist thus far in 2012. Zusi leads MLS with assists. The assist gives Zusi four game-winning assists this season, which also leads MLS.
  • Zusi moves to fifth place on the club’s all-time chart for game-winning assists, tied with Jack Jewsbury, Mo Johnston, and Kerry Zavagnin at eight.
  • Zusi has tallied one or more assists in five of the team’s six matches this year.
  • Kamara leads all MLS players in shots in 2012 with 33 and shots on goal with 15 at the conclusion of Saturday’s match.
  • Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen earned his 22nd shutout of his MLS career, moving him into a tie with Kevin Hartman and Bo Oshoniyi for second most on the club’s all-time chart.
  • Nielsen has the lowest goals against average in MLS this season at 0.16.
  • Nielsen has the most wins (6) and shutouts (5) of any MLS goalkeeper.
  • Real Salt Lake earned a shot on goal in second half stoppage time to end Jimmy Nielsen and Sporting Kansas City’s streak of 335 minutes without allowing a shot on goal. The streak sets a new MLS all-time record, surpassing the previous mark of 185 minutes.
  • Prior to Saturday, Nielsen’s last save came on March 17th against the New England Revolution in the 2012 home opener, also in second half stoppage time.
  • Kansas City leads the League in fewest goals allowed, allowing just one goal in six games.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 4-0-0 against Western Conference opponents and Saturday was the fourth of six straight matches against Western Conference teams for Sporting Kansas City.
  • Sporting Kansas City earned 9 corner kicks in the first half of Saturday’s match. That ranks second most all-time. Kansas City earned 10 corner kicks against San Jose on April 10, 1999.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads the League with 41 corner kicks in 2012.
  • Paulo Nagamura enteredthe match in the 51st minute replacing Julio Cesar. Cesar left the match due to a right hamstring strain.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads the League for fewest shots allowed this season with 37.
  • Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes sits atop the team’s all-time coaches chart for best winning percentage (.530, 33-28-21).
  • Sporting Kansas City’s win over Real Salt Lake set the club’s all-time record for longest regular season winning streak in regulation at eight games, dating back to 2011. The only other time the team had won seven consecutive regular season matches came in 1997 during the MLS shootout era.
  • Since Major League Soccer returned to a two-conference alignment in 2002, this will be only the third game matching conference leaders each atop its respectivetable by at least three points. The others:
    • July 4, 2006 — D.C. United 1, FC Dallas 0 at Dallas
    • May 29, 2010 — Los Angeles 2, Columbus 0 at Columbus
  • Saturday’s match was sponsored by Deffenbaugh Industries. The team participated in MLS W.O.R.K.S. Greener Goals initiative by handing out seed packets and instructional postcards to fans prior to the match.