Sporting Kansas City suffered the team's fourth straight loss on Saturday in a 2-1 defeat against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Dom Dwyer scored his 18th goal of the season, tying the club's single-season goal scoring record set by Preki in 1996.
New York opened the scoring in the game's 11th minute from the penalty spot. Sporting KC captain Matt Besler's slide tackle brought down Bradley Wright-Phillips inside the area and the Golden Boot leader calmly converted the ensuing penalty with a well-struck shot to Andy Gruenebaum's right for his 21st goal of the season.
The goal snapped Sporting Kansas City's 348-minute shutout streak at Red Bull Arena dating back to April 2011. It also continued a stretch of 12 games without a clean sheet for the reigning MLS Cup champions in MLS play.
Sporting Kansas City has now conceded seven penalty kick goals in 2014, tying the team's single-season record first set in Major League Soccer's inaugural 1996 season. MLS referees have whistled 109 penalty kicks to date this season, surpassing the previous single-season high of 84 set in 2011.
Less than four minutes after giving his side an early lead, Wright-Phillips had a look for his second goal in short succession but pushed the effort wide of the far post. Sporting Kansas City's best scoring opportunity of the opening 45 minutes came in the 27th minute when Paulo Nagamura -- returning to the lineup for the first time since July 6 -- played Dom Dwyer behind the Red Bulls backline, but the Englishman sent his shot high with Luis Robles coming off his line in the one-on-one situation.
Thierry Henry, New York's all-time leading scorer, threatened to double the home side's lead in the 33rd minute. The Designated Player found space inside the penalty area and sent his shot just wide from an acute angle.
Three minutes from halftime, Sporting Kansas City saw a pair of shots blocked inside the 18-yard box. Dwyer's attempt from the top of the penalty area was mishit and ultimately cleared away with Robles out of position. In the aftermath, Benny Feilhaber turned and released a shot that was blocked by Jamison Olave.
Robles made his only save of the match in first half stoppage time, denying Dwyer an equalizer. Dwyer peeled off Olave to run onto Feilhaber's through ball and struck a first-time shot with his left foot that was superbly saved by Robles.
The Red Bulls stretched the lead to 2-0 in the 52nd minute from the foot of Henry with his first goal against Sporting KC in nine career matches. The Frenchman sent his shot from 20 yards out into the top corner for his 50th goal in MLS competition (including playoffs), eight of which have come in 2014.
Sporting Kansas City responded immediately to cut their deficit in half with a historic goal from Dwyer just over two minutes later. Graham Zusi's free kick found Seth Sinovic, who won the header at the backpost to set up Dwyer for a first-time side volley from six yards out.
RECORD REACHED: Dwyer nets 18th
Dwyer -- making his 50th MLS appearance (including postseason) -- is second on the MLS goal scoring chart with six games remaining. Thanks to the second half goal, Sporting KC supporters can receive a buy one, get one snack size wings coupon to be redeemed at area Buffalo Wild Wings locations by texting BWWSKC to 72727.
Zusi earned his sixth assist of the season, tied for most on the team, and 37th assist of his six-year MLS regular season career, while Sinovic's assist was his second of the season and seventh of his professional career. Sporting Kansas City would go on to outshoot the Red Bulls 17-5 on their home field however only put three of the attempts on target, all of which were put on frame by Dwyer.
Sporting Kansas City remains in second place in the Eastern Conference despite a four-game losing streak, the team's the longest since May 2011. The final game of a three-game road trip comes next Friday at Chivas USA, who are currently winless in their last eight MLS matches.
Friday's match will kickoff at 9:30 p.m. CT at StubHub Center and will be shown live on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot in Kansas City and on SKCTV across the Midwest. The team's official watch parties will be held at the Johnny's Tavern locations at the KC Power & Light District (1310 Grand Blvd.) and in Prairie Village (8262 Mission Rd.).
Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 28
Red Bull Arena | Harrison, New Jersey
Weather: 82 degrees and cloudy
|Sporting KC (12-10-6, 42 pts)||0||1||1|
|New York Red Bulls (8-8-10, 34 pts)||1||1||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic; Lawrence Olum (Jorge Claros 70), Paulo Nagamur (C.J. Sapong 85), Benny Feilhaber; Antonio Dovale ( Sal Zizzo 58), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Kevin Ellis, Mikey Lopez, Claudio Bieler
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 65), Roy Miller; Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula (Saer Sene 76), Eric Alexander; Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover 90) , Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs Not Used:Ryan Meara, Richard Eckersley, Ian Christianson, Eric Stevenson
|Shots on Goal||3||2|
NY -- Ibrahim Sekagya (caution; reckless foul) 49+
SKC -- Igor Juliao (caution; tactical foul) 57
SKC -- Graham Zusi (caution; reckless tackle) 62
SKC -- Lawrence Olum (caution; reckless foul) 68
NY -- Bradley Wright-Phillips 21 (penalty kick) 11
NY -- Thierry Henry 8 (Lloyd Sam 8) 52
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 18 (Seth Sinovic 2, Graham Zusi 6) 54