Sporting Kansas City earned an emphatic 4-0 road victory over Chivas USA on Friday at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Dom Dwyer set the club's single-season scoring record with his 19th goal of the season before Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler all added goals to move Sporting KC within two points of the Eastern Conference lead.
Dwyer twice came close to giving his side the 1-0 lead in the first half prior to his breakthrough moment. In the 27th minute, his header was directed wide of the target on a corner kick from Graham Zusi and just over a minute later he sent a left-footed shot on frame that was held by Dan Kennedy.
Making his first career appearance at StubHub Center, Dwyer scored his record-setting 19th goal of the season at the 39-minute mark on Friday. Zusi played the ball into his path with a perfectly-placed pass from just inside midfield and Dwyer did the rest, maneuvering beyond the reach of Kennedy and sending his first-time shot into the empty net.
The 24-year-old forward has now scored in each of his last three MLS matches and his 19 goals are second most in MLS, two shy of Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips. Dwyer earned his sixth game-winning goal of the year, tying the club's single-season record and moving into the league lead in the category.
Zusi picked up his team-best seventh assist of the season and the 38th of his MLS career on the play. Sixteen have come on game-winning goals, which ties him with Chris Klein for second most in team history.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made his lone save of the match in the 44th minute, diving strong to his left to push away Felix Borja's 25-yard effort. The Overland Park, Kansas native earned his first shutout since June 2013 and snapped the club's 12-game stretch without a clean sheet.
As part of the club's Shutout for Slices promotion with Papa John's, all Sporting KC fans can receive 50% off any regular price online order at local participating Papa John's retailers over the next two days by entering the code 'SPORTINGKC' online at PapaJohns.com.
Feilhaber doubled Sporting Kansas City's lead in first-half stoppage time. Antonio Dovale's attempt struck off the far post and rebounded into the goalmouth, where Feilhaber was first to react. His fourth goal of the regular season ties his MLS career high and is second most on the team in 2014.
The visitors -- who have now won eight games away from home in 2014, most in MLS -- continued the scoring spree to start the second half with Zusi striking for his fourth goal of the year in the 52nd minute. The World Cup veteran cut inside from the left side and buried his shot from the top of the penalty area. Both Dwyer and Zusi now have 21 goals in their MLS careers, moving the duo into a tie for ninth place on the club's career scoring chart.
Dwyer, who already has five multi-goal games in 2014, was in search of his second goal of the night with two scoring chances in short succession. Kennedy was at his best in the 56th minute to deny Dwyer on a breakaway, then watched the Englishman's shot skip inches outside the far post less than seven minutes later.
Sporting Kansas City ended the team's four-game losing streak with a four-goal victory courtesy of Bieler's finishing touch in the 87th minute. The Designated Player intercepted a back pass from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, took a touch around Kennedy and buried his shot from a tight angle on the right side for his second goal of the season.
Thanks to the second half goals, 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. Additionally, Sporting Kansas City supporters can take advantage of 44-cent Monster Tacos at area Jack in the Box locations on Saturday as a result of the team's four shots on goal.
Sporting Kansas City will now shift the team's attention to the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League for a pair of decisive home matches over the next 10 days. Sporting KC will host Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Oct. 18, followed by a rematch with Nicaragua's Real Esteli FC at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Tickets for both group stage matches at Sporting Park are available at Ticketmaster.com while supplies last.
Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 29
StubHub Center | Carson, California
Weather: Clear and 77 degrees
|Sporting KC (13-10-6, 45 pts)||2||2||4|
|Chivas USA (6-16-6, 24 pts)||0||0||0|
Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic; Lawrence Olum, Paulo Nagamura (Mikey Lopez 61), Benny Feilhaber; Antonio Dovale, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 77), Graham Zusi (Soony Saad 70)
Subs Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Sal Zizzo, C.J. Sapong, Jorge Claros
Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Bobby Burling, Akira Kaji, Tony Lochhead; Nigel Reo-Coker, Leandro Barrera (Donny Toia 69), Eric Avila, Nathan Sturgis; Marvin Chavez (Matthew Dunn 61), Felix Borja (Eriq Zavaleta 75)
Subs Not Used: Luis Bolanos, Trevor Spangenberg, Oswaldo Minda, Ryan Finley
|Shots on Goal||6||1|
CHV -- Marvin Chavez (caution; tactical foul) 12
SKC -- Lawrence Olum (caution; reckless tackle) 67
SKC -- Mikey Lopez (caution; reckless foul) 67
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 19 (Graham Zusi 7) 40
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber 4 (unassisted) 47+
SKC -- Graham Zusi 4 (Igor Juliao 2) 52
SKC -- Claudio Bieler 2 (unassisted) 87