Recap: Sporting KC earns 1-0 win over Chicago Fire

Sporting Kansas City moved into fourth place in the Western Conference with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Sporting Park. Paulo Nagamura came off the bench to score the game's lone goal with a header in the 75th minute, while Tim Melia made three saves for his first career MLS shutout and first career MLS win in his Sporting KC debut.

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Sporting KC took the field for the first time in the team's new all-white third kits - in front of the stadium's 58th consecutive MLS sellout crowd and a national television audience on ESPN2- for the 50th all-time regular season meeting against the rival Fire. Chicago entered with wins in each of their last three matches, but saw that streak snapped by a Sporting KC side that has held the Fire scoreless in four of the past five meetings in KC.

Melia played a starring role in the clean sheet as he made his first appearance since being acquired in the offseason after five seasons split between Real Salt Lake (2010-2011) and Chivas USA (2012-2014). The 28-year-old was called into action in the eighth minute to thwart a goalward cross from David Accam, then again five minutes later to push away Guly's left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area and a third time to smother a header from Eric Gehrig in the 19th minute.

Sporting Kansas City's best two scoring chances of the first half came two minutes apart on headers from Dom Dwyer and Kevin Ellis. Benny Feilhaber's chipped cross in the 31st minute was met by a diving header from Dwyer that carried over the crossbar from six yards out. The Englishman, who leads MLS with 30 fouls won in 2015, earned a free kick a minute later that Feilhaber placed perfectly into the path of Ellis only to see the header hammer off the crossbar.

After attempting 11 shots in the first half, Sporting Kansas City was limited to only three shots in the second beginning when Seth Sinovic forced a strong save from Sean Johnson in the 50th minute. Manager Peter Vermes inserted Nagamura as his first of three substitutes in the 65th minute and the move paid dividends 10 minutes later as the Brazilian provided the breakthrough moment with the first headed goal of his 11-year MLS career.

Fellow newcomer Jalil Anibaba delivered the cross from the right flank and Nagamura did the rest, snapping his header inside the far post to finish off a 12-pass sequence for the 13th goal of his career and his first game-winning goal since 2009. Graham Zusi was credited with the secondary assist on the play, claiming sole possession of second place on the club's all-time charts with 17 game-winning assists.

Chicago's bid for a late equalizer became a taller task when Accam, one of three Designated Players for the Fire, was sent off in the 89th minute with a straight red card issued for a foul on Anibaba. Chicago captain Jeff Larentowicz was at the center of his team's final two forays forward, looping a header wide in the 93rd minute off a corner kick from Shaun Maloney and then going down after a collision with Matt Besler inside the penalty area on the final play of the game.

Sporting Kansas City will now travel to the nation's capital to face Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday at RFK Stadium. The match will be shown live locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 9
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 19,581 (58th straight sell out)
Weather: 84 degrees and partly cloudy
 

Score

1

2

F

Sporting KC (3-2-4, 13 pts)

0

1

1

Chicago Fire (3-4-0, 9 pts)

0

0

0

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jalil Anibaba, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler (c), Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia 77); Soni Mustivar (Jacob Peterson 85), Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza (Paulo Nagamura 65); Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Krisztian Nemeth

Subs Not Used: Luis Marin, Erik Palmer-Brown, Connor Hallisey, Bernardo Anor

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Joevin Jones, Jeff Larentowicz, Adailton, Eric Gehrig (Lovel Palmer 85); Matt Polster, Shaun Maloney, David Accam, Chris Ritter (Kennedy Igboananike 77), Harrison Shipp; Guly (Quincy Amarikwa 72)

Subs Not Used: Razvan Cocis, Victor Perez, Greg Cochrane, Jon Busch

Stats

SKC

CHI

Shots

14

11

Shots on Goal

3

3

Saves

3

2

Fouls

14

12

Offside

2

8

Corner Kicks

3

4

Misconduct Summary:

CHI -- Adailton (caution; persistent infringement) 32
SKC -- Seth Sinovic (caution; tactical foul) 38
CHI -- Chris Ritter (caution; delaying a restart) 58
CHI -- David Accam (ejection; violent conduct) 89
SKC -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; reckless tackle) 92+

Scoring Summary:

SKC -- Paulo Nagamura 1 (Jalil Anibaba 1, Graham Zusi 2) 75

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