Sporting Kansas City won its second straight match to open the 2016 MLS season on Saturday as Dom Dwyer scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Children’s Mercy Park.
Dwyer moved into third place in club history with his 46th and 47th career goals in all competitions, propelling Sporting Kansas City (2-0-0, 6 points) to the top of the early Western Conference standings. Saturday’s crowd of 20,178 was the largest attendance for a home opener at Children’s Mercy Park and the 71st consecutive MLS sellout at the state-of-the-art venue.
UPHORIA: The Day after Sporting KC wins, Sporting KC Uphoria users can enjoy a complementary appetizer with a $20 purchase at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District (1370 Grand Blvd.).
PAPA JOHN'S: The Day after Sporting KC scores two or more goals, use promo code SPORTINGKC at papajohns.com to get 50% off each regular menu price pizza in an order placed with participating KC area locations.
Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes fielded an unchanged starting lineup that earned a 1-0 win at Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday, and his side grabbed the lead in spectacular fashion after just five minutes. Dwyer secured possession following a Vancouver turnover and rifled home from 28 yards for the longest strike of his MLS career — the shot rattling the underside of the crossbar before nestling into the corner.
Whitecaps FC (0-2-0, 0 points) responded a minute later with a chance of their own, but Kekuta Manneh’s one-time shot from the right side of the box sailed narrowly wide of Tim Melia’s lefthand post. Manneh was then played through on goal in the 20th minute, but Melia raced off his line to smother the forward’s attempt in a one-on-one situation.
The hosts doubled their lead with a well-orchestrated attack in the 41st minute. Graham Zusi lofted a diagonal ball from the left wing to the right edge of the box, where Chance Myers sent a one-touch pass across the face of goal. The cross was perfectly weighted as Dwyer was on hand to convert from point-blank range past goalkeeper David Ousted. Zusi recorded the 45th assist of his regular season career on the play, moving into a tie for second place on the club's all-time chart with Chris Klein.
Vancouver’s hill became all the more steep in first-half stoppage time when Jordan Smith received a straight red card after bringing Zusi down from behind. Sporting Kansas City would translate their man-advantage into 68 percent possession on the night.
Connor Hallisey provided Sporting Kansas City’s first chance after halftime. His left-footed curler was bound for the left corner, but Kendall Waston was positioned to make a crucial headed clearance off the goal line. Shortly thereafter, Nuno Andre Coelho was on the receiving end of Zusi’s corner kick but directed a bouncing header just wide.
Ten-man Vancouver received a lifeline in the 69th minute when Jordan Harvey’s incisive through ball down the left channel found Octavio Rivero, who was tripped in the box by Melia. Referee Edvin Jurisevic pointed to the penalty spot, and Pedro Morales buried the spot kick to cut Sporting Kansas City’s lead in half.
The Children’s Mercy Park crowd rose to its feet in the 77th minute when six-time MLS All-Star Brad Davis made his Sporting KC debut. The 34-year-old won two MLS Cups with the Houston Dynamo before joining Sporting Kansas City in January.
Sporting Kansas City will return to Children's Mercy Park next Sunday, March 20, when the club hosts Eastern Conference side Toronto FC in a nationally televised contest on FS1 and FOX Deportes. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. CT and a limited number of tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com.
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 2 of 34
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 20,178 (71st straight MLS sellout)
Weather: 57 degrees and cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (2-0-0, 6 pts)||2||0||2|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC (0-2-0, 0 pts)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Chance Myers (Saad Abdul-Salaam 83), Nuno Andre Coelho, Matt Besler, Amadou Dia; Soni Mustivar, Jordi Quintilla (Jimmy Medranda 76), Roger Espinoza; Connor Hallisey (Brad Davis 77), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Subs Not Used: Alec Kann, Kevin Ellis, Lawrence Olum, Daniel Salloi
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: David Ousted; Jordan Smith, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Deybi Flores (Kianz Froese 46), Matias Laba (Blas Perez 67), Cristian Techera (Fraser Aird 46), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero
Subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe, Masato Kudo
|Shots on Goal||6||4|
VAN -- Octavio Rivero (caution; unsporting behavior) 36
VAN -- Kendall Waston (caution; unsporting behavior) 38
VAN -- Jordan Smith (ejeection; serious foul) 45+1
SKC -- Jordi Quintilla (caution; unsporting behavior) 51
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 1 (unassisted) 5
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 2 (Chance Myers 1, Graham Zusi 1) 41
VAN -- Pedro Morales 1 (penalty kick)