Jacob Peterson and Benny Feilhaber scored on either side of halftime as Sporting Kansas City defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 on Saturday night at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park. The victory propels Sporting Kansas City (11-11-5, 38 points) into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference and extends the club’s regular season home winning streak to six games, the second-longest in club history.
The hosts went ahead in the 39th minute through Peterson, who equalled an MLS career-high with his fourth goal of the season, while Feilhaber sealed the result with a 64th-minute penalty kick. Eighth-place Vancouver (8-12-6, 30 points) slumped to its fourth straight league defeat and remains winless in five trips to Children’s Mercy Park.
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 Kansas City area locations.
A revamped Sporting Kansas City lineup included eight changes from Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Central FC in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. Matt Besler notably returned to the fold after missing the previous five matches with an MCL strain, joining Kevin Ellis, Jimmy Medranda and winger-turned-right back Graham Zusi in defense.
Sporting Kansas City would hold a distinct upper hand throughout the first half, enjoying the lion’s share of possession while creating multiple chances. Brad Davis nearly opened the scoring in the 19th minute, unleashing a brilliant curler from the right edge of the box that beat goalkeeper David Ousted but caromed off the crossbar.
Zusi came close shortly thereafter when Roger Espinoza’s cross into the box was shouldered clear by former Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong. The U.S. international’s thunderous volley from 20 yards sailed wide of the near post and into the side netting. A minute later, Davis narrowly missed the target with a first-time shot following Medranda’s low feed into the penalty area.
Sporting Kansas City’s dominance was rewarded in the 39th minute when Peterson poked home from close range. Benny Feilhaber’s corner kick was volleyed goalward by Nuno Coelho, allowing Peterson to slot past the despairing dive of Ousted and into the back of the net. Coelho recorded his first MLS assist on the play, while Feilhaber tallied his team-best seventh helper of the season — and his third in his last four games.
Following the halftime induction ceremony of Sporting KC assistant coach and former midfielder Kerry Zavagnin into the Sporting Legends hall of honor, Vancouver briefly found its footing. Their best scoring opportunity came in the 50th minute when Giles Barnes latched onto de Jong’s deflected cross and snapped a header on goal, but Alec Kann made a phenomenal reflex save to preserve his clean sheet. Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston twice connected on corner kicks from Christian Bolanos over the next five minutes — the first of which cleared off the line by Medranda and the second saved by Kann.
Feilhaber doubled Sporting Kansas City’s lead just past the hour mark after Peterson surged into the box from the left wing and drew a foul on Fraser Aird. Ousted would save the first attempt, but referee Kevin Stott ordered the penalty to be retaken as the Vancouver goalkeeper had illegally advanced off his goal line. Feilhaber made no mistake on the second try, picking out the bottom left corner to notch his sixth goal of the season.
Davis almost added a third in the 75th minute, settling Zusi’s cutback pass and forcing Ousted into an impressive kick save. Peterson was then denied his brace three minutes from full time when Ousted palmed his 20-yard effort just over the woodwork.
The familiar foes will meet again in just three days' time, squaring off in a pivotal CONCACAF Champions League tilt at BC Place. Tuesday's group stage match will kick off at 9 p.m. CT with an English-language live stream on CONCACAF's official Facebook page. Whitecaps FC (1-0-0) have an early two-point lead over Sporting Kansas City (0-0-1) in Group C, having defeated Central FC 1-0 on Aug. 2. Manager Peter Vermes' men are unbeaten in six straight meetings against the Canadian side and will look to extend that run in CONCACAF's premier club tournament.
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 27 of 34
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 20,159 (84th straight sellout)
Weather: 68 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City (11-11-5, 38 pts)||1||1||2|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8-12-6, 30 pts)||0||0||0|
Sporting Kansas City: Alec Kann; Graham Zusi, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda (Saad Abdul-Salaam 70); Benny Feilhaber, Nuno Coelho (Soni Mustivar HT), Roger Espinoza (C) (Paulo Nagamura 80); Jacob Peterson, Dom Dwyer, Brad Davis
Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Emmanuel Appiah, Connor Hallisey, Diego Rubio
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: David Ousted; Fraser Aird, David Edgar, Kendall Waston, Marcel de Jong; Andrew Jacobson (Russell Teibert 77), Pedro Morales (C), Christian Bolanos, Nicolas Mezquida (Alphonso Davies 68), Giles Barnes; Blas Perez (Cristian Techera 68)
Subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Smith, Tim Parker, Masato Kudo
|Shots on Goal||5||3|
SKC -- Kevin Ellis (caution; unsporting behavior) 10
SKC -- Matt Besler (caution; unsporting behavior) 16
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (caution; unsporting behavior) 77
SKC -- Jacob Peterson 4 (Nuno Coelho 1, Benny Feilhaber 7) 39
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber (penalty kick) 64