Sporting Kansas City’s unbeaten start to the season ended Saturday with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Maynor Figueroa provided the decisive goal in the 77th minute, delivering the hosts all three points in a battle of Major League Soccer’s two remaining undefeated clubs.
The result vaults FC Dallas (4-0-2, 14 points) to second place in the Western Conference, while Sporting Kansas City (3-1-3, 12 points) drops to fourth and sees their club-record four-game road shutout streak come to an end.
Manager Peter Vermes deployed an unchanged starting lineup from last weekend’s 1-0 win at the Portland Timbers, notably awarding midfielder Benny Feilhaber his 150th appearance for the club in all competitions.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia, who entered Saturday with a league-best four shutouts and a 0.33 goals against average, continued his phenomenal form between the posts during a first half in which he made five saves — tied for the most by a Sporting KC goalkeeper in a single half since Opta began tracking the statistic in 2010.
Melia’s first stop came in the fourth minute when he dove left to deny Maximiliano Urruti following a quick FC Dallas attack ignited by Kellyn Acosta and Roland Lamah. Shortly thereafter, Lamah headed Hernan Grana’s teasing cross straight at Melia from six yards. Urruti forced another save from Melia in the 14th minute and found the back of the net less than 60 seconds later, only to see the offside flag raised after the forward had run onto Lamah’s through ball.
The visitors gradually settled into proceedings and carved out their first opportunity in the 16th minute when Jimmy Medranda squeezed a pass inside the box to Dom Dwyer, whose left-footed bullet was blocked by a lunging Matt Hedges. Urruti then spurned a chance on the half-hour mark, hammering Lamah’s cutback well over the crossbar from 15 yards.
A corner kick from Feilhaber in the 32nd minute gave FC Dallas its biggest scare of the first half. Ike Opara rose to cushion the ball back across goal where Roger Espinoza’s bouncing header was corralled by leaping goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Five minutes before intermission, Melia produced an excellent reflex save by thwarting Lamah. FC Dallas continued to pressure and created a final threat on the stroke of halftime, but Tesho Akindele nodded Grana’s cross well above the frame.
Medranda almost fired Sporting Kansas City ahead within two minutes of the restart. The diminutive Colombian received a diagonal pass from Espinoza and pulled the trigger from the left side of the penalty area, but Gonzalez dove to push the ball wide of the far right post.
FC Dallas broke through with 77 minutes on the clock as substitute Michael Barrios, who entered the contest just four minutes earlier, served a delectable cross to the far post from the right endline. Figueroa was on hand to power a header past Melia and notch the second goal of his MLS career — the first of which came two years ago against Sporting KC when he was a member of the Colorado Rapids.
Vermes made two attacking subs as Daniel Salloi and Latif Blessing entered the fray in the late stages, but FC Dallas held the 1-0 lead to become the last remaining unbeaten side in MLS.
With a two-game road swing in the books, Sporting Kansas City will return to Children’s Mercy Park next Saturday to host rivals Real Salt Lake (2-3-2, 8 points) at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the game are available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting KC looks set a club record by extending its home unbeaten run to 13 consecutive regular season matches.
2017 MLS Regular Season
Game 7 of 34
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
Weather: 58 degrees and cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (3-1-3, 12 points)||0||0||0|
|FC Dallas (4-0-2, 14 points)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic; Roger Espinoza, Ilie, Benny Feilhaber (Soni Mustivar 72); Gerso (Latif Blessing 84), Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda (Daniel Salloi 81)
Subs Not Used: Adrian Zendejas, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kevin Ellis, Soony Saad
FC Dallas: Jesse Gonzalez; Hernan Grana, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges (C), Maynor Figueroa; Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo, Roland Lamah (Atiba Harris 86), Javier Morales (Victor Ulloa 85), Tesho Akindele (Michael Barrios 73); Maximiliano Urruti
Subs Not Used: Jacob Lissek, Ryan Hollingshead, Carlos Cermeno, Cristian Colman
|Shots on Goal||1||6|
FCD -- Maynor Figueroa 1 (Michael Barrios 2, Hernan Grana 1) 77
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referee: Eduardo Mariscal
Assistant Referee: Craig Lowry
Fourth Official: Ted Unkel