A second-half brace from Dom Dwyer lifted Sporting Kansas City to a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
The striker’s double was more than enough to secure three points for a Sporting Kansas City side that moved to the summit of the Western Conference standings and snapped New York’s three-game winning run. Sporting Kansas City (5-1-3, 18 points) also extended its club-record home unbeaten streak to 14 MLS matches as New York (5-4-1, 16 points) suffered defeat at Children’s Mercy Park for the first time since 2011.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia delivered another steady performance between the posts — notching his MLS-best sixth shutout and lowering his goals against average to 0.33 through nine games — while Dwyer spearheaded an attack that totaled season-highs in shot attempts (18) and shots on target (eight).
Manager Peter Vermes deployed an unchanged lineup from Sporting Kansas City’s 3-0 win over Real Salt Late on Saturday. Dwyer’s two-goal salvo came in his 150th match for the club across all competitions, while midfielder Jimmy Medranda reached his own milestone by logging his 50th regular season appearance.
The Red Bulls were second-best for most of the evening but started brightly when MLS debutant Michael Amir Murillo played Alex Muyl into space down the right wing. Muyl’s teasing cross into the six-yard area nearly found Fredrik Gulbrandsen, but Melia jumped off his line to extinguish the danger. New York threatened again four minutes later, but Sal Zizzo steered his bouncing header wide after receiving a lofted pass from Felipe following a corner kick.
Sporting Kansas City would gain strength as the half unfolded. New York goalkeeper Luis Robles — appearing in his MLS-record 150th straight regular season match — saved long-range efforts from Medranda and Gerso before Benny Feilhaber rifled a 25-yard screamer just above the crossbar.
Melia continued his fine run of form with a stunning save in the 28th minute to keep the match scoreless. Gulbrandsen won a loose ball off a throw-in, drove toward goal and struck from the edge of the 18-yard box, but Melia tipped the ball inches over the crossbar to keep his shutout in tact.
Feilhaber orchestrated a glorious opportunity in the 34th minute with a lovely far-post delivery to Dwyer, but Robles made a stellar stop from close range. The Red Bulls gloveman was forced into action again six minutes later, diving low to his left to push Gerso’s strike wide of goal. Feilhaber caused further havoc on the stroke of halftime, cutting to the left endline and serving a delectable cross to an unmarked Ike Opara, but the center back cushioned his header over the bar from six yards out.
The hosts finally broke through just seconds after the restart. Graham Zusi’s blast from distance was saved by Robles and only half-cleared by the New York defense. Feilhaber tried his own luck from outside the box, and although the shot was blocked by Zizzo, the ball fell kindly to Dwyer who slotted home on the doorstep with his right foot. It would become the Englishman’s 13th career game-winning goal in the MLS regular season, tying Preki for the most all-time in a Kansas City uniform.
In a bid to gain a foothold, New York head coach Jesse Marsch introduced MLS All-Stars Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips as substitutes on either side of the hour mark. Sporting Kansas City remained in the ascendancy, however, and nearly doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Feilhaber went on a blistering 30-yard run into the final third and saw his cracking attempt saved by an outstretched Robles.
Dwyer sealed the result in the 68th minute with his fifth goal in as many games. Feilhaber received a long, looping diagonal ball from Medranda along the right wing, squared up his defender and squeezed a perfect cross to Dwyer, who finished high into the net near the penalty spot.
With a successful two-game home swing in the rearview mirror, Sporting Kansas City will now hit the road for their inaugural MLS meeting with expansion side Minnesota United FC (2-5-2, 8 points) on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff at TCF Bank Stadium is set for 12:30 p.m. CT on FS1, FOX Deportes and ESPN 99.3 FM.
2017 MLS Regular Season
Game 9 of 34
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 18,965 (92nd straight sellout)
Weather: 50 degrees and cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (5-1-3, 18 points)||0||2||2|
|New York Red Bulls (5-4-1, 16 points)||0||0||0|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic; Roger Espinoza (Soni Mustivar 91+), Ilie, Benny Feilhaber; Gerso, Dom Dwyer (Soony Saad 93+), Jimmy Medranda (Daniel Salloi 91+)
Subs Not Used: Adrian Zendejas, Kevin Ellis, Igor Juliao, Latif Blessing
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles (C); Connor Lade, Sal Zizzo, Aaron Long, Michael Amir Murillo; Sean Davis, Felipe, Alex Muyl, Derrick Etienne (Bradley Wright-Phillips 65), Gonzalo Veron (Sacha Kljestan 57); Fredrik Gulbrandsen (Daniel Royer 69)
Subs Not Used: Ryan Meara, Damien Perrinelle, Kemar Lawrence, Tyler Adams
|Shots on Goal||8||2|
SKC -- Ike Opara (caution; unsporting behavior) 30
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (caution; unsporting behavior) 51
NY -- Sean Davis (caution; unsporting behavior) 62
NY -- Connor Lade (caution; unsporting behavior) 76
NY -- Bradley Wright-Phillips (caution; unsporting behavior) 92+
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 4 (unassisted) 46
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 5 (Benny Feilhaber 2) 68
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referee: Danny Thornberry
Assistant Referee: Nick Uranga
Fourth Official: Edvin Jurisevic