Sporting Kansas City Defeat Real Salt Lake 3-0, Earn Fifth Clean Sheet

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KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 29: Graham Zusi #8 of Sporting Kansas City questins a call by the referee during the game against Real Salt Lake at Children's Mercy Park on April 29, 2017 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Kansas City (April 29, 2017)- Sporting Kansas City defeat Real Salt Lake in a cold and rainy match at Children’s Mercy Park. They came into tonight’s match coming off their first loss of the 2017 campaign. Nobody needed to tell them they needed to bounce back, and playing against a rival like Real Salt Lake surely was going to turn the temperature up. Sporting KC were the the most threatening team throughout the match, and the scoreline reflected that. Sporting KC walked away with a 3-0 win against their rivals, and looked mighty impressive while doing so.

Sporting Kansas City Defeat Real Salt Lake 3-0, Earn Fifth Clean Sheet

Sporting KC were the better team from the start, and there really wasn’t any doubt about that. Real Salt Lake were playing without captain and midfield lynchpin, Kyle Beckerman and it was quite obvious. Sporting KC dominated possession for the most of the match, with RSL commanding a bit more of the possession through the final 20 minutes. Also, Real Salt Lake completed only 77% of their passes.

Sporting KC’s first goal came of a well worked play down the right hand side, as Graham Zusi laid the ball off to an oncoming Benny Feilhaber, who whipped the ball with his right foot first time. The first time shot kissed the far post and hit the back of the net for quite the well worked goal.

Sporting’s second was a brilliant individual effort from Dom Dwyer, who bodied up Chris Wingert on a ball over the top, won the ball, and then made another defender miss while cutting back onto his right. He powered the shot low and hard, curling it into the bottom corner.

Dwyer later claimed he should’ve had a few more. “I should’ve had more tonight to be honest. A little bit disappointing there. But I’m not looking at those type of stats to be honest.” 

The final goal came in stoppage time. After Peter Vermes had taken most of his key cogs off tonight, the substitute, Soony Saad, played in a brilliant ball to Gerso Fernandes who rounded the keeper and finished.

Real Salt Lake had plenty of shots attempted, however Sporting KC kept them at bay. RSL whipped in 20 crosses, with only two successful link ups. In addition, only two shots out of their 14 shot attempts troubled Melia, and both were right at him. In comparison, Sporting KC only made ten shot attempts, but put seven of them on frame. While Real Salt Lake had plenty of half chances, they couldn’t do a whole lot else.

Part of that was Sporting’s attention to not giving the ball away in the middle of the park. Doing so usually leads to quick counters, and more clear cut chances. Sporting Manager, Peter Vermes addressed that after the match. Some of it is that you value the ball as a team, the other is that I think we have a better group of guys that keep the ball,” Vermes said. Possession doesn’t win games, but what it does is it limits the opportunities for the other team, especially when you don’t give it up in critical areas, and we recognize that, and we value it a little bit more.”

Sporting KC’s clean sheet is their fifth this season, in just eight games played. They currently have the best defensive record with only three goals against. The win vaults them into second place in the Western Conference. They have a quick turnaround this week, as they take on New York Red Bulls at home on Wednesday night.

Real Salt Lake’s loss was their fifth on the year, and second consecutive game allowing three goals. The coaching change may have made a quick difference, but they definitely have their work cut out for them. They currently sit eighth in the west, with nine points in eight matches. They’re next match isn’t any easier, as they take on FC Dallas on May 6th.

Other Notes:

Tonight’s win was Sporting KC’s first victory over Real Salt Lake in any competition since the 2013 MLS Cup Final…Referee Allen Chapman made amazing use of the magic spray to get players from coming after him during a consultation with his AR.

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