Sporting KC beat DC United, get first clean sheet of 2018

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Sporting KC beat DC United
KANSAS CITY, KS - SEPTEMBER 20: The Cauldron celebrates a Sporting KC goal by forward Latif Blessing (9) in the first half of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final between the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City on September 20, 2017 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kan. (March 31, 2018)- Sporting KC beat DC United 1-0 behind another Felipe Gutierrez goal and their first clean sheet of the 2018 season.

Sporting KC beat DC United 1-0

Sporting’s performance seemed like the inverse of what most of their performances have been like this year. The multitude of their games have ended up in multi-goal thrillers, with dynamic attacking play on one end, and bad defense on the other. They ended up flipping that script a little bit tonight.

Sporting KC opened the scoring quickly, as Felipe Guitierrez was played down onto the end line by Khiry Shelton in the third minute. Gutierrez cut back into the center, and tried to send a pass across the face of goal. His pass ended up deflecting off the ankle of Fredric Brillant, and past David Ousted to give Sporting KC a 1-0 lead. The goal at the time of publication is currently scored as a goal for Felipe Gutierrez, however the goal should at some point be considered an own goal.

That was the most significant action of the game, but the rest of the match seemed to be a thorough performance from Sporting KC. They moved the ball well, and made better decisions as a backline unit. D.C. United had their chances, but Tim Melia was equal to most. He made three saves, on what were some more tame attempts sent his way.

Three Things

  1. The Movement was fluid for the most part from the front three and Sporting KC fans shouldn’t be worried about a one goal performance too much. They had the chances, and plenty of them. They had twenty total shot attempts, ten of them were blocked with six of those coming on shots within the 18-yard-box. At some point, the cookie will crumble their way on the deflections, much like it did on the first goal.
  2. Sporting KC out-possessed, and out-passed DC United, virtually playing them off the park. DC’s best spell of possession was the 35th minute to the 40th minute, where they held 60% of the possession over that time frame. Sporting KC held the advantage at 62.6%. They out-passed them 585-346 and more than doubled the amount of passes completed in the final third. It was a comprehensive performance from Sporting on the possession end, which is the first time we’ve seen them dominate in that type of way in 2018.
  3. Sporting KC’s defense held serve. Albeit they held their first clean sheet of 2018 against a weak DC United squad, they still held a clean sheet, and that’s something they hadn’t done once this season. Jimmy Medranda’s presence on the backline seemed to help with the overall positioning of the unit, but the bigger story for the backline was that they didn’t make any serious mistakes, nor did they clear it back into a place that would’ve kept them under pressure. Eliminating those mistakes went a long way towards keeping the clean sheet in tonight’s victory.

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