By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Sporting Kansas City moves up to second place in the Western Conference after shutting out Orlando City SC in a 1-0 victory. The club welcomed back former players, Dom Dwyer and Oriol “Uri” Rosell. However, the reunion was cut short in the 53rd minute when Felipe Gutierrez scored the winning goal. Additionally, Andreu Fontas made his official club debut and earned his first start, playing the full 90 minutes.
In an action-packed match, Sporting KC came close to opening the scoresheet just seconds after the start. Graham Zusi and Gerso Fernandes created a pair of early chances; when Zusi sent in an early corner. In addition to Gerso running down left with plenty of space.
Kristian Nemeth almost had a clear shot in the fifth minute after Yohan Croziet sent a low pass. Alas, Carlos Ascues gets a light touch and clears it out.
Orlando was quick to respond with Dwyer racing down with a long ball forcing Tim Melia – who recorded his 12th career-high shutout – to save it in a 1v1 situation.
The Lions continued to leave gaping holes in their defense. Sporting KC took full advantage of it ending the first half with 20 crosses; the most crosses in a game since their meeting with Real Salt Lake in April of 2015.
Shortly after the restart, Sporting KC was able to maintain possession but still couldn’t convert any chances. They would finally break the stalemate in the 55th minute after Yohan Croziet found an open space and sends the cross to Gutierrez, who then slams it down the middle past Joe Bendik – marking his first goal since returning from injury.
Sporting KC was brilliant for the final 25 minutes with shared opportunities between Nemeth, Gutierrez, and Croziet. Although Bendik denied the trio, it was clear Sporting KC wasn’t giving up.
The remainder of the time also saw a desperate pack of Lions trying to feed Dwyer the ball. Dwyer would get the ball on two separate occasions but Melia was quick to deny his former teammate – delivering the Lions their ninth-straight loss.
Sporting KC will go back on the road when they travel to Avaya Stadium to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9:30 p.m. CT.
Featured image: @SportingKC
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