Despite a frantic stoppage-time rally, Sporting Kansas City fell to the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on Saturday evening at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Dom Dwyer's first career goal in the second minute of stoppage-time was not enough as the visitors scored twice in the second half to take three points and move into first place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of second place Sporting KC.
Sporting KC came out of the gate strong, playing the majority of the first half in New York's defensive side and tallying a season-high 15 shot attempts in the first 45 minutes.
The home side nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Aurelien Collin lofted a long ball over the New York defense. Kei Kamara controlled the pass, cut to the inside and swung a ball to the 12-yard box. Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles reacted quickly to save the first attempt and Soony Saad was first to the rebound but couldn't direct his follow-up effort on frame.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen equaled Robles' effort minutes later when he found himself one-on-one with Johnny Steele. The Red Bulls countered off a Sporting KC corner kick and Thierry Henry picked out Steele streaking down the left flank. Nielsen stayed big and used his body to parry away Steele's attempt.
The Red Bulls broke through in the 27th minute when Dax McCarty found himself unmarked in the middle of the pitch and split a pair of Sporting KC defenders. Steele ran on to the through-ball and placed his shot past Nielsen to put New York ahead.
Kamara leveled the match for Sporting KC minutes before halftime with his 50th regular season goal. The play began when Chance Myers curled a ball in from the wing to Saad at the six-yard box. The third-year winger headed it on target, but Robles blocked the first attempt. The Sierra Leone international was in good position and cleaned up the rebound to level the match.
The Red Bulls scored twice in the second half on the counter attack to take a 3-1 lead. The first goal came in the 63rd minute when Lloyd Sam slid the ball to Fabian Espindola, who beat Nielsen to the far post. Sam, who entered the match in the 60th minute, was in the thick of the action again, scoring in the 70th minute. Robles began the play with a long throw from inside his 18-yard box. Steele picked up the pass down the left wing and played a perfect ball behind the defense to Sam. The English winger cut once and fired past Nielsen for his second career goal.
Down two goals, Peter Vermes brought on forwards Dwyer and Teal Bunbury. Dwyer made an immediate impact, nearly tallying a goal in the 82nd minute. After a short corner kick, Saad played a cross to the six-yard box. Dwyer connected with a header but his attempt ricocheted off the crossbar and away from danger.
With time running out, Sporting KC continued to throw numbers forward and pulled one back in the second minute of stoppage time. Dwyer found his first career MLS goal when he headed a Kamara cross past a helpless Robles from close range.
Despite 10 minutes of stoppage time due to an injury to New York's Kosuke Kimura, Sporting KC could not find the equalizer and fell by a one-goal margin for the second consecutive week.
Sporting Kansas City faces a quick turnaround as the squad kicks off the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The squad will travel to Nicaragua to face Real Esteli on Wednesday before returning home for next Saturday's match against the New England Revolution at Sporting Park.
- Story from Sporting KC