Recap: Sporting spoil Mariner's TFC debut with 2-0 win

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – If Toronto FC had hopes their recent coaching change would provide a performance boost, Sporting Kansas City’s 2-0 win over the Reds on Saturday put them to rest.

Goals from C.J. Sapong and Julio Cesar spoiled Paul Mariner’s debut with Toronto, and dropped the Canadian club to a 1-10-0 MLS record on the year.

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Sporting came out pressing forward early, often and hard, getting their first chance in the third minute when Seth Sinovic and Teal Bunbury linked up on a counterattack. Bunbury took Sinovic’s pass and beat Jeremy Hall deep, but Sinovic couldn’t convert Bunbury’s return pass and Doneil Henry cleared it away.

WATCH: Full match highlights

A handful of other near misses followed in the opening minutes, but Sapong didn’t waste his first chance of the night. 

Chance Myers sent a ball down the right flank to Jacob Peterson – who made his first start of the year in the absence of Kei Kamara, who’s away on international duty with Sierra Leone – in the 18th minute. Peterson’s cross eluded Henry’s stab at clearance, and Sapong pounced to notch his fifth goal of the year.

Toronto had a chance to equalize on the half-hour mark, but the Reds’ opportunity turned into just another entry for the lowlight reel.

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Eric Avila took a through ball from Torsten Frings behind Sporting’s back line and put his shot past ’keeper Jimmy Nielsen, only to see it hit the left post, roll down the line and hit the right post, then bounce off defender Aurelien Collin for the corner.

Five minutes later, Julio Cesar – who had already come close several times earlier in the match – made it 2-0 with his first goal of the year. Zusi sent in a corner kick, and Julio Cesar one-timed it home from just outside the top right corner of the 6-yard box.

Danny Koevermans gave Toronto a couple of solid scoring chances after that, but was twice denied by Nielsen. Sporting’s captain made a dive to his right to stop Koevermans’ header in the 37th minute and broke up another 1-on-1 in the 70th minute with a kick save.

The result continues Toronto’s season of turmoil, but Sporting continue to rebound from a three-match losing streak in May, having won their last four matches across all competitions.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Jimmy Nielsen The Reds didn’t have many sniffs at goal, but Nielsen stood on his head to make sure they wouldn’t capitalize on their chances
2 Julio Cesar Defensive bite aside: How do you not give a Top 3 nod to a guy who scores with such an emphatic finish?
3 Seth Sinovic The left back got plenty of touches, and aside from one egregious whiff in front of goal, made most of them count.

Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.