KANSAS CITY, Kan.-- That's how you break a dry spell – and in front of the biggest crowd in Sporting Park history, no less.
Soony Saad delivered a brace of goals, his first tallies in league play in almost two years, and Sporting Kansas City moved atop the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 victory over shorthanded Toronto FC on Saturday night.
Claudio Bieler added his team-leading ninth goal of the season for Sporting (9-5-6), who ran their unbeaten streak to five games and recorded Jimmy Nielsen's first clean sheet since a 1-0 win at Houston on May 12.
COMPLETE LINEUPS AND BOXSCORE
The Reds – who had defender Reggie Lambe shown a straight red card in the 56th minute for chopping down Saad in the open field – dropped to 2-9-7 and are winless in their last four.
Saad hadn't scored since his debut – on his 19th birthday – against Portland on Aug. 17, 2011. He changed that with a booming strike in the 21st minute, in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 21,126.
Seth Sinovic sent in a short pass from the left flank, and Saad settled it just outside the area and fired past Joe Bendik into the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.
His second goal, in the 51st minute, came after Bendik deflected Graham Zusi's shot from distance. The ball rolled past Bieler to an onrushing Saad, who buried it from the edge of the 6-yard box to make it 2-0.
Bieler put the hosts up 3-0 in the 63rd, on a sequence started by Saad's run and through ball to Kei Kamara. Kamara one-timed the ball to Benny Feilhaber, who pushed it out to the Argentinean DP with the right side of his foot for a tap-in from point-blank range.
OPTA CHALKBOARD: Chart Saad's busy night for SKC
Sporting nearly bagged a fourth in the 76th minute, when Aurelien Collin headed a loose ball home, only for Kei Kamara to be ruled offside on the play.
Despite going seven previous games without a shutout, Nielsen now has eight on the year and moved into a share of the league lead with Portland's Donovan Ricketts and New England's Bobby Shuttlesworth.
Defender Richard Eckersley started for the Reds, his first action since going out with a hamstring injury in early April.
Toronto are back on the road on Wednesday to take on Chivas USA, while Sporting travel to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Soony Saad||Easy call for the man who had a Goal of the Week type effort just to get started.|
|2||Benny Feilhaber||Finally showed some moments of what Sporting have expected this season.|
|3||Joe Bendik||Rare that a GK lands here in a 3-0 rout, but it could have been a whole lot worse.|