Peterson's 10th-minute goal, Bieler's stoppage-time insurance tally into an open net and four saves from Kronberg gave Sporting Kansas City a 2-0 victory over the shorthanded Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon, vaulting Sporting into a three-way share of the Eastern Conference lead and dropping the Crew from second to fourth.
Sporting (4-2-2) are tied with New England and New York atop the East, with the Crew (3-2-3) two points behind the tri-leaders. Columbus had to play a man down after the 80th minute, when midfielder Wil Trapp was issued a second yellow card for bringing down Sporting's Benny Feilhaber in the open field.
Peterson, starting on the right wing with Sal Zizzo sidelined by a groin strain, converted the opportunity into his first league goal since the 2012 regular-season finale. Bieler's goal was also the first of the year for the Argentinian DP, who started the year in a two-man rotation at center forward but has become Dom Dwyer's backup in recent weeks.
After a quick buildup and Chance Myers' cross into the box, Paulo Nagamura's blocked shot deflected off a couple of defenders and fell to Peterson eight yards from goal. He turned on it and put it inside Steve Clark's left post, giving Sporting eight straight matches with a first-half goal against the Crew.
Clutch saves at each end, shortly after the half-hour mark, first denied Columbus an equalizer and then kept Sporting from doubling their lead.
In the 31st minute, Trapp sent in a cross that Bernardo Anor – returning to the lineup after a one-match red-card suspension – headed down toward the center of the goal. Kronberg was able to slow the ball with his right hand and then block it off the line with his knee, though, and Uri Rosell cleaned up the loose ball for the home side.
Three minutes after that, left back Seth Sinovic chested down Rosell's through ball for a 1-v-1 opportunity, but Clark came up with the kick save to keep the Crew within a goal.
Kronberg also had a big stop on Anor's low drive in the 65th minute (and stopped Jairo Arietta's follow-up try from an offside position), finishing with four saves and his fourth clean sheet of the year.
The Crew continue their road swing on Wednesday in Houston, and Sporting visit Montreal – two weeks after drubbing the Impact 4-0 at home – on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Matt Besler||Commanding performance from the veteran international. Shut everything down defensively, and had one of the best switches of the year leading to the first goal|
|2||Graham Zusi||Dangerous up and down both flanks, switching sides throughout. Had one assist, but could have had three or four others. And as always was the freshest guy on the field at the whistle|
|3||Benny Feilhaber||Probably not going to Brazil, but put in another superb two-way performance that suggests his omission would be a mistake. Makes the game easier for his teammates.|