COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Sporting KC striker Teal Bunbury opened his 2012 goal-scoring account on Saturday with first-half brace at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but the Colorado Rapids answered back with goals by Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura in the second half to finish the match tied at two goals apiece. It was both clubs’ first draw of the season.
The out-of-favor Bunbury made the most of his second start of the season by collecting two close-range finishes in the first 14 minutes of the contest, providing an immediate offensive jolt to a KC team that had scored just once in their previous three games.
Colorado’s dominant possession helped the home side back into the contest. Marshall headed home a Martin Rivero freekick in the 52nd minute to make the score 2-1, and Kimura completed the comeback shortly after by tapping home a Conor Casey cetering pass from close range.
Sporting’s three-game losing streak seemed to be well behind them when Seth Sinovic’s floated service 65 seconds into the match found an unmarked Bunbury lurking in the center of the box. The US international made no mistake in burying his header and putting the visitors on top.
Twelve minutes later, Matt Besler’s throw-in went right through Rapids keeper Matt Pickens’ hands and into Bunbury’s path. The 22-year-old pounced on the gift to knock the second goal of the game into Colorado’s empty net in the 14th minute.
But after weathering the initial blow, the Rapids slowly began to ease into the contest, finding creases in the Kansas City back line and nearly scoring several times in the first half. Sporting keeper Jimmy Nielsen was called upon to make a string of fine saves in the 25th minute, including a sliding stop on Drew Moor’s close-range blast. Conor Casey’s through ball in the 33rd minute nearly found a wide-open Tony Cascio in the penalty box, but Aurelien Collin’s perfectly timed tackle prevented a sure goal.
The offensive blitz from Oscar Pareja’s team finally found a tangible result seven minutes into the second half, when Martin Rivero’s pinpoint free kick found the head of the Jamaican international Marshall, who banged in his first goal of the season.
In the 60th minute, Colorado once again capitalized on a set piece to sting the visitors. Jeff Larentowicz’s freekick from 25 yards out was initially stopped by Nielsen, but the veteran ‘keeper spilled the rebound to Casey. The hulking striker cleverly turned and slotted a ball to Kimura, who buried the Rapids’ second.
Both sides pushed for the win in the final thirty minutes, and Nielsen was forced into a diving 86th minute save on a Rivero header. However, both teams were forced to settle for a share of the points.
Sporting now return to Livestrong Sporting Park to open up a three-game streak against San Jose next Sunday [4:30 pm EST, NBC Sports], while the Rapids will host the Montreal Impact on Saturday night [9 pm EST, MLS Live].
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Teal Bunbury||Being in the right place to score a goal is sometimes about luck, but not when you do it twice in a row. Tough break that the goals didn't stand up.|
|2||Martin Rivero||Rivero's composure and creativity helped turn the Rapids' night around. Drew the foul and provided the assist on the first goal.|
|3||Conor Casey||Welcome back, big man. Casey spelled trouble for Sporting all night, and his assist to Kimura was sublime by target-striker standards.|