Three points on the road. Three straight away wins across all competitions. Sole possession of first place in MLS’ Eastern Conference.
Only one thing marred Sporting Kansas City’s evening -- an injury to hard-working forward Jacob Peterson, who has become their hottest scorer in recent action.
Peterson had to leave Saturday night’s 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew early, after scoring Sporting’s first goal in the seventh minute. He came out of a packed penalty area favoring his left ankle in the 14th minute, briefly left the pitch for treatment shortly after that and was lifted for C.J. Sapong after 38 minutes.
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“Having to burn that sub in the first half, that hurt a little bit,” manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “We also had Soony (Saad) and (Peterson) Joseph that I knew wouldn’t be able to go 90 minutes, so I already knew that was two subs there. So that really put us in a bind, but at the end the guys did a great job and figured out a way to get it done.”
The extent of Peterson’s injury was not immediately clear, Vermes said.
“I saw him when I was walking in at halftime and I asked him how he was doing, and he said, ‘Ah, I’ll be okay,’” Vermes said. “I don’t know what that means. I don’t think that’s a technical medical term.”
Peterson, who has scored in three of Sporting’s last four matches across all competitions, connected on his game-winner after a perfectly placed through ball from Joseph found him just onside in the penalty area.
It was a pass worthy of the “Haitian Xavi” nickname for Joseph, who started in the midfield to give Graham Zusi a night off.
“It was a fantastic through ball to hit Jake’s run,” Vermes said. “Great run by Jake as well, but that was a great through ball. At the end of the day, when you get a through ball and a finish like that, it puts a lot of pressure on them early in the game.”
Even after taking treatment for his ankle, Peterson continued his usual high-energy work on the wing until Vermes subbed in Sapong.
“He’s a tough dude,” Vermes said. “I know he won’t prolong this thing by any means. He’ll try to get back on the field as soon as possible. We just have to make sure that he’s all the way healthy. We don’t want to put him in jeopardy.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.