KANSAS CITY, Kan. – This time, Sporting Kansas City closed one out until the final whistle. And this time, there would be no Goonies magic in the dying moments for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Dom Dwyer's second-half spot kick stood up for Sporting, who had conceded goals after the 89th minute in each of their first two league games, and the result was a 1-0 victory – their first of the MLS season – for the defending MLS Cup champions on Saturday night. San Jose stayed winless at 0-1-1.
Dwyer's 57th-minute penalty, after Steven Lenhart was called for swatting the ball in the Quakes' penalty area, broke a 564-minute streak – dating back to the second leg of the Eastern Conference final in 2013 – in which no forward had scored for Sporting (1-1-1).
Dwyer also had the last goal before that streak began, a 63rd-minute series-winner against Houston last Nov. 23.
Despite both teams coming off midweek CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal defeats in Mexico, there wasn't much of a dropoff from the usual physicality between the two clubs – or in their style of play, with Sporting applying plenty of high pressure and San Jose looking to create mismatches in the penalty area.
The Quakes didn't have too much success in that category, recording only one shot on goal as Sporting's Eric Kronberg notched his first clean sheet of the MLS season after those early disappointments.
Sporting could have – and likely should have – gone up 1-0 in the 18th minute, but came away empty after a bizarre sequence that saw them hit the goalpost twice in a span of seconds.
It started when Ike Opara sent a set-piece header toward the goal, only to be denied by midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi's acrobatic bicycle clearance. Sal Zizzo pounced on the ball but hit the left post, and Opara hit the same post with his putback attempt – and then pushed his second chance wide left.
Dwyer didn't miss from the spot, though, after Lenhart reached around Opara to bat the ball during a scrum in the penalty area. San Jose keeper Jon Busch went to his left, and Dwyer calmly shot low and behind Busch.
The Quakes nearly equalized in the 71st, when Chris Wondolowski was left unmarked on a pinball sequence in Sporting's 18-yard box, but Wondolowski shot just wide of the left post.
Both teams are off until next Saturday, when San Jose will be at home to New England and Sporting travel to Colorado.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Graham Zusi||Sporting's midfielder was everywhere, causing problems for the Quakes defense and thwarting the offense late.|
|2||Aurelien Collin||The plug in Sporting's defensive line dominated again against one of MLS' more physical forward lines.|
|3||Shea Salinas||San Jose didn't have much to show for, but Salinas was the one star, creating several chances along the left flank.|