Opara goal leads Sporting KC over Crew on the road

GrahamZusiToniTchaniSportingKCColumbusCrew1 (USATodaySports)

By DAN KARELL

For the second time under interim head coach Brian Bliss, the Columbus Crew had no answer for Sporting Kansas City.

A first-half goal from defender Ike Opara proved to be the difference as Sporting KC defeated the Crew, 1-0, in front of 19,107 on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The victory moved Peter Vermes’ side one step closer to clinching a playoff berth with only three matches remaining in the 2013 season.

Despite playing on the road, Sporting KC looked comfortable in attack with a front three of Soony Saad, Dom Dwyer, and C.J. Sapong, creating a few chances early, including a good strike on goal by midfielder Graham Zusi that Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson held.

Opara’s goal came off a miscleared corner kick that found its way back to the far side of the field, where Zusi sent in another cross to the back post. Opara arrived while Agustin Viana remained on the ground, heading home as the referee declared the goal to stand in the 17th minute.

In the second half, as the game had become more physical, a clash of heads between Chad Barson and Matt Besler left the two on the ground, with Besler’s head covered in blood after suffering a gash that needed stitches later. Both players remained in the game, though, as did Crew forward Federico Higuain, who looked to be laboring throughout.

The defeat sends the Crew to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings with 41 points, though they’re just four points behind the playoff seeds with three games remaining in the season.

Here are the match highlights:

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4 Responses to Opara goal leads Sporting KC over Crew on the road

  1. Shawn says:

    Well, if there was controversy that Ike’s goal was allowed in the 1st half, we’re still waiting for the reason his 2nd goal was DISallowed. He didn’t use his marker to jump. So the only thing I can see is he was penalized for reacting to the ball when his marker was lost in space.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Agreed. I just watched the game highlights. The ball has already left his head before he makes any contact with the guy marking him. No grounds for disallowing the goal.

      It’s good to see Opara getting a decent amount of minutes this year, and it looks like SKC’s doing well when he plays. I think he’ll definitely be in USMNT consideration for the 2018 cycle.

      • Frank says:

        The Crew just didn’t create any chances and thus can’t complaint that they lost. As a Crew fan, I’m frustrated that the players go down too easily waiting for a call.

        BTW, the Crew only has two games left and will be officially elimiated from the playoffs during their bye week next week.

  2. Smith says:

    This loss is quite a blow to the Crew’s Massiveness