Sporting KC move into first place in East after downing D.C. United

Jimmy Nielsen

By ALAN HAINKEL

KANSAS CITY, Kansas– Sporting Kansas City finished their home season on a positive note with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Friday night at Sporting Park.

Dom Dwyer’s seventh-minute strike held up on a cold, damp night that saw the surprise U.S. Open Cup champions fall for the 23rd time this season in front of a sellout crowd of 18,932, the 33rd consecutive sellout in Kansas City.

The play in the early going could charitably be considered sloppy. When asked in the postgame press conference if the play could be blamed on the weather, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said his club likes it when the pitch is wet and the ball is skipping around.

“It’s hard for me to chastise the guys because we have played so many games home and away where our form has been very good and we have come up short,” Vermes said.

Dwyer’s goal came as a result of a sloppy back pass from D.C. midfielder Jared Jeffrey to defender Perry Kitchen. Kitchen continued to backpedal as Sporting midfielder Peterson Joseph closed in on him. Joseph poked the ball away from Kitchen and into the path of Dwyer. Dwyer then rounded goalkeeper Bill Hamid and slotted it home.

Asked whether the play was a good defensive play or a mistake by his opponent, Dwyer said it was a nice defensive play.

“We work on high pressing, and (Peterson) Joseph did a great job pressuring the center back,” Dwyer said. “I knew that my job was to close the keeper, so I took a chance. He played it back, and I think the defender saw me coming halfway through his pass. I just took it around (the keeper) and finished it off.”

Eight minutes later, Jeffrey had D.C.’s only truly dangerous chance of the game. Jeffrey was played onside approximately 25 yards away from goal with only the keeper to beat. Jeffrey seemed to be looking to try to nutmeg Jimmy Nielsen and slowed his run, even with a teammate on either side. Jeffrey did eventually take a shot, but Nielsen was positioned perfectly and made the stop at point-blank range.

Vermes said it was the second straight game Nielsen has come up big like that. “(Nielsen) was stellar in (the Houston) game too,” Vermes said. “That’s the kind of save that you respect and want your goalkeeper to keep you in the game. He has the ability to make himself… He’s a big dude, but he makes himself look like a really big dude. Guys have a difficulty finding a goal and they usually miss.”

With the victory, Sporting KC clinched at least the second seed in the Eastern Conference and temporarily took over the lead in the Supporter’s Shield race, two points clear of both the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers, who both have tough matches this weekend.

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20 Responses to Sporting KC move into first place in East after downing D.C. United

  1. Jon says:

    That was…not convincing.

    • Alan Hainkel says:

      Considering how many times they’d played well and not gotten the result, I’m sure they’ll take it.

      • Shawn says:

        Yep. I don’t feel any shame taking 3 points in a sloppy game, given the number of games we’ve outplayed the opposition and dropped points this year.

    • Brian says:

      The great thing about sports, you don’t have to be convincing so long as you are winning.

  2. Z says:

    I’ve been holding off on the “fire Olsen” thing all year, but…

    The way Kitchen gave up the goal and Jefferey failed to take his were completely amateurish. Below the level of play acceptable in this league.

    • Smith says:

      Olsen does an inferior job preparing the team for games.

      He is all bluster and chutzpah.

      He’s terrible on every level.

      He was an overrated player and he’s a worse coach.

      As I can’t stand DC, I hope they sign him to a lifetime contract.

  3. RBNY says:

    LOL at the United striker that had Nielsen dead to rights and tried to get all cute with those choppy little steps in front of him and failed. Scum United’s season in a nutshell right there…

  4. Herbert Maldonado @Boriuano says:

    DC United sucks so bad lol … i felt so bad for them last night and the saddest part is that they won the U.S. Open Cup lol… Only in the MLS

    • Shawn says:

      Not really, relegated teams win Cups quite frequently in Europe. Not unheard of for true second-division teams to win them, even.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      He misspoke, by only in the US, he meant I have no clue what I am talking about.

      Go away trol.

  5. Smith says:

    DC United – Team of the 90s.

    They are truly laughable.

    They show us all why promotion/relegation exist. They have no business being in MLS.

    The Legend of Ben Olsen.

    • dude says:

      You’re a moron.

      We played in the Eastern Conference Final last year. We beat the Red Bulls, who this year are contending for the supporter’s shield. I’m not arguing that DC is a good team this season or that they will be next season. But to suggest relegation when the parity of the league continues to amaze- at least four teams competing for top spot with one game remaining- that relegation would be a joke. If it existed, RSL and the Red Bulls would have been relegated long ago. People have really short memories.

      • Smith says:

        Now, now. No need to go name calling just because your team peaked around the same time as the Hansens had a hit song.

        DC is a sub-par team in a sub-par city in a sub-par stadium. Once you learn to accept it, you will ber better.

        Don’t hate yourself. It’s ok. God loves you.

    • Brian says:

      The great thing about MLS, they can turn it around in just one season. Look at Portland from last year to this year, or New England and Colorado. Even Chicago and San Jose had huge turn-arounds mid season. This league doesn’t need to relegate anyone because teams are not terrible for very long unless they are Chivas.

  6. BallsonmyChin says:

    Great pic of pregnant Nielsen.

  7. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    How did DC get that bad, so fast ? You almost have to look for the coaches head when they fall that fast.

  8. Bruted says:

    Crap. Is it really a requirement to mention the U.S. Open championship anytime you reference D.C.? I am ashamed of being an RSL fan for the embarrassment they inflicted on the league. I apologize to all of you.

    • Alan Hainkel says:

      It’s the first article I’ve written mentioning D.C. United since they won the tournament, so I won’t be mentioning it again.

      One thing I didn’t mention in the article… With the loss, D.C. is guaranteed to finish with fewer league wins than Open Cup tournament wins (3 league, 5 tournament as of now)…