Sporting Kansas City 4, FC Dallas 0 | MLS Match Recap
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It would probably be easier to list the Sporting Kansas City players who didn't figure in Friday night's total bossing of FC Dallas.
That would be pretty much nobody, as Sporting avenged their biggest defeat of the season with their most lopsided victory of 2015, while Peter Vermes earned his 100th career coaching victory across all competitions.
Sporting led 1-0 and were in control of the match even before Dallas defender Zach Loyd was sent off with his second yellow in the 43rd minute, and they poured in three more scores after the half to thump the visitors 4-0 and run their unbeaten streak to six matches.
Graham Zusi had a goal and two assists as Sporting (5-2-6) leaped from sixth place in the Western Conference to a second-place tie with Dallas (6-4-3), who lost their second straight and are winless in their last three. In the two sides' first meeting this year, on March 14, Dallas won 3-1 at home.
Krisztian Nemeth, once again starting at center forward for Sporting as Dom Dwyer missed a second consecutive match with neck stiffness, scored his club-leading sixth goal – on his sixth shot on goal of the season. Kevin Ellis also had a goal – his first in MLS play – and an assist for Sporting, Benny Feilhaber's fourth goal of the year matched his career high, and Tim Melia recorded his third shutout in five matches since taking over for the now-departed Luis Marin.
With Amadou Dia at left back and winger Connor Hallisey making his first start, injury-depleted Sporting had two rookies in the XI for the first time since Oct. 24, 2009, when Graham Zusi and Matt Besler started a 2-2 home draw against D.C. United for the then-Wizards.
Hallisey's pace helped Sporting keep pressure on the visitors early, and it paid off on the scoreboard in the 19th minute after Nemeth was fouled by Matt Hedges about 30 yards from goal. Zusi put his free kick into the 6-yard box, and Ellis – falling away from Loyd – headed the ball back across the goalmouth for Nemeth's point-blank finish inside Dan Kennedy's right post.
Kansas City nearly doubled their lead in the 24th minute, when Feilhaber worked free into the right side of the penalty area, but he pushed his shot just wide of the left post.
Loyd's first yellow-card foul still came back to haunt Dallas, though, when he grabbed and pulled down Nemeth on the left wing 10 minutes after drawing his first caution and was sent off by referee David Gantar just before halftime.
The floodgates opened in the 51st minute, when right back Jalil Anibaba sent the ball into the area to Nemeth. The Hungarian forward spun away from Hedges and centered the ball to an unmarked Feilhaber, who slotted it past Kennedy to make it 2-0.
Six minutes after that, Dallas midfielder Tesho Akindele fell down in the box while defending Zusi's corner kick, and Ellis took advantage, racing in to head the ball home for a 3-0 lead. And in the 64th, Hallisey passed up a left-footed look to send a backheel into Zusi's path for a finish under Kennedy and a 4-0 scoreline.
And as prolific as they were on offense, Sporting were equally stingy on defense. Melia faced only one shot on goal – Akindele's shot in the 49th minute – for the second straight game, as he remained unbeaten over his five starts and saw his goals-against average drop to 0.6.
Sporting are off until June 6, when they host Seattle Sounders FC, while FC Dallas are at San Jose on June 7.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.