Sporting sets record for minutes without allowing a shot on goalBy TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Ricardo Villar’s 25th-minute goal March 25 for FC Dallas was the last shot on goal Sporting Kansas City has permitted.
Led by central defenders Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler, Sporting KC, which hasn’t allowed a shot on goal in back-to-back 1-0 wins against Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, set a new MLS record with 245 consecutive minutes without a shot on goal.
Elias Sports Bureau confirmed Saturday that the Colorado Rapids set the previous record last season, going 185 minutes between shots on goal.
“Their centerbacks played very well in the box,” Galaxy coach and former U.S. men’s national team coach Bruce Arena said. “They did a great job.”
Robbie Keane played Mike Magee in on goal during the seventh minute, but Magee whiffed and failed to get what should have been a point-blank try on target.
The Galaxy managed only three more shots and none that tested Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
“This afternoon we had to be more focused than last game,” Collin said. “Last game wasn’t that great, but tonight we were focused. At the end, it was hard, because they were pushing a lot. But we stayed solid and kept the clean sheet, which is a very good result for the team.”
Sporting KC, 5-0-0, already owns four shutouts.
During the 26th minute, the Galaxy appeared to have a dangerous chance brewing as speedy forward Edson Buddle broke free along the right side, but Collin made a picture-perfect slide tackle to win the ball back.
“If you don’t have any other solution, you have to tackle,” Collin said. “Maybe I was late, but thank god I was able to tackle and win the ball. If I could have made a better play, I wouldn’t have to make the tackle. It’s beautiful. It’s a technical thing for a defender, but it’s a last choice for a defender.”
It also was effective and, apparently, contagious.
Barely 10 minutes later, defensive midfielder Julio Cesar took the ball off Landon Donovan’s foot in a similar fashion, winning the ball back and setting in motion the game-winning goal.
“What’s great about the tackles was, not only are you winning the balls cleanly, but you’re up keeping possession of it and going the other way,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said.