If youre going to travel 3,560 miles and play in a monsoon, you might as well win.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Sporting Kansas City did exactly that Tuesday in its second game of CONCACAF Champions League play, knocking off CD Olimpia 2-0 at Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and taking firm control of Group 2.
Its a humongous result, manager Peter Vermes said by phone after the win. It really is huge. Its not an easy trip with the travel and everything else. It was an unbelievable tactical performance. I thought we were flawless in that regard.
Playing his second match since returning from a strained right quad suffered in the MLS All-Star Game, Graham Zusi chipped a through ball over Olimpias back line in the 27th minute.
Forward Soony Saad collected the pass, beating defender Jose Fonseca in a footrace to the ball then putting Sporting KC in front with a cool left-footed finish.
Benny Feilhaber was credited with a secondary assist on the goal.
Outside of that chance, the sloppy conditions kept both attacks bogged down in the first half.
Midway through the second half, Olimpia started to find its legs.
During the 61st minute, forward Carlos Mejia managed to get off a shot from the top of the box on the right side that eluded goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, but the roller drifted wide of the far post.
One minute later, Kronberg, whose only save came in the 93rd minute, spilled a cross into the box by Brayan Beckeles, but the rebound fell to centerback Ike Opara, who cleared it for a fruitless corner kick.
With the pressure mounting, second-half substitute Dom Dwyer, who entered in the 48th minute for Claudio Bieler, made a 70-yard run straight up the middle of the field.
Olimpias defense appeared to corral Dwyer, who also scored an insurance goal Aug. 7 at Real Esteli in another 2-0 win, as he entered the 18-yard box.
However, Dwyer turned on Fonseca and was chopped down on a reckless challenge by Mejia for a penalty in the 67th minute.
Saad, who now has five goals across all competitions, whipped the ensuing penalty kick into the left side a minute later, beating goalkeeper Noel Valladares, who guessed correctly and got a hand on it but couldnt prevent the 2-0 lead.
I cant say enough about the performance of the team, Vermes said. It was fantastic.
With the win, Sporting KC, which entered the match tied with Olimpia in the Group 2 standings, moves into first place alone with six points and owns a hefty advantage in goals scored and goal differential.
Sporting KC wraps up the group stage with the returns legs at Sporting Park against Real Esteli on Sept. 17 and versus Olimpia on Oct. 23.
Midfielder Paulo Nagamura, who hadnt played in nearly two months, went 77 minutes in the victory.
He looked very good; he was solid, Vermes said.