The final whistle sounded Saturday, and Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer crumpled to the grass inside Red Bull Arena. He sat there for a few extra seconds before finally hopping to his feet and walking to the locker room.
On a night in which he tied a franchise record for goals in a season, Dwyer instead pinpointed the early chances he couldn’t complete. After all, they loomed large by night’s end.
Sporting Kansas City produced its best effort in more than two weeks, but the losing streak continued.
New York jumped to an early lead and held on for a 2-1 victory against visiting Sporting KC at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
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Sporting KC has lost four straight matches for the first time since May 2011.
“I thought the guys were fantastic tonight,” Dwyer said in a phone interview. “We had a couple of chances in the first half that I’ve got to put away personally. I thought the guys did great. I take full responsibility. I pride myself on (finishing chances). I’m disappointed.”
Dwyer scored his 18th goal of the season in the 54th minute — countering a brilliant strike two minutes earlier from New York forward Thierry Henry that gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead.
Dwyer tied Preki for the most goals in a season in franchise history. Preki set the mark in 1996, the team’s inaugural season.
“It’s fantastic and a great honor,” Dwyer said. “But I just want to get the results first, and then I think it will feel good.”
Dwyer said he felt he should have capitalized on a pair of chances in the first half. He sailed a right-footed shot high in the 27th minute. And after pushing his way through the New York defense in the 45h minute, his ensuing point-blank shot was stopped by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Dwyer was one of three players to return to the starting lineup. Midfielder Paulo Nagamura played for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on July 6. Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber rejoined the club after serving one-game suspensions for yellow card accumulation.
The trio provided a jolt — coach Peter Vermes called the first half the best 45 minutes Sporting KC has played in two weeks — but that didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
Instead, the club fell behind 1-0 in the 11th minute. Sporting KC defender Matt Besler was whistled for a foul in the penalty area, setting up a penalty kick for Bradley Wright-Phillips, who buried it for his league-leading 21st goal of the season.
Besler played Saturday with a makeshift cast on his left hand to protect a broken bone he suffered Wednesday in New England.
“It was a very good performance from us. I thought we took the game to them,” Vermes said. “That was more ‘us’ than the last three games. From that perspective, we took a step in the right direction. We also created a lot of chances, which was very good as well.”