When Dom Dwyer moved into a first-place tie on Sporting Kansas City’s single-season scoring list last weekend, he held up a single finger on both hands to represent No. 11 — a gesture that paid homage to the man whose record he equaled. Preki scored 18 goals in the Kansas City Wizards’ inaugural season.
The record belongs to only No. 14 now.
Dwyer scored his 19th goal of the season to trigger a 4-0 victory late Friday night against Chivas USA at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
“It was about us driving the game. It was about us creating the opportunities,” coach Peter Vermes said of his team breaking the slump. “That’s when we’re good.”
Sporting Kansas City posted its first shutout since June 27 to produce its first victory since Aug. 16.
But the night belonged to Dwyer.
The left-footed striker needed only one touch from his right foot to move atop Sporting Kansas City’s scoring chart. Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy left his line to challenge a Dwyer run, giving Dwyer just enough room to slip a right-footed shot into an open goal.
The franchise scoring record had stood since 1996, when Preki scored 18 goals in a 32-game season. Dwyer reached the mark in 29 team games.
“Preki is a legend for this club. His name is on the stadium,” Dwyer said two days before the match. “To be in the same sentence as him is very cool.”
Dwyer earned his moment.
Sporting Kansas City enjoyed a few more of them before the night was finished.
The club started a bit sluggishly in the opening 20 minutes, but that shifted to a convincing conclusion in the opening half. Dwyer notched his goal in the 39th minute before Benny Feilhaber ballooned the margin to 2-0 a minute before the halftime whistle. Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler added second-half goals.
That put the finishing touches on a dominant showing against the league’s worst home team — a performance expected of the MLS defending champions, even if they hadn’t played like it in recent weeks.
Sporting KC was outscored 11-4 over its four-game losing streak, raising doubts about its ability to find last season’s postseason form with the playoffs less than two months away.
The form returned Friday — a product of its own improved effort and Chivas’ dismal recent play. Chivas extended its winless streak to 10 matches Friday.
“I thought this was a dangerous game. You can think that it could be easy. That’s just human nature,” Vermes said. “But I thought our approach was excellent.”
But is it too late for Sporting KC to get back in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference? Maybe not.
The club pulled within two points of conference-leading D.C. United with five regular-season games remaining. D.C. United has six left on its schedule.
Sporting KC is set to begin a two-week break from MLS action. It plays host to New England on Sept. 26.
In the interim, it will resume play on the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. Sporting KC plays CCL home games against Saprissa and Real Esteli over the next 11 days.
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.