The lockers of Lawrence Olum and Tim Melia sit side-by-side in the far corner of the Sporting Kansas City locker room, making communication between them off the field a simple thing.
A miscommunication between the two should have cost Sporting KC a goal Sunday.
Referees missed Olum’s own goal — but not the goal he put in the FC Dallas net, which was the opening salvo to Sporting KC’s 2-0 victory at Children’s Mercy Park.
It was just the second victory in 12 matches for Sporting KC, 6-8-3, dating back to April 9. It also marked the first time the club earned points in consecutive matches since consecutive draws on April 27 and May 1.
Olum and Melia’s miscommunication in the 16th minute resulted in the ball rolling toward an empty net.
Melia scrambled back and cleared the ball, but only after it was well across the goal line. The referees failed to award a goal and play continued.
“In the game, a lot of things are going on at the same time,” Olum said. “He maybe had called for it, but instinctively I tried to play a back pass to him. It happens here and there, but we got out of it, and we got the three points.”
Melia made a handful of other quality saves, but biggest one was arguably on a ball already across the line. He just smiled when asked if he was surprised not to hear a whistle.
“Um, no,” Melia said with a grin. “No comment.”
FC Dallas, 8-5-4, got the better opportunities in the first half, but had nothing to show for it.
“It impacted the game, for sure,” FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja said of the missed goal. “It’s frustrating, but everybody saw it… We saw it, it was a goal, but it wasn’t called. I thought we dominated the game, but it wasn’t enough.”
Olum scored his second goal of the season — and second against Dallas — in the 43rd minute. Benny Feilhaber curled in a free kick from the corner of the 18-yard box, and Olum took care of the rest.
“It was a good set piece from Benny,” Olum said. “I knew all I had to do was get a deflection or something to cause distraction in front of the goalie. It was a good ball by Benny, and I got a little touch, and it goes in.”
Feilhaber drew a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time, then calmly converted moments later.
“I don’t know if I think I’m hitting a groove, but I’m kind of trying to grind through it,” Feilhaber said. “Obviously it hasn’t been a good patch for our team the last month or two, and for myself as well. That’s the mentality with all the players right now. We’re trying to fight through it and we’ll come out all right at the other end.”
Sporting KC started the second half of the MLS campaign with a result after struggling for a majority of the previous six weeks.
“The way we were able to grind a game out, it was great. You’ve gotta remember, all those guys on the field today played 120 minutes the other day, and they played 94 today,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “If you look at their team, they only had one guy play 120, then 94 today. It was great from a fitness perspective to handle it, grind it out and do what we have to do to get the three points.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 2
FC DALLAS 0
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Lawrence Olum, Ike Opara, Jimmy Medranda; Soni Mustivar (Kevin Ellis, halftime), Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza; Jacob Peterson (Chance Myers, 84th), Dominic Dwyer (Diego Rubio, 76th).
FC DALLAS: Chris Seitz; Atiba Harris (Carlos Gruezo, 63rd), Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figuerora; Michael Barrios (Mauro Diaz, 63rd), Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa (Carlos Lizarazo, 74th), Fabian Castillo; Maximiliano Urruti, Tesho Akindele.
Kansas City: Lawrence Olum 9 (Benny Feilhaber), 43rd minute. Benny Feilhaber 11 (penalty kick), 45th+2.
FC Dallas: None.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Lawrence Olum, 28th minute; Dominic Dwyer, 76th minute; Tim Melia 80th minute.
FC Dallas: None.
Kansas City: None.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez.
Assistant referee: James Conlee.
Assistant referee: Sean Hurd.
4th official: Fotiz Bazakos.
Announced attendance: 18,927.