The delay lasted 110 minutes after a severe thunderstorm trailed Sporting Kansas City on its trip to Bridgeview, Ill., to face the Chicago Fire. After the unexpected wait, striker Dom Dwyer needed only 71 seconds to head a ball past the goal line.
But an offsides call negated his would-be goal in the opening minutes. And Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson negated another in the final minutes.
In sum, it added up to Chicago recording a 1-0 shutout of Sporting on Wednesday night, halting the club’s five-match unbeaten streak in MLS play.
Sporting KC, 8-9-4, outshot Chicago 19-3 but it placed only two of its attempts on goal — and none in the first 79 minutes.
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“In their place, we were all over them,” Sporting coach Peter Vermes said in a phone interview. “We did everything to them.”
The time of possession belonged to Sporting by 68 minutes to 32, but the only goal belonged to the Fire. To conclude a quick restart, Michael de Leeuw scored his first MLS goal in the 19th minute. Sporting argued referee Nima Saghafi had blown the whistle after the ball was put in play on the restart, thus halting the action, but it was unpersuasive.
“Everybody thinks you’re blowing the whistle to stop the game, and everybody hesitates,” Vermes said. “That part is unfortunate.”
After the goal, last-place Chicago was content to put numbers behind the ball to protect a 1-0 lead. Sporting responded with the bulk of the chances, its best in first-half stoppage time when Jacob Peterson hit the post.
That was a common storyline Wednesday — the inability to put shots on target. Sporting had scored 10 goals over its previous four matches — the best current offensive stretch in MLS — but it couldn’t put the finishing touches on its best opportunities Wednesday.
The first 13 minutes, Sporting failed to test Johnson. Brad Davis had the first shot on goal in the 80th minute off a curling free kick, but it didn’t have enough pace to make it past Johnson. His kick from a similar spot in the first minute of second-half stoppage time barely sailed wide.
Chicago “played kickball the whole game. That’s what the game was,” Vermes said. “Unfortunately, one play cost us points.”
Well, two plays.
In the second minute, Dwyer snuck through the Chicago back line to get on the other end off a crossing pass from a Benny Feilhaber free kick. An assistant referee’s flag shot up, whistling the play offsides. Replays showed the play was close.
The match presented the return of Matt Besler and Nuno Coelho to the starting back line. Lawrence Olum and Ike Opara had formed the center back pairing in each of the previous five matches, relegating Sporting’s captain to the bench. With only a two-day break after a win Sunday against New York City FC, Vermes opted to rest Opara and Olum in favor of Besler, along with Coelho, who worked his way back from a pair of muscle strains for his first start in seven matches.
But Coelho made it only 20 minutes. He was removed in favor of Opara in the 21st minute after aggravating the hamstring injury.
The lineup figures to see another shakeup Saturday, when Sporting travels to Colorado for its third match in seven days.
Source:AP_GLOBALFile:q2522Keyword:BC-SOC--MLS-SportingKC-FDated:23:42 13-07-2016Processed at:23:42 13-Jul-16
Chicago Fire 1, Sporting KC 0
First half—1, Chicago, de Leeuw, 1 (Cocis, Vincent), 19th minute.
Goalies—Kansas City, Tim Melia;Chicago, Sean Johnson.
Yellow Cards—Thiam, Chicago, 26th, Mustivar, Kansas City, 29th, Alvarez, Chicago, 68th, Dwyer, Kansas City, 71st, Meira, Chicago, 79th, Medranda, Kansas City, 85th.
Referee—Nima Saghafi, Asst Ref—Kyle Atkins, Gianni Facchini;Fourth Official—Alan Kelly.
Kansas City—Tim Melia;Jimmy Medranda, Matt Besler, Nuno Coelho (Ike Opara, 21st), Saad Abdul-Salaam;Roger Espinoza, Soni Mustivar (Justin Mapp, 81st), Benny Feilhaber;Connor Hallisey (Brad Davis, 58th), Dominic Dwyer, Jacob Peterson.
Chicago—Sean Johnson;Brandon Vincent, Joao Meira, Jonathan Campbell, Michael Harrington (Rodrigo Ramos, 83rd);Matt Polster, Khaly Thiam, David Accam, Matt Polster, Arturo Alvarez (John Goossens, 68th);Michael de Leeuw (Johan Kappelhof, 89th).