porting Kansas City's nightmare road trip ended on a positive note Saturday with a scoreless draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field.
Playing without starting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, who was hospitalized Thursday in Kansas City, Sporting KC, 1-6-3, turned to backup goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, who made two spectacular saves in posting his first career shutout.
“We have a lot of confidence in Eric and he has really grown in the last year,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “We had no concerns with him going into the game.”
Kronberg, who missed the 2009 season after shoulder surgery, was the club's 40th overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, but he was making only his third career appearance. He also started May 14 at the LA Galaxy, surrendering four goals in a 4-1 loss.
Against Toronto FC, 2-5-7, Kronberg wasn't threatened in the first half, but preserved the all-important team point with a pair of second-half saves.
Brazlian striker Maicon Santos rifled a shot toward the upper corner at the near post in the 67th minute, which Kronberg was forced to punch away with both fists.
But it was his diving stop on a header to the far post by Donell Henry two and a half minutes into stoppage time that stood out the most.
Sporting KC bogged down in the attacking third until the final 20 minutes, but that was partly by design. “We lacked that final pass or shot, but still created some opportunities,” Vermes said. “But it's not for us to drive the game away from home. We did a good job keeping the game compact and keeping them from threatening our goal other than that header in stoppage time and the shot from distance.”
Sporting KC opens its new stadium Thursday against the Chicago Fire.