Ideally, the blueprint for the conclusion of an early-season scoring slump would’ve featured a different opponent. After all, in three meetings last year, Sporting Kansas City managed only one goal against the Colorado Rapids, who finished as the league’s stingiest defense.
But so often the lure of sports is the unexpected, the potential to debunk the numbers.
The sport delivered a few surprises Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting KC broke a scoring drought only 6 minutes into the match and added a pair of picturesque goals after halftime, the formula for a 3-1 victory against visiting Colorado in front of 19,249 fans Sunday.
“The way we played tonight is just the beginning. We have a lot more in us,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “I didn’t pay for a ticket tonight, but this was the kind of game that I would pay to see.”
After only two goals in its first four matches, the scoring onslaught — relatively speaking — kept Sporting KC (2-0-3) undefeated through five matches.
As for the aforementioned unexpected, this would apply: Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic was the source for the finality of the 98-minute scoreless drought. He scored his first career regular season goal in 157 MLS appearances.
Adding to it, Gerso Fernandes claimed his first goal in a Sporting KC uniform in the 58th minute and striker Dom Dwyer scored his first goal of the year in the 85th minute, each of them the final touches on impressive counterattacks. Colorado broke the shutout with a penalty kick in extra time.
“I had a feeling coming into tonight that I would get one,” Dwyer said. “I needed one.”
The national TV cameras caught Dwyer and Colorado keeper Tim Howard exchanging words during the postgame handshakes. It appeared to be a heated conversation until Vermes approached the two.
Asked about it afterward, Dwyer offered few details, saying, “It was loud. I couldn’t really hear. I went to shake his hand. It happens in (soccer) sometimes. We’re competitive people. It’s a game at the end of the day. So we’ll move on, and we’re happy with three points.”
Dwyer sidestepped a question about who or what prompted the conversation.
He spoke last in the most complete offensive performance of the 2017 season for Sporting KC, which played without Benny Feilhaber, who missed his second straight match because of a hamstring strain.
Sinovic spoke first. While he has scored four times in a Sporting KC uniform, he turned in his first goal in a regular-season outing. He tallied goals in the 2012 and 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals series and has one CONCACAF Champions League goal to his name.
His strike Sunday was perfectly placed, though it didn’t need to be. Howard failed to cleanly field Fernandes’ cross, allowing the ball to deflect to Sinovic, who stared at an open net.
The scoring slump broken, Sporting KC opted for scenic goals after halftime. Fernandes finished off a gorgeous buildup when he beat Howard to the near post, and Dwyer froze Howard on the far post. He punctuated it with a celebratory backflip.
“I wouldn’t say we needed it necessarily, because I think all of us were pretty confident the goals would come,” Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi said. “But it was certainly nice to see them come.”
Sam McDowell: 816-234-4869, @SamMcDowell11
Sporting KC 3, Colorado 1
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi, Ilie Sanchez, Jimmy Medranda, Roger Espinoza, Soony Saad, Gerso Fernandes, Dom Dwyer.
COLORADO: Tim Howard; Mekeil Williams, Jared Watts, Kortne Ford, Eric Miller; Micheal Azira, Bismark Adjei-Boateng, Dominique Badji, Shkelzen Gashi, Marlon Hairston, Kevin Doyle.
Kansas City: Seth Sinovic (unassisted), 6th minute; Gerso Fernandes, (Roger Espinoza, Dom Dwyer) 58th; Dwyer, (Sinovic, Soni Mustivar) 85th.
Colorado: Kevin Doyle, (penalty kick) 94th.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Ilie Sanchez (caution), 38th.
Colorado: Eric Miller (caution), 84th, Jared Watts (caution), 86th.