Photo by ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
For 88 minutes, Sporting Kansas City heaped pressure on D.C. United. And for 88 minutes, the visitors were able to weather the storm.
But in the 89th minute, Claudio Bieler seized his opportunity.
As substitute Soony Saad darted into the box from the left flank, Bieler made his run, beating Daniel Woolard to Saad’s centering feed and finishing past Bill Hamid to give Kansas City the 1-0 win Friday.
United found out teams that defend chance after chance must deal with fatigue that grows physically and mentally. When Marcos Sanchez slipped up late, hitting a poor back pass that Saad intercepted, Kansas City made him pay.
Sporting improved to 3-1-2 with the triumph, while United dropped to 1-3-1. Against Kansas City all time, coach Ben Olsen now possesses an 0-5-0 mark.
Although Sporting enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession in the first half, they didn’t produce any opportunity better than Bieler’s early header wide off a Matt Besler throw-in.
It was actually United who nearly grabbed the opener just before halftime. Bringing down Perry Kitchen’s lofted ball into the box, Lionard Pajoy cut inside, evaded defenders and freed himself for a point-blank shot — that he yanked wide.
As the second half wore on, United began living dangerously. Hamid needed a commanding punch to clear Paulo Nagamura’s blistering cross. Benny Feilhaber fired just wide after a nice build-up. Graham Zusi’s long-distance bid flew over.
But just when it appeared United would escape with their second scoreless draw on the road this season, Bieler stepped up.
Here are the match highlights: