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Sporting KC, Fire play to scoreless draw in LIVESTRONG Park opener

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Sporting Kansas City was out to show that on this night of nights, there indeed was no place like home. In Kansas, at the 10th and newest soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer.

It didn't quite work out the way the club hoped. But give the two Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers a little credit for a fairly entertaining match, as Sporting KC christened its new home, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, with a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire Thursday night in Kansas.

There were some moments for the standing-room only crowd of 19,925, which included a number of Fire supporters. The most controversial came late in the match, when Omar Bravo was upended with a tackle in the 85th minute by Chicago's Bratislav Ristic, but referee Michael Kennedy didn't point to the spot. As the crowd booed, Bravo lay on the grass holding his lower back and was taken off on a stretcher but returned to action.

After Sporting KC had the better of the chances over the first eight minutes, Chicago's Corben Bone got the ball after KC had broken up a 3-on-1 rush by the Fire. Bone switched the ball to his right foot and shot, but KC's Jimmy Nielsen came up with the first of his four saves.

In the 15th minute, SKC's Graham Zusi was flagged for offside on a sliding cross from Kei Kamara. Zusi gathered it in and scored but the goal didn't count. 

The crowd was into it from the start, the supporters in the Cauldron happy to see their team back home after the longest road trip in MLS history, 10 games. Someone's winless streak was bound to end.

It almost happened, but even after 99 minutes of soccer, nothing was decided.

Nielsen stopped a header from the Fire's Cristian Nazarit in the 31st minute, and 11 minutes later saved an attempt by Dominic Oduro. Sporting KC had one last good chance before halftime, but Bravo couldn't get a good foot on a pass from Zusi.

Kamara was replaced in the 59th minute by rookie C.J. Sapong, who made an impact on the match offensively. Sapong was involved in a number of chances.

The game appeared to have turned in the 67th minute. Nielsen was issued a red card for a deliberate use of hands outside the 18-yard box, getting his hands up to stop Oduro, who'd flown past two defenders as the ball came down. Nielsen was sent off, replaced by Eric Kronberg, and Teal Bunbury was sacrificed to leave KC at 10 men.

The ensuing free kick by the Fire seemed to epitomize its season. A simple shot into the wall of defenders that rolled away harmlessly. 

The Fire's best sub was Orr Barouch, who could have given his team a much-needed three points if not for the woodwork in the 80th minute. Kronberg stopped a shot by midfielder Dan Paladini, but the rebound came out to Barouch, whose redirect glanced off the crossbar and downward, not over the goal line.

Even the extra nine minutes of stoppage time couldn't help settle things with a winner. The draw meant Chicago (1-4-8, 11 points) and Sporting KC (1-6-4, seven points) will keep their places as the bottom two teams in the East standings for another week. 


  1. not at all…SKC has a lot of talent that isn’t being utilized correctly. It looked like preparation was lacking. Vermes has been doing an awful job

  2. Kansas City is in both Missouri (more well known) and Kansas.

    BUT Livestrong Sporting Park is in Kansas, not Missouri.

  3. Not a STL fan at all. Don’t live anywhere near that area. Just think they would be much better for the league and KC had to give away 200 free tickets.

  4. Agreed but Jose shouldn’t the 1st two lines of the story be ditched since Kansas City is Missouri and has nothing to do w/ the State Kansas other than that it is next door?


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