By DAVID GUBALA
Sporting Kansas City completed the impressive climb from last place in the Eastern Conference to first place with their latest victory at Livestrong Park, and the star was a player KC will need to shine if they plan on staying in first place.
Teal Bunbury's sophomore season has been disappointing given the expectations of his second season as a pro, but he showed again on Saturday why he's considered one of the best young players in MLS. Bunbury scored a pair of goals while rookie C.J. Sapong added an insurance tally to lead Sporting KC to a 3-0 win over Houston on Saturday in a match-up of teams locked in a title playoff battle.
The victory moved Sporting KC into a tie for first place with suddenly struggling Columbus, though the Crew have a game in hand. Houston's latest road loss has the Dynamo in 9th place in the playoff standings, but perilously close to falling out a playoff spot.
Dynamo goalkeeper Terry Hall was given quite a test in the early stages of the game. Omar Bravo and Jeferson both managed to find enough space to give ago at Hall, however the efforts were a little less than desired.
Sporting KC opened the scoring when Graham Zusi perfectly picked out a streaking Bunbury, who beat defender Ande Hainault before sending his shot past Tally Hall in the 9th minute.
Houston came closest to equalizing in the 30th minute when Brad Davis picked out Carlo Costly with a perfect pass only to see Costly's far-post shot hit the post.
Costly's night only got worse as he drew a straight red card in the 64th minute for a vicious tackle on Chance Myers that left Houston a man down against a dangerous KC attack.
Playing down a man, The Dynamo found it difficult to press for an equalizer against the home side. In the 73rd minute, a familiar face struck again. Julio Cesar played a defense-splitting ball that once again picked out Bunbury. The recent U.S. national team call-up finished his night with a left-footed shot past Hall to double the lead.
KC made it 3-0 when Zusi again played a picture-perfect ball into space for second-half sub Kei Kamara. Kamara then did well to pick out C.J. Sapong at the top ofthe six-yard box. The rookie slotted it home to make it 3-0.
Sporting KC will face a tough test next week as they take on a strong Real Salt Lake side on the road while Houston must face first-place Columbus in a mid-week tilt.