By TATE STEINLAGE
Sporting Kansas City badly needed a win Friday to snap their worst skid in three years. Dom Dwyer delivered with a record-setting goal, lifting his team to a 4-0 victory over Chivas USA.
Dwyer broke Preki’s club record for goals in a season in the 40th minute. It was the forward’s 19th goal of the season and his third in four matches. Dwyer is now ninth on the club’s all-time scoring list, a record currently held by Preki as well.
“Obviously I’m delighted,” Dwyer said in a telephone interview. “It’s something I had my sights on. It’s important that we won the game and we’re back to our winning ways, where we want to be, but I’m happy to break it. It’s something I want to break myself in future time. It’s nice that it’s out of the way, and we can focus on winning games and stop talking about it for a little while.”
Benny Feilhaber doubled Sporting KC’s lead later in first-half stoppage time. Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler added the third and fourth goals in a one-sided second half.
The result snaps a four-game losing streak and gives Sporting KC (13-10-6) a six-point cushion over the New England Revolution for third in MLS Eastern Conference. Chivas USA (6-16-6) fall to 3-9-2 at home and remain last the Western Conference.
“I thought the guys did all the things they needed to do in game,” manager Peter Vermes said. “I thought our pressure was excellent and it was in the whole group, it wasn’t just from a couple guys. I thought our approach was good and that it was a collective effort.”
Despite the end result, Chivas USA looked poise to challenge Sporting KC early. Then, in the 40th minute Zusi lofted a pass to Dwyer to set up the opening goal. The 24-year old fought off Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and connected on the half-volley to put Sporting KC up 1-0.
Feilhaber made it 2-0 seven minutes later. An excellent passing sequence led to a Dovale shot off the post and an excellent rebound from Feilhaber, aided by a perfectly-timed secondary run into the box.
Vermes told his players to keep the pedal down and Chivas’ chances limited.
“When we came into halftime I said, ‘Look, right now we won the first half 2-0 but the most important thing is that we don’t give up any goals,” Vermes said. ” ‘We all have to understand that we can’t give up any goals.’ I thought they did a good job.”
His team responded. Zusi and Bieler added goals in the 52nd and 87th minute to stretch the lead to 4-0, while the defense did more than enough to earn its eighth shutout.
Nigel Reo-Coker provided Chivas with its best chance in the game following Zusi’s goal, but his effort went well wide of the post and goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. The Chivas midfielder was productive throughout the match but could not stop the league’s second-worst team from avoiding their fifth straight loss and ninth in 10 matches.
“Any game that we win is great,” Vermes said, “but I like the fact that we got a clean sheet though as well. But I also like the fact that we got a clean sheet because of the way that we were swarming all over the ball. They didn’t have any time on the ball and that was important to us. I thought the guys did a really, really good job of that.”
Sporting KC will now switch their attention to CONCACAF Champions League action ahead of a home meeting with Saprissa on Thursday.
Chivas USA will attempt to stop the bleeding next Sunday on the road against Toronto FC.