Bad weather kept on pushing D.C. United’s visit to Sporting Kansas City back, but it couldn’t stop the visitors from escaping the Midwest with three hard-earned points.
D.C. forward Alhaji Kamara made his MLS debut a memorable one, scoring less than a minute after entering the match to help give D.C. United a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a successful return from injury for D.C. United, stepping back into the starting lineup and posting a shutout in his first match of 2016 after being sidelined by offseason knee surgery. He finished with three saves on Friday, none bigger than a late stop of a Kevin Ellis shot to preserve the shutout.
Sporting Kansas City’s struggles continued, with Friday’s loss giving the club seven defeats in 10 matches, a rut that now has Sporting KC sitting outside the playoff places in the Western Conference despite having played more matches than any other team in the West.
Kamara’s goal provided a well-earned reward for a D.C. side that had trouble actually reaching Kansas City. Severe storms on Thursday forced D.C. to divert to Chicago, delaying the team’s arrival in the Kansas City area until Friday. That led to the kickoff of the match being pushed back 2.5 hours.
After a fairly even, yet sloppy first half, weather became a problem again, as heavy storms led to an hour-long halftime delay.
Sporting KC held the edge in possession, and outshot D.C. United 18-6, but not enough of those shots were dangerous ones on a night when the SKC attack simply didn’t muster enough quality chances.
Peter Vermes’ side was shorthanded, with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi on international duty, and Roger Espinoza suspended, while Benny Feilhaber came off the bench.
The victory pushed D.C. United into a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact. DCU returns to action on Wednesday, at home, against the Seattle Sounders. Sporting KC faces a daunting task on Thursday, with a visit to the LA Galaxy.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Topping off the night with the assist on Alhaji Kamara’s goal, Taylor Kemp was the best player in this match. His lockdown defense kept Dom Dwyer from being a force in front of goal. Kemp and the D.C. United defense weathered the storm to keep Sporting to only two shots on goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Alhaji Kamara‘s 85th minute goal grabbed the win against the odds for D.C. United. He scored in his MLS debut.
MATCH TO FORGET
A trend continued Saturday as Dom Dwyer was cold in front of goal. D.C. United’s defensive strength kept Dwyer drifting away from the middle of the field and made him ineffective for Sporting KC’s attack.