The LA Galaxy are not the team they were at the end of last season, but today's performance still will keep Sporting Kansas City happy. For the second straight week, Sporting KC didn't allow a shot on target and took their best chance clinically to post a 1-0 victory. Kei Kamara scored in the 40th minute on a header across goal off Bobby Convey's cross, and despite several more chances for Sporting the scoring ended there.
This didn't seem to be the way the game was going to go, as Mike Magee had the first golden opportunity of the match in the 6th minute.shooting across the goal's face but putting it just wide. After that moment, the game was all Sporting. In addition to not ever getting a shot on frame, LA didn't garner a corner until the 62nd minute, and their third best shot could have be seen as a pass. Magee would come close again in the 44th minute from range, but it went safely away for a goal kick.
For the Sporting KC offense, the game was dominated in the middle and not quite finished in the final third. Sporting KC again peppered the goal with shots, but Josh Saunders was up to the task. Sporting's first open chance came from Chance Myers who took a one-time shot with his left foot that Saunders poked away from the bottom corner. They would get on the board in the 40th minute. Roger Espinoza laid the ball off to Bobby Convey on the right flank, and Convey cut inside waiting for the cross to come open. With so much attention being paid to CJ Sapong in the middle, Sean Franklin lost Kamara on the left edge of the six yard box and Convey hit him for a free header. Kamara didn't waste it, taking the shot to the far post out of Saunder's reach. At the end of the first half the numbers told the story, five shots on goal, five corners, one goal, and 68% possession.
The second half was a more dull affair. Sporting had several more chances and LA few, but the possession balanced out and Sporting defended deeper and counter-attacked. Kamara almost got LA again in the 55th minute, but went near post on a breakaway giving Saunders an easy save. LA's best chance of the half came on a misplay by Matt Besler, but Chad Barrett's shot seemed unsure and drifted well wide of the post. Teal Bunbury, a late sub for Sapong would get the last chance on a breakaway well into stoppage time, but Saunders parried away his attempt to lob the keeper.
The results of the match couldn't be clearer. Sporting KC continued it's unbeaten start, moving to 5-0-0 atop the Eastern Conference. LA Galaxy stayed at 1-4-0 at the bottom of the West. It may be too easy for a passing of the torch, but compared to the last two games Sporting KC was brilliant in midfield. The choppy play of the last two games was replaced by smooth ball movement and dribbling, and the results were seen in possession and attempts advantages against a team who are not exactly what their record entails.
This sets up what may be the most anticipated matchup of the early season between the frontrunners of each conference as Real Salt Lake comes to Livestrong Sporting Park next Saturday night. Whereas the early season competition has been scoffed at, and may still be if you judge LA by their record, there is no denying that RSL and Sporting KC are the cream of the crop at the moment.