It's early in the season and some of the top teams in the MLS are without their top players, but Sporting Kansas City look like the best team in the league at present. Luis Gil is having a good year for Real Salt Lake, but they missed Javier Morales on Saturday night. Sporting controlled the first hour of the match and defended well at the end, holding on for a 1-0 win over RSL.
Sporting had a goal disallowed just before the halftime whistle after controlling play for the entire first half. C.J. Sapong rose up over Jamison Olave to win a header and put it off the underside of the crossbar and over the line, but referee Kevin Stott disallowed the goal for a foul on Sapong. On the replay, there was very little contact between Sapong and Olave, and it was difficult to see what Stott thought constituted a foul.
Even though Kansas City controlled the game, Olave and his partner Nat Borchers were excellent in defense and shut off every half-chance that their opponents created from open play. Kansas City needed a set piece to take the lead, and Aurélien Collin was the man who scored their winner in the 63rd minute. On a corner kick, Borchers and Olave stuck with Sapong and Kei Kamara, but RSL center forward Alvaro Saborio fell asleep and completely lost Collin. He was left with a free header at the far post to put his team ahead.
From then until the end of the game, Sporting's press was not as aggressive and RSL had much more possession, but they were unable to create clear-cut chances. Defensive midfielder Julio Cesar had to come out of the game with an injury, but Paulo Nagamura deputized well. Nothing got through Collin and Matt Besler in the closing minutes, as Kansas City held on for all three points.