Sporting Kansas City Defeats Real Salt Lake 1-0, Moves to 6-0-0 in 2012

Alan HainkelContributor IApril 15, 2012

Sporting KC celebrates Aurelien Collin's 63rd-minute goal.
Sporting KC celebrates Aurelien Collin's 63rd-minute goal.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Defender Aurelien Collin scored the only goal of the game and Jimmy Nielsen posted his third consecutive shutout as Sporting Kansas City defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 last night. It was Sporting KC's third consecutive 1-0 victory.

The standing-room-only crowd of 19,422 at Livestrong Sporting Park also witnessed the 200th win in franchise history. The all-time record now stands at 200-199-100. This makes Sporting KC the fifth team in MLS with 200 wins, joining the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and DC United.

Sporting KC's league-record streak of not allowing a shot on goal ended after a span of 335 minutes. The last shot on goal allowed was Ricardo Villar's 25th-minute goal for FC Dallas on March 25th.

To put this streak into perspective, prior to this season, there were only three games in franchise history where Sporting KC had held a team without a shot on goal.

Sporting KC's shutout streak remains alive, also at 335 minutes.

Real Salt Lake had a streak of their own snapped. Collin's goal ended a shutout streak of 267 minutes. The loss drops RSL to 5-2-0 on the season.

The first chance for Sporting KC came in the eighth minute, when defender Seth Sinovic played a long ball over the top to C.J. Sapong. Sapong appeared to be fouled when Jamison Olave pulled him down just outside the penalty area, but referee Kevin Stott signaled for play to continue.

RSL's Alvaro Saborio was in a potentially dangerous situation in the 20th minute. On a ball headed by Kansas City's Chance Myers, Saborio went up for the ball while Kei Kamara stood next to him and Saborio went up and over Kamara. Saborio landed awkwardly, but appeared to be okay.

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 14:  Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen #1 of Sporting Kansas City makes a save during the Major League Soccer game against  Real Salt Lake on April 14, 2012 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty I
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Despite having only 48.9 percent of the possession in the first half, Sporting KC earned nine corner kicks in the first half, one off of a team record.

It was the ninth corner kick of the half that generated some controversy. Graham Zusi took the corner with Collin and Sapong going up for the ball and Sapong heading it back out. Bobby Convey gathered the ball as Sapong made a run for the back post and Convey served the ball in to Sapong.

Sapong headed the ball into the back of the net, but Stott disallowed the goal. Stott had called a foul on Sapong for pushing off on Olave, but replays showed no contact.

Sporting KC continued to press the attack early in the second half. In the 51st minute, RSL's Will Johnson was booked for pulling down Kamara just outside the penalty area. Zusi took the ensuing free kick and the ball fell to Sapong, who one-timed it, but hit it just wide.

Six minutes later, RSL's Fabian Espindola had what appeared to be a breakaway. Espindola was running down the left wing, but pulled up to wait for help. With a better first touch, he could have been in alone on Nielsen, but tried to get too fancy with it and Sporting KC ended the chance and cleared the ball to safety.

Collin struck on the first corner of the second half. Zusi took the corner and both Kamara and Sapong missed it, but Collin buried it in the back of the net. It was Collin's second goal of the season and Zusi's league-leading sixth assist. The goal was also the team's second from a corner kick this season.

Kamara almost doubled Sporting KC's lead in the 75th minute. Convey's shot was deflected, setting up the team's 11th corner of the match. Zusi served the ball into the penalty area and Kamara got a head on it, but Nick Rimando made an impressive save to keep it a one-goal game.

The Sporting KC shots-on-goal streak ended in the 90th minute. Off of a Kyle Beckerman free kick, Nat Borchers headed it on net, directly into the arms of Nielsen. The assistant referee has his flag up, but Stott overruled him as Nielsen had the ball.

With the shutout, Nielsen moves into a three-way tie on the Sporting KC regular season shutouts list with 22. Nielsen is tied with Kevin Hartman and Bo Oshoniyi. Tony Meola tops the list with 37.

This match was the first of three in eight days for Sporting KC. They travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Wednesday before heading to Portland for a matchup with the Timbers on Saturday. Sporting KC's next home match is May 5th against the Montreal Impact.