MLS: Kei Kamara, Sporting KC Defeat Columbus Crew, Move into First Place

Alan Hainkel@@fntncitysoccerContributor ISeptember 29, 2011

Kei Kamara scores on a penalty kick against the Columbus Crew.
Kei Kamara scores on a penalty kick against the Columbus Crew.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Sporting Kansas City team captain Davy Arnaud made a triumphant return to the starting lineup in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. With the win, Kansas City moved into first place in the Eastern Conference, jumping in front of the Houston Dynamo.

Arnaud made his 237th appearance for the team, tying assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for the club record for games played. Zavagnin retired after the 2008 season and has been part of the coaching staff since then.

Sporting KC (11-9-11, 44 pts.) jumped on the scoreboard in the 15th minute. Forward C.J. Sapong was brought down in the penalty area by defender Chad Marshall. Referee Hilario Grajeda did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. Kei Kamara stepped up and put the ball into the lower left of the net, with goalkeeper Will Hesmer going the opposite way.

Columbus (11-12-8, 41 pts.) equalized in the 35th minute. Robbie Rogers stole the ball near midfield and fed forward Emilio Renteria, who fired it past Jimmy Nielsen on Nielsen's right.

Kansas City recaptured the lead in the 74th minute. Defender Matt Besler put a long throw-in into the penalty area where Columbus' Julius James headed it into his own net.

Kansas City, a team that has had a hard time closing out games, played tight defense down the stretch, subbing out two midfielders for defenders after retaking the lead.

Kansas City's first chance of the game came in the sixth minute. Defender Aurelien Collin flicked the ball forward to Omar Bravo. Bravo juggled it once and shot, but Hesmer made the save with his shoulder.

12 minutes later, Columbus defender Sebastian Miranda crossed the ball into the box and midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo almost got onto the end of it, but it bounced over the endline for a goal kick.

Kansas City almost took the lead back in the 56th minute on a shot by Chance Myers, but the shot was deflected and hit the post, going out for a corner kick.

Kansas City will be back in action on Saturday, October 1st, when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium at 10:30pm ET.

Columbus will attempt to snap their six-match winless streak when they host DC United at 4:00pm ET.