KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Dom Dwyer scored in the seventh minute and Sporting Kansas City beat D.C. United 1-0 Friday night to move to the top of Major League Soccer's overall points standings.
Jimmy Nielsen needed just one clutch save to record his league-leading 13th shutout for Sporting (16-10-7). Kansas City is two points ahead of New York and Portland, who both play on Saturday.
United (3-23-7) saw their winless streak reach 18 games and need to win their season finale against Houston on Oct. 27 to avoid finishing with the fewest wins in the league's 18 seasons.
After Dwyer's early goal, Jared Jeffrey nearly equalized in the 15th minute for United when he got free for a 1-on-1 at close range. Nielsen held his ground and blocked the shot, preserving the shutout.
Sporting KC release:
First place Sporting KC leads Supporters' Shield race
after 1-0 victory over D.C. United at Sporting Park
Second-year striker Dom Dwyer nets game-winner with goal in seventh minute;
Jimmy Nielsen lowers goals against average to 0.88 in 2013, best mark in MLS;
Nielsen now leads all goalkeepers with 16 victories and 13 shutouts this season
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 18,932 (33rd straight sellout)
Weather: 39 degrees and cloudy
Video: Match Highlights
Score 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (16-10-7, 55 pts) 1 0 1
D.C. United (3-23-7, 16 pts)
0 0 0
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen (c); Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Chance Myers; Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber (Graham Zusi 46), Peterson Joseph (Lawrence Olum 58); C.J. Sapong, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 78), Soony Saad
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Josh Gardner, Teal Bunbury, Jacob Peterson
D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Perry Kitchen, Chris Korb, Dennis Iapichino, Daniel Woolard; Jared Jeffrey, Nick DeLeon (Collin Martin 46), Chris Pontius, Lewis Neal; Conor Doyle (Michael Seaton 80), Luis Silva (Dwayne De Rosario 63)
Subs not used: Conor Shanosky, James Riley, Kyle Porter, Joe Willis
Stats KC DC
Shots 8 6
Shots on Goal 4 1
Saves 1 3
Fouls 13 21
Offside 1 4
DC -- Nick DeLeon (caution; reckless tackle) 29
DC -- Jared Jeffrey (caution; reckless foul) 30
DC -- Perry Kitchen (caution; reckless foul) 39
DC -- Dennis Iapichino (caution; reckless foul) 87
KC -- Soony Saad (caution; delaying a restart) 93+
KC -- Dom Dwyer 2 (unassisted) 7
(October 18, 2013) -- Sporting Kansas City regained first place in the Supporters' Shield race with a 1-0 win over D.C. United on Friday night at Sporting Park. Dom Dwyer scored the game's lone goal as Sporting KC moved two points clear of the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers atop the MLS standings.
Friday's win, in front of a sold-out crowd, also secured one of the top two spots in the Eastern Conference and guaranteed the club home-field advantage in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Sporting KC has one game remaining in the regular season as they look to secure their first Supporters' Shield since 2000.
Dwyer's 7th-minute goal propelled Sporting KC to their League-best 16th win of the season. The play began when Sporting KC midfielder Peterson Joseph forced Perry Kitchen into a harried back pass to goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Dwyer intercepted the ball, took one touch around Hamid and placed the ball calmly into the net. The goal was Dwyer's second in MLS play this season and first since August 3.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made one save on the night en route to his League-leading 13th shutout of the season. In the 15th minute, Nielsen found himself one-on-one with D.C. United midfielder Jared Jeffrey. Nielsen held his ground and forced the U.S. youth international to shoot the ball into his midsection.
Friday's announced crowd of 18,932 was the 33rd consecutive sellout for an MLS match at Sporting Park. Sporting KC has now sold out all 17 regular season home matches in 2013.
Sporting KC will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Honduran club CD Olimpia in their final 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage match. With a win or a draw, Sporting KC will advance out of their group to the quarterfinal round. Sporting KC will conclude the MLS regular season on Saturday, Oct. 26 with a road match against the Philadelphia Union.
With the win, Sporting Kansas City moved two points clear of the pack in the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield races.
The victory also guarantees a top two seed in the Eastern Conference, which assures Sporting KC of home field advantage in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Sporting Kansas City's 16 wins are most in MLS this season. Victories are the first tiebreaker in the regular season standings.
Sporting Kansas City's 1.67 points per game is also best in MLS this season.
Sporting Kansas City's +16 goal differential is tied for the top mark in MLS this year.
Sporting Kansas City has lost only once in the team's last seven MLS matches (5-1-1).
Sporting KC is 228-216-116 all-time and 150-80-50 on the road all-time.
The victory was Sporting Kansas City's 150th regular season home win all time and 500th regular season point at home in team history.
Friday marked the team's regular season home finale. Sporting KC went 9-5-3 at Sporting Park in MLS matches in 2013.
Sporting Kansas City's 29 goals are tied for second most at home this season among MLS clubs and tied for the most in a season at Sporting Park since its opening in 2011.
D.C. United went without a road win in 2013, finishing 0-14-3 away from home.
Friday's attendance was 18,932, continuing the team's streak of 33 consecutive sell-outs at Sporting Park dating back to the 2012 season.
Sporting Park sold out all 17 of their home MLS matches in 2013.
Sporting Kansas City's total attendance for regular season home MLS matches in 2013 is 335,058 -- third best in MLS after Seattle and Los Angeles.
Sporting KC are unbeaten in the team's last seven matches against D.C. United, allowing just two goals in that span. Five of the seven games during the streak have been won 1-0 by Sporting KC.
Sporting KC moves to 20-18-10 against D.C. United all-time and 14-6-5 at home in the series.
Sporting KC went unbeaten against D.C. United this season, winning 1-0 twice and drawing 1-1 once.
Ben Olsen is 0-6-1 all-time as a manager against Sporting KC.
Jimmy Nielsen surpassed Tony Meola on Friday for most regular season minutes played by a goalkeeper in club history (11,407).
Nielsen leads all goalkeepers in club history with 56 wins and 45 shutouts.
His 16 wins and 13 shutouts are most among all MLS goalkeepers in 2013.
His .571 winning percentage in the regular season is also best all-time among KC goalkeepers.
Nielsen has shutouts in each of his last three matches, his first such streak since April. His shutout streak reaches 321 minutes, fifth longest in MLS this season by a goalkeeper.
His 0.88 goals against average is best in MLS this season among goalkeepers with a minimum of 900 minutes played this season.
Sporting Kansas City's 29 goals against this season are the fewest in MLS. Sporting KC has conceded just one second half goal in their last eight MLS games.
Jimmy Nielsen's 0.99 career goals against average is best in MLS history among goalkeepers with a minimum of 700 minutes played.
Nielsen played his 90th complete regular season game on Friday, the second longest streak in MLS history.
Sporting Kansas City leads MLS with 485 shots this season. Sporting KC also leads MLS with 289 shots against and 98 shots on goal against.
Peter Vermes .556 winning percentage is the best for a Sporting KC manager all-time.
With the win, Peter Vermes ties Fernando Clavijo and Schellas Hyndman for 17th most in MLS history (61).
Sporting KC is 12-0-1 when leading at the 75-minute mark in 2013.
Seth Sinovic surpassed 7,000 regular season minutes played in his KC career on Friday and 9,000 minutes played in MLS competition (including postseason).
Seth Sinovic has started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the team's last 15 MLS matches, the longest active games played streak on the team.
Sinovic leads Sporting KC in minutes played (3,043) in all competition this season. Sinovic and Oriol Rosell are tied for most games played (35) and games started (34) in all competition this season.
Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in chances created from set play (84).
Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in duels (3908), duels won (1969), aerials won (690), interceptions (771) and headed clearances (649).
Oriol Rosell leads MLS with 126 interceptions.
Dom Dwyer scored the game-winning goal on Friday. The goal is Dwyer's second in MLS competition.
The goal came in the 7th minute and is tied for third fastest goal at home this season.
D.C. United has allowed 11 goals in the opening 15 minutes of MLS matches this season, most in MLS.
Dom Dwyer now has 25 goals in all competition this season across USL PRO, U.S. Open Cup, MLS and CONCACAF Champions League.
Sporting Kansas City was without All-Star Aurelien Collin on Friday while he served a mandatory one-game suspension for caution accumulation.
Perry Kitchen received a yellow card on Friday. With that caution, Kitchen will miss D.C. United's final match of 2013 against the Houston Dynamo due to caution accumulation.
Sporting Kansas City outshot D.C. United 8-6. The home side is 13-8-5 when outshooting their opponent in 2013.
Sporting KC is 14-8-6 when wearing Sporting Blue.
Sporting Kansas City is 10-9-0 in one-goal games this season.
Sporting Kansas City is 11-1-1 when leading at the half in 2013 and has won eight straight matches when ahead after 45 minutes.
Sporting KC is 14-2-3 when scoring the first goal in 2013 and has won eight straight matches when scoring first in 2013.
D.C. United is 0-19-2 when allowing the first goal in 2013 and 0-14-0 when trailing at halftime.
Sporting Kansas City is 13-6-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in 2013.
Graham Zusi entered the match as a second half substitute after returning to Kansas City from international duty in Panama late Wednesday night. The appearance is Zusi's first off the bench since June 20, 2012.
Graham Zusi leads MLS with 126 corner kicks in 2013.
Matt Besler and Ike Opara led all players on Friday with 10 clearances each.
Oriol Rosell led all players on Friday with 14 possessions gained.
Friday's match was nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network, marking the 14th of 16 nationally televised games for Sporting KC in 2013. The victory was Sporting Kansas City's first in an NBCSN game this season and the team is now 1-4-2 on the channel in 2013.
The last shot on goal in Friday's match came in the 20th minute.
Sporting Kansas City was held without a shot in the second half on Friday. It marked only the third time in 2013 that an MLS team failed to record a shot in the second half.
It also marked only the third time in club history that Sporting KC failed to record a shot in a half and first time since May 5, 2001.
D.C. United committed a season high 21 fouls on Friday. The 21 fouls suffered was also a season high for Sporting KC.
D.C. United midfielder Jared Jeffrey committed a career high six fouls on Friday.
With the shutout, Sporting Kansas City fans can receive 50% off their regular menu price online orders at PapaJohns.com on Saturday or Sunday by using the promo code SPORTINGKC.
Friday's match was sponsored by UMKC. The first 10,000 fans to enter the stadium received Sporting Kansas City tote bags courtesy of UMKC.
Members from the UMKC Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity collected canned foods at each gate at Sporting Park to benefit Harvesters Community Food Network.
Former Kansas City Manager Bob Gansler was inducted into the inaugural class of Sporting Legends at halftime of Friday's match.
Eighteen current Season Ticket Members were randomly selected and matched with a Sporting KC player on the gameday roster to receive the player's game-worn uniform.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As part of an MLS WORKS initiative, Sporting Kansas City players wore pink shoelaces and wristbands. The national anthem was sung by the Biker Chix, a local group influential in the fight against breast cancer.
More than 100 fans were randomly selected to receive a free Sporting KC scarf throughout the match as part of the team's Fan Appreciation Week.
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes
On Sporting KC's 1-0 win over D.C. United...
That was a massive result for us. It's not easy playing anyone in this league, and when you go up against a team that has absolutely nothing to lose at this time of the year, it's never an easy game. There's no doubt this wasn't one of our best performances of the year, but at the end of the day we found a way to win, get three points, and keep the pressure on the other teams. We solidify first or second (in the Eastern Conference), which is huge for us going into the playoffs. From that perspective, it was excellent. Now we have got to get ready for a (CONCACAF) Champions League game on Wednesday.
On Sporting KC's offensive performance...
I don't think this game was as clear-cut as some of the others we've had at home. It's one of those games where we knew it was going to be very difficult. The nice thing was we scored a goal early. It's a great goal from our perspective based on the fact that we've been working on stealing a few balls close to the goal. (Dwyer) did a good job clearing himself of the keeper. Some of the other chances weren't as clear or clean. Why (is that)? We weren't on tonight like we normally are. But like I said, given the fact that we've had many great performances and come up short quite a few times, it's nice to have the opportunity to walk away with something even though you didn't perform as well.
On Jimmy Nielsen's one-on-one save in the first half...
Two games in a row the same thing has happened. (Nielsen) was stellar in (the Houston) game too. That's the kind of save that you respect and want your goalkeeper to keep you in the game. He has the ability to make himself really big. Guys have a difficulty of finding a goal and they usually miss. Credit to him, because that (save) kept our three points.
On Sporting KC's defensive performance...
When it comes down to this time of the year, there are a lot of situations that happen where the ball can fall a different way. Other than that chance in the first half, it wasn't like we gave a ton of stuff away. We were just a little sloppy at times in the game. But in those situations when it mattered, I thought we had good positioning, especially in and around the box. We didn't take too many chances and were able to clear the ball out of our area.
On Sporting KC earning three points despite not playing their best...
We love it when the grass is wet and the ball is moving quickly. It's hard for me to chastise the guys because we have played so many games home and away where our form has been very good and we have come up short. Our concentration now has to be the Champions League. That's a huge, huge goal of ours-to get into the knockout stage (next March).
On playing two crucial games next week-one in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday and the MLS regular season finale on Saturday...
No, (we aren't looking ahead to Philadelphia). It's all about the Champions League now. We have to get ready for that game. That's a huge game for us here at home. We've got to be ready to play. I think it's great because (back-to-back important games) mimics what the playoffs could be like. It keeps us in form because we get a chance to turn around and play again right away. We're also coming off our (international) break here. We need games going into the final push of the season.
Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer
On Sporting KC's 1-0 win over D.C. United...
It was a tough game. We were a little sloppy here and there. We controlled the game, but it still wasn't a great performance. We got the job done, and in a lot of games we've played really well and not got the points we deserved. So we'll take three points all day.
On scoring the game-winning goal in the 7th minute...
It was a good defensive play. We work on high pressing, and (Peterson) Joseph did a great job pressuring the center back. I knew that my job was to close the keeper, so I took a chance. He played it back, and I think the defender saw me coming halfway through his pass. I just took it around (the keeper) and finished it off.
On D.C. United's three yellow cards in the first half...
It doesn't really make a difference to us. We just keep playing our game. As they keep getting yellows, they're going to start being less aggressive. It was just a result that we'll take every day. The stats may say we didn't play well, but we won 1-0. That says three points, so we'll take it.
On his current attacking form...
We have a great team, so I'm always going to get opportunities and chances. When they come I just need to finish them off. Our final ball wasn't quite there tonight and certain things didn't fall our way. But like I said, we got the job done. We'll take this momentum into Wednesday. It's always good to get the ball in the next, but more importantly we won the game.
Sporting KC forward Soony Saad
On Sporting KC's 1-0 win over D.C. United...
We started the game really strong with high pressure, and that's how we got the goal. It was an excellent read from Dom (Dwyer). We kept our foot on the pedal and were creating chances, and then came halftime. We were feeling really good, and then in the second half (D.C. United) applied a little bit more pressure. We kind of sat back a little bit, and it was definitely a tough second half. We had to be sharp attacking and defending. It's results like these that will come in handy in the playoffs.
On Dom Dwyer's game-winning goal in the 7th minute...
It was a very good goal by Dom. The high pressure is something we've been working on all week, and we knew that we could definitely high-press D.C. Like I said, it was a cool read from Dom and a very cool finish. That set the tone for the game.
On the weather conditions...
The weather was pretty cold. We're used to the hot KC nights, but this is what it's going to be in the playoffs. It's good to get our feet when it comes to how the weather is going to be.
On Sporting KC clinching a No. 1 or 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs...
It's huge (being the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs). We want to defend that Eastern Conference regular season title because we've won it the last two years. We'd also like to get our hands on the Supporters' Shield.
Sporting KC defender Ike Opara
On Sporting KC's 1-0 win over D.C. United...
The guys battled well. D.C. was a very good team tonight-they were moving the ball well and got a couple chances on us that we hopefully don't allow going forward. They came out well, but we matched them and got a goal with some great pressure from (Peterson) Joseph that led to it. Dom just had to finish it, and he was due for one. We got the goal and held out.
On Dom Dwyer's game-winning goal in the 7th minute...
We wanted to try and set the tone with some pressure. Really the goal started from (Peterson) Joseph making D.C. play backwards. Then Dom cleaned up the scraps being in the right place at the right time. He had a little work to do getting around Bill (Hamid) and he put it home.
On D.C. United's performance and the weather conditions...
D.C. came here to play, as opposed to a lot of other teams who come here and sit back. Getting that early goal opened things up. The conditions weren't too bad-you just have to get adjusted to the cold again after you're dealing with the heat for so long.
On Sporting KC moving to first place in the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield race...
It's a big deal getting home field advantage. Hopefully we can also take the Supporters' Shield-that's our ultimate goal. We're just going to do what we can and control what we can control. If things go our way, great. If not, we just need to continue to get better as we head into the playoffs.
Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber
On Sporting KC temporarily moving to first place in the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield race...
New York has a game in hand, and so does Real Salt Lake and Portland. But we did everything we could tonight and put ourselves in good position. I don't think it was the greatest game from us playing at home, but three points and putting yourself in a good position going into the playoffs is most important. Now we sit and wait for some of the (league) results tomorrow. Hopefully (our destiny) is in our hands going into Philadelphia (next Saturday).
On Dom Dwyer's game-winning goal...
It was great. (Peterson) Joseph pressed a little bit to cause the turnover and Dom clinically finished. It was great for us to have Dom get that goal. Hopefully he gets on a run for us going into the playoffs. It was important to get that goal early and really close things down the rest of the game.
D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olson
General comments on the match...
For about 15 minutes, we were bullied. We warned the guys that it would be a fast paced, physical opening to the game. I didn't think we had the right bite to us. When we go down a goal, about twenty minutes in, we start getting it. We start understanding this is a man's game. I thought for the rest of the game that we were the better team, but it doesn't matter, it does not matter. When you don't play the full game, a good team like Kansas City, they'll bite you and they'll bite you early.
Team's gameplan going into the road game...
We're trying to get a win. We haven't won a game on the road so we were looking to fix that tonight. But, again it wasn't so. I thought the second half was very good from our group. Very positive, we put some young guys in and I thought we understood what it took in the second half. But, again, hopefully we can learn some of the lessons that we've been given this year and fix them for next year.
Defensive breakdown on the lone goal in the match...
It happens. We've put a lot of stress on our goalkeepers and backs because we're not scoring enough goals. Everyone will talk about Perry's mishap, but over the last couple weeks, we're just not finishing. We're not dangerous enough with the final ball and with the final finish. So we've got to talk a little pressure off our defense and our goalkeeper.
D.C. United forward Michael Seaton
We started off shaky in the first half, but we picked it up. It took Ben to yell at a couple of guys for them to get into the rythem. Second half, I think we dominated only thing was they scored off a mistake and that's been happening the entire year. They scored off that mistake and that results in us losing.
On the mentality going into the match...
The mentality going into the match was to get a point at least. We want to win, we can't settle for a draw or lose. De Ro said it, we want to win this game. Everyone wanted to go into this game with high intensity, but then it didn't happen. It took Ben to yell at us to get into that rhythm.
On finishing the season at home against Houston...
That should be great. The fans have been great this year and I think that can just drive us to actually get a point that game. I think we can win that game, it's the last game and we're going to make it count.
D.C. United forward Luis Silva
On Olson's pregame message...
We are coming into the match with the mentality that we are going to get three points out of here. Even though we're away, we are going to go out there and try hard to get the win.
On the elements...
Both teams have to play in the same conditions. The weather was okay, it was a bit cold but once you start running, you forget about that and focus on the soccer.
On ending the season at home...
It's our last game and it's at home, so we have to end it with a win. We have to leave this game behind and now focus on Houston.
On the team's morale...
We are just trying to get three points and play for ourselves. We know we're a good team. Things haven't been going our way this season, but we know we are capable of beating teams like this. Today we made a mistake in the back that cost us, but I think throughout the game we showed good energy and good chances to score.