(Kansas City, Mo.) - Sporting Kansas City earned a 1-0 victory in the 2011 MLS Reserve League on Monday, defeating the Colorado Rapids on a goal by striker Soony Saad in the game's third minute.
The rookie, who led the NCAA in goal-scoring as a freshman at Michigan last season, collected a pass from Teal Bunbury at the top of the penalty area and fired his shot to the right of Colorado goalkeeper Steward Ceus to give the home side the early advantage.
Sporting Kansas City nearly doubled their lead in the 12th minute as Bunbury beat Ceus to a cross from outside back Chance Myers, but the Sporting KC striker directed his header narrowly over the crossbar.
Colorado responded with a pair of scoring opportunities as Macoumba Kandji - who was playing against MLS competition for the first time since last November after recovering from ACL surgery - laid a pass back for Andre Akpan, but his shot was blocked in the 21st minute. Then in the 38th minute, Kandji's free kick from the left side was spilled by Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg but his defense was alert to clear the ball out of danger.
Both sides continued to exchange chances in a second half that was interrupted by a 30-minute weather delay at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park in the game's 67th minute.
Sporting KC academy product Kevin Ellis sent a shot wide of the upper corner in the 50th minute, while five minutes later Colorado trialist Ben Gill forced a diving save from Kronberg with an attempt from 30 yards out.
Following the stoppage in play, Colorado controlled the game's final 25 minutes while pressing forward for an equalizer. After Rapids striker Quincy Amarikwa fired over the crossbar in the 70th minute, Colorado looked to have broken through one minute later but Akpan was ruled offside upon receiving a through ball from Joseph Nane and the ensuing goal was disallowed.
Though the Rapids continued to threaten, including a shot that rolled wide by Gill in the 76th minute, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg recorded his second shutout in the Reserve League and seventh of the season in all competition.
Sporting Kansas City improves to 2-2-2 in the MLS Reserve League this season, while the Rapids fall to 0-4-1 in the Central/Mountain Division. Both teams will resume the MLS Reserve League on August 28th, as Sporting Kansas City hosts FC Dallas, while the Rapids will travel to face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
KC -- Soony Saad 1 (Teal Bunbury 1) 3
COL -- Macoumba Kandji (Caution; Dissent) 16
KC -- Daneil Cyrus (Caution; Reckless Foul) 40
KC -- Kevin Ellis (Caution; Unsporting Behavior) 61
Sporting Kansas City -- Eric Kronberg; Korede Aiyegbusi, Nick Cardenas*, Daneil Cyrus (Clay Stewart** 89), Chance Myers; Craig Rocastle (Trialist 1* 46), Peterson Joseph*, Soony Saad; Kevin Ellis, Teal Bunbury (Joey Piatczyc** 83), Milos Stojcev
Colorado Rapids -- Steward Ceus; Danny Earls, Scott Palguta, Michael Holody, Andy Holdsworth*; Ben Gill*, Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex; Macoumba Kandi (Josh Janniere 78), Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa
*Guest Trialist; **Academy Player
Referee: Jason Rector; Assistant Referees: Saul Gonzalez, Kyle Atkins