KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kei Kamara put two balls in the net, which should have been good news for Sporting Kansas City. Unfortunately for the home side, he put one in each team’s goal.
Consequently, Sporting lost ground in the Supporters Shield race and failed to widen their Eastern Conference lead over New York after Sunday night’s 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Sporting (14-7-5) had a three-match league winning streak broken and now trail San Jose by three points in the Shield race. New York (13-7-6), who had their gift equalizer half an hour before they managed their first shot, stayed two points back of Kansas City in the East. All three teams have eight matches to play.
Also troubling for Sporting: In-form striker Teal Bunbury, who assisted on Kamara’s 4th-minute goal and had early success running at the heart of the Red Bulls’ back line, had to leave after 14 minutes with a sprained left knee.
Bunbury’s heads-up play, and a bad decision by RBNY ’keeper Bill Gaudette, set up Kamara’s score.
Graham Zusi lofted a ball over the top from midfield, and Bunbury chipped it over center back Markus Holgersson as Gaudette rushed toward the edge of the area. Kamara outjumped Connor Lade and headed the ball into an empty net.
Bunbury took a knock in the collision with Holgersson, though, and had to be lifted for C.J. Sapong 10 minutes later. Still, Sporting were in the driver’s seat for three crucial points until Kamara’s own goal in the 28th minute.
Sebastien LeToux lofted a long free kick from the left flank toward Tim Cahill on the back post. Sporting ’keeper Jimmy Nielsen didn’t come out to challenge for the ball, and Kamara’s attempt to head it away instead found Sporting’s net.
Kamara almost atoned for the gaffe in the 80th minute, but his drive after a free-kick tap from Zusi went just inches to the left.
New York, who left All-Star striker Thierry Henry home to welcome his newborn son, were held without a shot on goal and didn’t manage a shot at all until Cahill got off a soft header two minutes before the hour mark.
The Red Bulls nearly pulled off a successful counterattack late in second-half stoppage time, but Dax McCarty stumbled in the penalty area and Seth Sinovic cleared the ball out of danger.
The Red Bulls are at D.C. United on Wednesday, while Sporting will host Toronto on Saturday with center back Aurelien Collin suspended for yellow card accumulation.