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Fire come away with draw at Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire settled for a 1-1 draw in front of a sell-out crowd on a steamy Sunday afternoon at Sporting Park.

Sporting KC dominated every statistical category except the one that mattered most. Sporting held possession 67 percent of the time and outshot their visitors 19-6, including a 9-4 edge in shots on goal. But both teams took away 1 point, denying SKC a chance to move into a first-place tie with DC United at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Fire have four draws in their last five games.

Forward C.J. Sapong had a chance to give SKC the lead at the beginning of stoppage time but Fire  keeper Sean Johnson was able to deflect his shot in the box. On the final opportunity of the match, forward Graham Zusi drove into the box and passed the ball to defender Aurelien Collin, whose shot went wide right.

Sporting Kansas City dominated possession in the second half, but could not get a goal past Johnson. Even the addition of Zusi, fresh from action in the World Cup for Team USA, in the 61st minute could not provide a clinching goal.

Forward Dom Dwyer gave Sporting a 1-0 with a point-blank shot past Johnson in the 33rd minute. Dwyer stole a crossing pass deep in enemy territory and had only Johnson between him and the goal. He took advantage, firing the shot to Johnson's right.

But the Fire answered just seven minutes later. Forward Mike Magee took a pass from midfielder Alex and squeezed it between goalie Eric Kronberg and the left post.

Both teams had other opportunities in the first half, but the Fire missed on two great chances.

In the second minute, Magee broke away down the left side and juked Kronberg in the box. But Collin swept it off the goal line. Dwyer had a chance to put SKC in front midway through the first half, but his attempt at a bicycle kick went straight to Johnson.

In the 31st minute, Magee had a one-on-one duel with Kronberg, but his shot caromed off the right post.

NOTES: Sporting Kansas City welcomed back U.S. National Team members Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. Besler did not suit up, while Zusi entered the game in the second half. ... Besler started all four games for the U.S. squad in World Cup play. Zusi played in all four games, picking up assists in the victory over Ghana in the first match and the draw against Portugal. ... It marked the first time since 2002 that two players from the same MLS club played for the U.S. in a World Cup match. ... The 20,858 in attendance marked the 45th straight sellout in Sporting Park and the largest home crowd of the year.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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