Fire, Sporting Kansas City play to a draw

Fire, Sporting Kansas City play to a draw
July 6, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Soccerly.com

Sporting Kansas City reached the half-way point of the 2014 MLS season on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire at Sporting Park. In front of the team's largest crowd of the season and 45th straight MLS sellout, forward Dom Dwyer scored his 12th goal of the season before Mike Magee equalized for Chicago seven minutes later to split the points.

With the draw, Sporting Kansas City sits two points back of D.C. United for first place in the Eastern Conference after 17 of 34 regular season matches. Prior to Sunday's nationally televised match on ESPN, Sporting Kansas City welcomed back Matt Besler and Graham Zusi following their participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the U.S. Men's National Team.

The visiting Fire nearly took an early lead when Magee intercepted a pass from Kevin Ellis inside Chicago's attacking third less than 90 seconds into the match. Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg came off his line and stood his ground while Aurelien Collin recovered to clear the shot inside the six-yard box.

Chicago saw another shot cleared in front of the goalline in the 5th minute as Patrick Ianni's header off a Harrison Shipp corner kick was turned away alertly by Dwyer.

Sporting Kansas City's first serious foray forward came in the 12th minute as Benny Feilhaber shrugged off a challenge from Logan Pause and picked out Soony Saad in the central channel. Saad struck his shot first time from 22 yards out, forcing Sean Johnson into a low save to his left.

Ten minutes later, Saad collected a poor clearance from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and fed Dwyer to set up an acrobatic scissors attempt that was saved by Johnson at the near post. Dwyer led all players on Sunday with five shots and three shots on goal.

Magee, a 21 goal scorer in 2013, threatened again in the 31st minute on Sunday. Receiving a ball behind the Sporting KC backline from Homegrown Player Chris Ritter, Magee struck a left-footed shot that deflected off the far post and back into play.

Dwyer then struck for the game's opening goal on the opposite end of the field, dispossessing Ianni and calmly slotting his shot past Johnson for his 12th goal of the season before capturing a celebratory selfie along with Soony Saad and South Stand supporters. The third-year pro moves into a tie with Erick Torres for the second most goals scored in MLS this season and now ranks third on the club's all-time single-season goals scored chart.