Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Paulo Nagamura's second-half strike held up as the winner on Sunday as Sporting Kansas City claimed a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at Sporting Park.
Meeting for the first and only time this season and interconference rivals, both sides entered the match in decent form as Chicago was aiming for a fourth straight win, while Sporting was on the hunt for three points following a 4-4 draw with Houston last time out.
The match was wide open for almost the entire first half as both sides had excellent looks at goal. The best chance of the first half came for the home side in the 29th minute.
Benny Feilhaber did well to send a well-struck free kick into the penalty area where defender Kevin Ellis got his head to it, but it smashed the crossbar and stayed out as the sides remained deadlocked at the intermission.
Things got a bit physical in the second half, but the chances continued to pour in and Sporting snared the only goal with 15 minutes to play.
U.S. international Graham Zusi got the scoring play started when he fed the ball out wide to the right to an over-lapping Jalil Anibaba. Anibaba struck an excellent cross into the area where Nagamura was free to nod it into the bottom right corner of the net, leaving Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson with little chance.
Chicago manager Frank Yallop sent forward Quincy Amarikwa into the fold late on in hopes of finding a late equalizer, but Fire forward David Accam was sent off in the final minute of normal time and the Sporting KC defense held out through four minutes of added time to take all three points.