Toronto, ON – Robert Earnshaw produced a first-half brace in just his second MLS match, helping Toronto FC pick up an impressive 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
Earnshaw's double snapped a 15-game winless run in league play for the Canadian club. Toronto's last MLS victory came on July 18, 2012 when it defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, at BMO Field.
Claudio Bieler pulled back a consolation goal in the second half, but it was not enough to see Sporting salvage a point.
Both sides are 1-1-0 through their first two league matches of 2013, leaving them tied on three points apiece.
After logging 85 minutes in his TFC debut against Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend, it took Earnshaw just three minutes into his second appearance to open his MLS scoring account. The Welshman capitalized on a misplaced pass from Sporting's defensive unit in the third minute to slip a low shot past Jimmy Nielsen.
Toronto went two goals up in the 21st minute when John Bostock, the club's newest loan acquisition, was tripped up in the box by Sporting's Paulo Nagamura. Earnshaw stepped up to convert the ensuing attempt and give the home side a two-goal edge.
Sporting pushed for an equalizer in the second half and came close just after the hour mark when C.J. Sapong's header rattled back off the crossbar.
The visitors eventually cut the deficit in half thanks to some direct play in the 77th minute. Nielsen long ball was nodded on by Sapong and Bieler slotted a quick shot past Joe Bendik for his second goal in as many MLS games.
Bendik and the Toronto defense combined to stave off some late pressure from Sporting, helping Ryan Nelsen secure his first victory as an MLS head coach.