Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong has rediscovered his scoring touch.
Better late than never.
Sapong notched the first multigoal game of his career Saturday, lifting Sporting Kansas City to a 2-1 road victory against Toronto FC at a soggy BMO Field. Sporting KC side-stepped a heavy rain to match a season-best three-game winning streak, pulling the club even with New York atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
A resurgent Sapong is the man to credit. After recording only one goal in the club's first 28 games, Sapong has three in the past two.
And a Sapong goal usually — well, always — spells good news for Sporting KC. The team improved to 16-0-2 when Sapong scores. Make it 1-0 when he nets two.
His teammates made the two Saturday particularly easy.
With the a wet field playing unpredictably, Sporting KC elected to play through the air instead.
It opened the scoring in the 18th minute on a beautiful sequence through the air. Graham Zusi started the scoring play with a long crossing pass that found Dom Dwyer, and he cushioned a header to an unmarked Sapong, who headed it past Toronto FC keeper Joseph Bendik. Zusi was credited with a secondary assist, his team-best seventh of the season.
Sapong collected his second goal of the afternoon — and fourth of the year — on another header. This time, the pass came from Chance Myers, who returned to action from a left groin strain. Sapong snuck through a Toronto FC defensive line that fell asleep on the play and sent his diving header into the back of the net.
That served as the game-winning goal after Toronto midfielder Darel Russell capitalized on a Sporting KC mistake to knot the score late in the first half. Sporting KC goalie Jimmy Nielsen slid an uncontested pass to Aurelien Collin, who was unable to control the ball. Toronto midfielder Alvaro Rey took possession and tapped a pass to Russell, who fired a low liner to freeze Nielsen in goal.
From there, Sporting KC limped into the halftime locker room, needing Jacob Peterson to clear a potential go-ahead goal off the line to preserve a halftime tie.
The club came out with a renewed energy in the second half and collected three much-needed points as a three-team battle for first place continues in the Eastern Conference.
It was a miserable second half for Toronto, compounded when Steven Caldwell was sent off with a red card in the 82nd minute after taking out Josh Gardner.
Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen was sent off in extra time.