BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Benny Feilhaber hadn't started in six games, but all he needed was six minutes to register his first goal of the season.
Graham Zusi added to the Chicago Fire's (6-8-3, 21 points) misery just two minutes later, and that would be all visiting Sporting Kansas City (8-5-6, 30 points) needed to hold on for 2-1 win that tied them with Montreal atop the Eastern Conference.
Feilhaber's goal came after Kei Kamara flicked on a Chance Meyers shot with his heel to keep the ball in a dangerous area around Chicago's 18-yard box. Feilhaber won the race to the ball then volleyed a shot past Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, who is filling in for USMNT call-up Sean Johnson, that hit the post and went in.
It didn't take long for Graham Zusi to add another as he collected a pass from Seth Sinovic well outside the left corner of the penalty area and curled a shot --or perhaps an over-hit cross -- over Tornaghi and into the upper corner.
With the deficit forcing their hand, the Fire began to show more attacking initiative as the half wore on. They pulled one back in the 38th minute, when Jeff Larentowicz won a header near the center circle, which bounced all the way through to Mike Magee, who was through on goal and calmly placed a shot past Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
On the first play of the second half, Chris Rolfe almost equalized after he received a through pass from Mike Magee, but he cut the ball back and put his shot wide.
Claudio Bieler could have put the visitors up two in the 52nd minute when he settled a cross from Chance Myers inside the penalty area, but he struck his shot well over the bar.
Chicago had one final opportunity to equalize through Dilly Duka in the 87th minute, but he couldn't make full contact with the ball on an open shot at the top of the penalty area.
Kansas City extended their unbeaten streak to four games and propelled themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference, at least until Montreal plays on Sunday night. They'll host Toronto FC on Saturday.
The loss ended Chicago's nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions and kept them in seventh place in the East. The Fire will attempt to begin a new streak when they head to Vancouver on Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Graham Zusi||So what if it was supposed to be a cross until the wind caught it? It still counted, and Zusi was everywhere on the day.|
|2||Mike Magee||Another game, another goal (on a perfectly timed break). Magee just keeps producing in Chicago.|
|3||Seth Sinovic||Came back from a hamstring tweak -- and a costly blunder in his last game -- with a strong performance.|