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Drilling down on: at Chivas USA 0, Sporting Kansas City 1

New England Revolution v Sporting Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, KS - MARCH 17: Graham Zusi #8 and Seth Sinovic #16 of the Sporting Kansas City Celebrate a goal by C.J. Sapong during a game against the New England Revolution in the second half at Livestrong Sporting Park on March 17, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. Sporting won 3-0. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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Man of the match: Leave it to Graham Zusi. The man who’s asserting himself as MLS’s best at his position saved this one, taking it upon himself (early in the second half) to create the game’s only goal. Surging towards the edge of Chivas USA’s area, Zusi unleashed a rocket that cracked the crossbar, the rebound leaving all but Zusi confused as to where the shot had gone. When the ball finally descended, Zusi headed down and across for C.J. Sapong, the KC No.9 given an easy offering for Sunday’s winner.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Chivas USA made a change from the 4-3-3 they used last week in knocking off Real Salt Lake to a 4-1-3-2, a change that allowed the face-masked Alejandro Moreno to return to the team. The shift should have allowed KC’s three-man midfield of Zusi, Roger Espinoza and Julio Cesar to dominate Nick LaBrocca (again, miscast) and Oswaldo Minoa. That didn’t happen; hence, the close scoreline.
  • Part of the reason Chivas USA kept it close was an early adjustment made by coach Robin Fraser. Within the first 10 minutes, he swapped normal-right wing Ryan Smith with normal left-sider Laurent Courtois. The reasoning? Asking Courtois to deal with Sporting right back Chance Myers was begging for disaster. Smith had the wheels to deal with KC’s speedy fullback, neutralizing KC’s ability to have right-forward Kei Kamara pinch in while allowing Myers to fill that space.
  • Bobby Convey put in another anonymous shift, something that’s not necessarily his fault. He’s completely miscast as a wide attacker in KC’s 4-2-3-1, whether it be on the left (where he started) or the right (where he temporarily moved, switching with Kamara).
  • Edvin Jurisevic had the right idea. Instead of spraying a straight line 10 yards from the ball, the referee sprayed an arc to distance the wall from a mid-match restart. After all, the dead ball spot just the center of a circle with a radius of 10 yards. However, Jurisevic drew is arc the wrong way. Instead of drawing an arc with ends pointed toward the spot, he inverted it - as if it were part for a semi-circle around a ball 20 yards from the spot.
  • No April Fool’s: With the win, Kansas City is off to their first 4-0-0 start in history and sit atop the league entering April.