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Highlights and context: Sporting Kansas City impress at New York

Sporting Kansas City v New York Red Bulls

HARRISON, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: C.J. Sapong #17 of Sporting KC moves the ball infront of Markus Holgersson #5 of New York Red Bulls during their match at Red Bull Arena on September 19, 2012 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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That scary version of Sporting Kansas City - the one that had us thinking “title contender” at the season’s onset - may be back.

That’s not to say they haven’t been a title contender all along. Steve’s got them at number two in his Power Rankings, and they’ve been at the top of the East most of the season. It’s kind of hard to avoid picturing them at MLS Cup ... hosting MLS Cup ... maybe raising MLS Cup.

The feeling’s been different since they came back to earth. Sporting’s lost the aura they had during that torrid start, and we’ve been distracted by New York, Houston, and Chicago.

But tonight, with two early goals at Red Bull Arena, Sporting got our attention. For one night, that title contending form was definitely back. And the key to that form: Get a goal and rely on that suffocating defense.

Tonight, the goals came for set pieces. Kansas City took advantage of a confused Red Bull defense (and Heath Pearce keeping half the team onside) for their first, while Kei Kamara hammered home the second from a Graham Zusi restart.

New York tried to come back, but Sporting was always more likely to score the next goal.

With the win, Sporting’s five up on New York, four up on Chicago (who have a match in hand).

Here are your highlights: