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Chivas USA is shut out by Sporting Kansas City

C.J. Sapong scores two minutes into the second half for the game's only goal, helping Kansas City improve to 4-0.

April 01, 2012|By Kevin Baxter

Thanks for nothing. Again.

For the third time in as many home games this season, Chivas USA failed to score. And for the third time they lost, this time to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, Sunday at the Home Depot Center.

"Obviously, it's pretty frustrating not to be able to score," said rookie forward Casey Townsend, who has scored Chivas' only goal this season, at Salt Lake City. "Our defense keeps us in games. It's our job as offensive players to score."

And clearly that's a job that's not getting done. Sunday's shutout was the third in four games for Chivas, which explains why the team has as many losses — three — as goals given up. And in its last 19 games dating to August, when Townsend was still in school at Maryland, Chivas has failed to score in 10 of them.

So when C.J. Sapong scored on a header two minutes into the second half, it was the only goal Kansas City would need. The sequence began with hard-luck goalkeeper Dan Kennedy getting a hand on a Graham Zusi blast from the edge of the penalty area. An inch higher and the shot would have gone over the net. Instead, it hit the crossbar and bounced back to Zusi, who headed it forward, allowing Sapong to redirect it into the goal.

Chivas had two excellent chances to tie the score in the next 18 minutes, but Nick LaBrocca bounced a shot off the left post and Townsend missed wide left on a short shot from directly in front of goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.

But that was pretty much it for Chivas, which was credited with only six shots, none of which Nielsen had to make a play on.

For Chivas there was one patch of good news, though. The game ended a grueling season-opening stretch in which the club played four consecutive games against unbeaten opponents, three of whom made the playoffs last season. The team's next three games are against Portland, Toronto and Philadelphia, which have combined for one win in 11 games.

"Plenty ahead of us, right?" a frustrated Kennedy said. "At the end of the day there's still plenty of points to be won for us. We've got to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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