MLS Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City have extended their unbeaten streak to five games after a 1-0 win over New York Red Bulls.
Sporting flew out of the blocks at Red Bull Arena before taking a deserved lead in the 13th minute through Aurelien Collin and although the hosts went close on a number of occasions, a combination of good goalkeeping from Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen and poor finishing ensured New York remained scoreless.
New York’s match went from bad to worse in the 91st minute when Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano was sent off for kicking the ball at Nielsen.
Sporting had a couple of chances in the opening 10 minutes as Charles Sapong’s shot was blocked by New York defender Jamison Olave before Seth Sinovic’s rasping drive was tipped over by Luis Robles.
But Robles was unable to stop Collin’s header soon after as the French defender got ahead of Olave and powered Graham Zusi’s corner into the net.
The home side dominated the rest of the first half as they pushed for an equaliser but were unable to beat Nielsen.
In the 63rd minute, Thierry Henry had the Red Bulls’ best chance of the match when he got free at the top of the box but his shot went wide of the post as he tried to curl the ball around Nielsen.
In an incredible finish to the game, Juninho was shown a straight red card in second-half stoppage time.
With Nielsen taking his time to set up a goal kick, Juninho struck the ball at the Danish goalkeeper, hitting him in the upper body and sending him sprawling to the turf, leaving the referee with no option than to send the 38-year-old Brazilian off.
The victory was Sporting’s third in a row and takes them to the top of the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Montreal Impact, while New York sit sixth, six points behind Kansas City.