Kansas City moved up to third in the East after a smooth 3-1 win over visiting Portland. Zusi hit a brace and birthday boy Soony Saad scored on his MLS debut.
Kansas City had some early luck with long-range shots, with two going close. Zusi made the third count by blasting Sporting into the lead. Before halftime he doubled his tally by scooping home a blocked shot following a melee from a corner.
Prior to that goal, however, an Omar Bravo bobblehead -- handed out to fans prior to the game -- was thrown onto the pitch. It struck goalkeeper Nielsen below the eye, and the Dane required stitches before he could continue.
With the life-sized Bravo suspended, Saad made his MLS debut and scored what will surely stand as the flukiest goal of his professional career. Eric Brunner beat him to a ball, but the clearance deflected off Saad and looped back over Troy Perkins into the Timbers net. The University of Michigan dropout was celebrating his 19th birthday.
Bright Dike also scored his first MLS goal, notching a consolation with a scuffed strike that trickled in at the far post.
With the win Sporting leapfrogs the New York Red Bulls into third place in the Eastern Conference, good for an automatic playoff spot were the regular season to end immediately.