Sporting sees off Toronto challenge to take Shield lead

The MLS Cup holders have every intention of retaining the trophy, and moved a step closer to home-field advantage with an important victory.
Sporting Kansas City sent a message to its Eastern Conference rivals Saturday, beating Toronto 4-1 to reassert its dominance and move to first place in the Supporters' Shield standings.

The reigning MLS Cup champion saw off a would-be contender for the top seed and, coupled with Seattle's loss to Salt Lake and a better goal difference than the Claret-and-Cobalt, leapt into the overall league lead with just 10 games left in the season.

KC had endured a blip in recent weeks, drawing against Philadelphia and losing to Vancouver after a four-game winning streak, but came roaring back to life against the Canadian side. Dom Dwyer boosted his Golden Boot credentials with a pair of first-half penalties, and although Gilberto scored for the Reds in first-half stoppage time, Soony Saad and C.J. Sapong netted to ensure all three points would stay in the Sunflower State.

Sporting (12-6-6) now sits on 42 points, five ahead of second-place D.C. (11-7-4) and a full 10 beyond Toronto (9-8-5), although both trailing sides hold two games in hand. KC has both the most prolific offense in the East (36 scored, tied with Philadelphia), and the conference's stingiest back line (23 conceded, fewer than one per game).