for this game

K.C. opens Livestrong Sporting Park with draw

Jun 10, 2011 - 4:51 AM Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City's performance was not nearly as impressive as its new $200 million stadium.

Sporting, which opened the season on a record 10-game road trip, settled for a 0-0 draw in its first game at Livestrong Sporting Park on Thursday against the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.

Kansas City (1-6-4) goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was ejected in the second half as he played the ball with his hand outside the penalty area, but substitute Eric Kronberg and Sporting survived the final 30 minutes against Chicago (1-4-8).

Sporting is winless in 10, but Chicago watched its winless streak reach 11, as both clubs are without a victory since March. K.C. last won on March 19 in its opener against Chivas USA, 3-2. Chicago last won March 26, 3-2, over K.C.

With Livestrong Park filled, attendance was 19,925 - well over the capacity of 18,467 - Kansas City struggled to outperform the new stadium, which features a canopy over the entire seating area.

Coach Peter Vermes watched from the first row of the stands, where the benches are set up European-style, but he had little to be pleased about other than an incredible amount of support from the home fans.

Nielsen made a nice save inside 10 minutes against the Fire's Corben Bone, and chants from the crowd - which includes seats just a couple feet off the pitch - applauded his effort.

KC had its lone good scoring chance in the 15th minute, when Graham Zusi drove the ball into the net only to have the goal called back for offside.

Nielsen's ejection in the 68th minute came on a foolish play from the veteran, as he came out of the box and played the ball with his hand to deny a scoring chance for Chicago's Dominic Oduro.

The K.C. goalie immediately dropped to his knees, put his head into the ground and covered it with his hands. After he stood up, Nielsen walked straight into the home locker room, a place suitable for a king at the new stadium.

Kronberg replaced Teal Bunbury and spilled a long-range shot from Dan Paladini in the 80th that Orr Barouch then launched off the crossbar, as Chicago wasted its best chance.

Kansas City's Omar Bravo had a penalty appeal denied in the 85th, as Bratislav Ristic made a hard challenge but won the ball and the teams remained scoreless through nine minutes of stoppage time as both winless streaks continued.

Sporting avoided becoming just the second team to lose in the opening match at its new stadium. Kansas City downed Toronto FC at BMO Field in 2007, when the Canadian club opened its stadium.

Both clubs will try to end their streaks Sunday when Sporting visits FC Dallas and Chicago visits the Columbus Crew.