The Crew and Sporting Kansas City split their three meetings in 2012 right down the middle with each team claiming one match apiece while the finale ended in a draw. Before the two original MLS rivals meet for the first time in 2013, here is a look back at the three battles from last season.
A seventh-minute Jacob Peterson tally gave Sporting an early lead in a midsummer clash between the two midwestern rivals at Crew Stadium. While the Crew created several prime chances in search of an equalizer, Kansas City's All-Star goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was there to deny the Black & Gold each time. Top-of-the-table Sporting's victory was sealed in the 82nd minute when striker Teal Bunbury finished a Kansas City counterattack to beat Andy Gruenebaum in net.
Despite Kansas City forward Kei Kamara's early goal, the Crew's only trip to Sporting Park in 2012 was the coming out party of newly signed Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta. The forward tallied twice to help the Black & Gold overcome an early deficit, including a 30-yard laser past Nielsen to give Columbus the 2-1 lead in the 34th minute. Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Kansas City native Andy Gruenebaum made five crucial saves amid a Sporting onslaught late in the match to preserve the Crew victory.
Just like the first two matches before, Sporting Kansas City scored within the first 10 minutes against the Crew to put the Black & Gold on their heels early. With its playoff chances waning, Eddie Gaven's stoppage-time near-post header past Nielsen was enough to keep the Crew's postseason dreams alive for the time being.