Daniel Salloi found the net at the end of the first half and Roger Espinoza added a huge insurance goal midway through the second as visiting Sporting Kansas City made all the right moves during a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday afternoon in Frisco, Texas.
The win allowed Sporting Kansas City to leapfrog FC Dallas into first place in the Western Conference with one match remaining in the regular season. Sporting KC can win the West, and earn one of the conference's two first-round playoff byes, with a win on the road next week at LAFC.
FC Dallas, who started Sunday atop the Western Conference by one point, can no longer win the conference title. FCD and LAFC, which played to a 2-2 draw against Vancouver on Sunday, are tied for second-place, two points in arrears of Sporting KC.
FC Dallas ends the regular season next Sunday in Colorado against the Rapids -- a win in that match will allow Dallas to earn one of the conference's first-round byes.
Sporting KC's Tim Melia stopped five shots, including two in each half from point-blank range, in earning his 13th shutout of the season and the 39th clean sheet of his nine-season MLS career.
Salloi was in the right place at the right time to corral a rebound off a save from FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez after a blistering shot from Felipe Gutierrez. The bouncing ball literally landed at Salloi's feet with no defenders in proximity and Salloi ripped it into the net at the 45-minute mark to allow Sporting KC a 1-0 lead.
Sporting Kansas City added to its lead in the 64th minute when Ike Opara beat two FCD defenders to nod Johnny Russell's free kick from the right wing to a waiting Espinoza. Espinoza then volleyed the ball into the net to put the visitors in front 2-0. Espinoza's tally was Sporting KC's 62nd of the season, granting the team a new club record for goals in a season, supplanting the 61 the side scored in 1996.
Russell converted from the spot on a penalty-kick goal in the 87th minute to cap Sporting KC's huge road win.
Gonzalez came up big in the 17th minute when he denied Sporting KC's Ilie Sanchez' penalty kick after a foul in the box on Felipe Gutierrez by FCD's Matt Hedges. Gonzalez drove low and to his right to knock away Sanchez's try from the spot and kept the match scoreless.
FCD has been held without a goal in four of its past six outings and has beaten just one team that's qualified for the playoffs over the second half of the season -- a 3-2 win at Sporting Kansas City on July 28.