Jacob Peterson and Teal Bunbury scored, and Sporting Kansas City beat the Columbus Crew 2-0 on Saturday to grab sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Kansas City (11-5-3) took the lead in the sixth minute when Peterson Joseph split the defense with a pass to Peterson, who beat goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum for the 1-0 lead. Bunbury got the second goal in the 82nd minute off a counterattack.
''We were talking right before the game about making that run and how maybe we could have some success,'' Peterson said. ''It was a great ball. All I had to do was slip it in. It was all predicated on (Joseph). I had the easy part.''
Kansas City's defense handled the struggling Crew (6-7-4), who have dropped three of four.
''It was hard for them to break us down and they were a little frustrated,'' Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said. ''We scored a great goal early on.
''Whenever you play away from home the big thing you have to realize is the pressure is on the other team to drive the game. You know they've got to entertain their home fans. We played solidly defensively. We didn't give much away.''
Jimmy Nielsen made four saves for his eighth shutout of the season. He got help in the 48th minute when Justin Meram's header went off the crossbar.
''We had momentum. We had chances,'' Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. ''You have to score.''