Kei Kamara converted a loose ball into an early goal, and Sporting Kansas City continued its climb through the standings with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Sunday night.

Jimmy Nielsen made two saves and recorded his fourth shutout for Sporting (9-7-9), which won for the third time in four games. Kansas City moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points after starting the year 1-6-1.

D.C. (7-7-10) had a four-match unbeaten streak snapped.

Kamara's game-winner came in the 18th minute, after defender Daniel Woolard deflected but could not clear Omar Bravo's cross into the area. Kamara collected the ball just inside the penalty arc, dribbled once to his right and fired a low shot past keeper Joe Willis.

United's best chance to equalize came in the 40th minute, when Kansas City's Graham Zusi gave up the ball 15 yards from his own goal, but Nielsen made a sprawling save to turn away Blake Brettschneider's shot.