Wednesday, August 20, 2014

S.A.S. Wednesday After Stats

The game was Peter Vermes' 200th game in charge of Sporting KC, he's 92-59-49 in those games.

In the 61st minute, Aurelien Collin moved past Jose Burciaga and into 19th place for minutes played in all competitions. Collin finished the game with 10,654 minutes played.

Collin made his 120th start in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Chance Myers for 19th on that list.

Matt Besler made his 169th appearance in all competitions for KC, tying him with Mo Johnston for 10th all time on that list.

Besler made his 162nd start in all competitions for KC, tying him with Jack Jewsbury for 7th on that list.

Sporting Grab a Point in Nicaragua

The game was far from pretty tonight in Esteli, Nicaragua, but Sporting KC walked away from the game with a point against Real Esteli. The result actually sees Esteli move to the top of the group with two points, but both of their home games have now been played and face trips to Costa Rica and the United States.

The game couldn't have started much worse for Kansas City, in just the 6th minute Esteli's Daniel Da Silva was played in behind KC's back line 1v1 with Jon Kempin. Kempin came up with a nice save as Da Silva came in on goal, but the ball bounced into the path of Jorge Claros, who was trailing the play and bounced into the net giving Esteli an early 1-0 lead over Sporting. KC stepped up their game and controlled preceding from there, looking to find an equalizer. It came10 minutes after the opener. Esteli had been called for a handball just outside the box. Graham Zusi and Toni Dovale were over the ball. Dovale took the kick and perfectly curled it up and over the wall and just inside the near post to level the score at 1-1. Esteli's Justo Lorente didn't even move on the play. KC maintained possession of the ball for much of the half, but really struggled to create opportunities against Esteli. Esteli would actually have the better chances, hitting the outside of the post with a header after a free kick near the corner flag.

The second half saw Esteli come out and really out play Kansas City for the most part. Da Silva again had an opportunity as he got past his defender, but again Kempin came off his line and made a good save that was then cleaned up by Claros. KC had another chance off a set piece as Benny Feilhaber's lofted ball into the box pinged around before slowly rolling into the arms of Lorente. Kempin was again called upon to make a big save in the 81st minute as a great cross from Esteli's right floated to Juan Barrerra at the back post. But Kempin did well to beat away Barrerra's effort and knock it wide for a corner kick. The last 10 minutes of the game was virtually one way traffic headed towards Kempin's goal. Sporting looked tired and worn out late in the game. Esteli looked to take advantage, creating a number of opportunities, but not really challenging Kempin too much with shots. They had a header off a free kick that flashed just wide of Kempin's far post. Kempin did have some issues with a punch late on, but the ensuing shot was sent high of the goal. KC was able to hold on and take the point on the road. KC will be happy to get out with a point, Esteli, with their play in the second half will feel they probably deserved all three points tonight. KC following the one on the road, three at home point philosophy one would hope will now need to win at home, which they couldn't do during the group phase of last year's tournament.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jon Kempin - Sporting's third string keeper did a very good job tonight with his shot stopping and again did well in commanding his back line. I'd still like to see him improve his control of the box and not punch as much, but hopefully that will come with more experience.

Player Ratings - Kempin 7, Ellis 4, Collin 5, Besler 5, Sinovic 5, Claros 3, Olum 4, Zusi 5, Saad 4, Sapong 4, Dovale 6. Subs Zizzo 5, Feilhaber 5, Dwyer 4.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CCL Match Day 1 - The Campaign Begins

Sporting Kansas City begin another competition in this year's season. Tomorrow night in Nicaragua Sporting take on Real Esteli. It's the second straight year that Sporting will take on the Nicaraguan champions. Last year Sporting KC went 1-0-1 against Esteli, winning 2-0 in Nicaragua and drawing 1-1 at home.

This year, Esteli and KC's other opponent, Deportivo Saprissa have already kicked off play a few weeks ago. Esteli took an early lead against Saprissa before conceding a second half equalizer. Esteli is far and away the best team in Nicaragua, winning the last seven season titles (two seasons a year, fall and spring). They are also 3-0 so far in their current season. Their match up last weekend against fellow undefeated club, Walter Ferretti was postponed. The Train of the North still has Rudel Calero on their roster, the 31 year old scored Esteli's goal in Kansas City in the 1-1 draw last year.

KC heads into the game with confidence after the 4-1 win over Toronto on the weekend. The long travel was done today as the team flew down to Nicaragua. They will be without one player who one would assume was going to play a role in tomorrow's game. Claudio Bieler apparently has passport issues and was unable to travel with the team to Nicaragua. With Dom Dwyer getting the vast majority of the league minutes, one would have assumed Bieler was a likely candidate to start the game tomorrow to give Dwyer a bit of a rest. With Bieler unable to travel, the question is whether Dwyer will start again at forward, or whether someone like CJ Sapong starts there. The game will be interesting to see who Peter Vermes rests ahead of a big Eastern Conference match up this weekend against DC United.

Peterson - Collin - Ellis - Sinovic
Lopez - Feilhaber
Dovale - Dwyer - Sapong

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Rudel Calero - In KC's first match vs Esteli last year, Esteli didn't provide much going forward. After watching their game against Saprissa a few weeks ago, I think Esteli will be more difficult this time for KC offensively.

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins that Esteli has in the CCL. The Nicaraguan side is 0-9-4 in the current incarnation of the federation competition. All but one of their draws (their 1-1 draw with KC last year) have come at home.

PREDICTION - The Esteli draw with Saprissa could be huge for KC if they can get a win where Saprissa failed. It's not going to be easy with the game falling between two important league games, but KC is the best road team in the league and even in an environment like the one in Esteli, KC still should feelgood about their chances heading into tomorrow's game.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Dovale)
RE - 1 (Calero)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday After Stats

At 21 years, 130 days, Jon Kempin is the 17th youngest player to make his first league start for KC.

CJ Sapong's goal was Sporting KC's 100th league goal at Sporting Park.

Sapong scored his 20th goal in league play, tying Mark Chung and Graham Zusi for 9th on that list.

Sapong tied Zusi for the active lead in league goals scored with his 20th.

Sapong made his 131st appearance in all competitions for KC, that breaks his tie wtih Jose Burciaga, Uche Okafor, and Roger Espinoza for 20th on that list.

Dom Dwyer scored his 18th league goal for KC, moving him into 13th on that list.

Dwyer's scored his 20th goal in all competitions for KC, tying him with Chris Brown and Igor Simutenkov for 13th on that list.

Sapong and Dwyer both scored their 11th league goal at home, tying them with Igor Simutenkov and Chris Brown for 12th on that list.

Sapong scored his 17th home goal in all competitions, breaking his tie with Digital Takawira for 8th on that list.

Dwyer's two goals gave him 12 in all competitions at home, good for 15th on that list.

Graham Zusi assisted on his 36th goal in league play, breaking his tie with Davy Arnaud for 3rd all time on that list.

In the 41st minute, Matt Besler passed Matt McKeon and moved into 8th place for minutes played in league play. Besler finished the game with 14,652 minutes played.

Benny Feilhaber played his 50th league game for KC, he's the 52nd player to hit that mark.

Aurelien Collin made his 119th start in all competitions for KC, tying him with Chance Myers for 19th on that list.

Sporting Move to Top of Supporters' Shield Race

Sporting Kansas City got back on the winning track, and jumped to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings as they topped Toronto FC 4-1. A pair of penalty kicks by Dom Dwyer and goals by Sonny Saad and CJ Sapong helped push KC past Toronto FC and win the season series against TFC. Dywer upped his goal total for the season to 16, the second most goals in a single season in team history. He's now just two goals behind Preki's club record of 18 in 1996.

KC came out and pressured the game early on. The early pressured paid off as in the 16th minute. A Graham Zusi corner was cleared only to Benny Feilhaber at the top of the box. He cut past Michael Bradley and made his way into the box. He touched the ball past Jackson and the Brazilian brought Feilhaber down. Referee, Drew Fischer, pointed to the spot as TFC protested the Feilhaber was not going to get to the ball. After everything was cleared up, Dwyer stepped up and fired his PK into the roof of the net to make it 1-0 KC. KC kept up the pressure and in the 32nd won another PK. After Seth Sinovic brought the ball up the field, he laid it back to Feilhaber. The midfielder played a cross that looked like it was meant to go to the back post, but took a deflection off the referee Fischer right into the path of Dwyer. The Englishman took a touch and turned into the box. As he passed Doneil Henry stuck out a leg trying to get the ball, but only got Dwyer, bringing him down. Fischer again pointed to the spot. Dwyer stepped up again, sent Joe Bendik the wrong direction as he slotted the shot to the keeper's left to double KC's advantage. Toronto was having trouble getting through and really testing Jon Kempin in his first MLS start. But in first half stoppage time TFC got a chance and made it count. After a turnover in midfield, the ball got played wide to Dominic Oduro who had space down KC's left. He played a ball into the middle for Gilberto who had made a cutting run into the middle. Gilberto flicked the ball with his right heel as he wrong footed Kempin and slid the ball under him to cut the lead in half.

For the most part though, KC was able to contain Oduro throughout the night, unlike their meeting a few weeks ago. KC was more physical with Oduro, throwing him off his game and not allowing him to get as free as he did in Toronto. Early in the second half, Toronto should have leveled. In the 51st minute, a Matt Besler long throw was cleared to Gilberto who raced down the field. He blew past Igor Juliao who reached out and grabbed Gilberto but the TFC forward stayed on his feet. On on one with Kempin though, KC's home grown keeper came up with a big save knocking the ball away for a corner. KC went back to pressuring the game, keeping TFC pinned in their end. In the 64th, they added a third goal. Again off a Zusi corner, the ball was cleared only to the top of the box, where Saad took a touch, let the ball bounce and then fired a shot that beat Bendik inside his near post to make it 3-1. Toronto again had a great opportunity in the 71st minute, after some good passing, TFC had a great 3v1 break on Kempin. Instead of laying the ball off to one of his teammates, Jackson rounded Kempin and was ready to tap the ball home, but Aurelien Collin did fantastic to recover and tackle the ball away from Jackson before he shot. KC capped off their scoring in the 77th minute, again off the corner. This one though didn't need to be cleared first, Zusi's corner was flicked on by Saad to the back post where Dwyer, Lawrence Olum, and CJ Sapong were all crashing. Sapong got the touch that turned the ball into the goal making it 4-1. Toronto did find the back of the net again in the 84th, but unfortunately for them it wasn't the ball. Toronto substitute, Bright Dike fired a shot that Kempin covered easily, but Dike's shoe came flying off on the play and landed in the back of he net. It was a nice way to end the night with a laugh.

Wizards Man of the Match - Dom Dwyer - Scored the pair of PKs, creating one himself, but as a whole was a menace throughout the game for the TFC back line as he now has four goals on the year against Toronto, and 10 against the Canadian teams.

Honorable Mention - Lawrence Olum

Player Ratings - Kempin 7, Juliao 4, Collin 7, Besler 6, Sinovic 5, Olum 7, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 6, Saad 6, Dwyer 8, Zizzo 6. Subs Sapong 6, Claros 6, Bieler 5.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Match Day 24 - Injury Issues Continue for Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City will put out their 24th different starting lineup in 24 MLS games tomorrow when KC welcomes Toronto FC to Sporting Park. The injury issues for KC has continued throughout much of the season and has now hit the goalkeeping position hard. After losing Eric Kronberg for two months with a broken bone in his hand, KC lost back up Andy Gruenebaum for at least tomorrow's game and Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League game with a shoulder injury. That means that KC's first home grown player, Jon Kempin will start his first MLS game tomorrow. He'll become the 29th player to start a league game for KC this year, and the 30th in all competitions.

Toronto heads into KC on the back of two straight wins away from home, beating Montreal and Columbus on the second and third of a four game road trip. They've done it without leading goalscorer, Jermain Defoe who has missed the last few games with a groin injury. Defoe's status for tomorrow's game is up in the air. Originally it was thought his injury would keep him out, but late this week, it was reported that Defoe may play a part in tomorrow's game. If he can go, that definitely changes the approach that Sporting will take defensively to this game. Even without Defoe, Toronto's other strikers are starting to find some form through Gilberto and Luke Moore.

With Kempin in goal for his first MLS start, a lot more pressure is going to be on KC's starting center backs Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin. Through their partnership, they've usually had an experienced or veteran keeper in goal. From Jimmy Nielsen and Andy Gruenebaum's experience to Eric Kronberg's veteran presence, Collin and Besler have had an experienced goalkeeper to help organize behind them. While I have faith that Kempin will do fine, his lack of experience will require Besler and Collin to really step up their defensive work. KC has other things to question heading into tomorrow. Seth Sinovic's troubles lately. In his last two games, at Toronto and at Vancouver, Sinovic has had probably his two worst games in a KC uniform, getting beat for speed regularly. With Toronto likely to come at Sinvoic through Dominic Oduro again hopefully Sinovic is fully healthy and ready to go. The other question is Dom Dwyer's form. KC's leading scorer hasn't scored a goal in the last five games for KC, since the team's 2-1 win over Montreal. While the rest of the team has picked up the slack some, Dwyer needs to start finding the net again for KC to continue to be successful.

Juliao - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Olum - Claros
Dovale - Dwyer - Zusi

Number to Remember - 7 - That's the number of games in a row that KC has gone without a shutout. For a team like KC that has been solid defensively.

Key Match Up - Seth Sinovic vs Dominic Oduro - In KC's last game against Toronto at BMO Field, Oduro owned this match up. Of all the attacks that Toronto made in that game, pretty much all the successful ones game through Oduro going at or past Sinovic or down the left side. Sinovic is going to need to be much better for KC tomorrow or Oduro will have a field day again against him.

PREDICTION - The last match up between these two teams was won by KC, but Toronto was most certainly the better team. KC will need to improve their performance not just from last week, but from the last three. KC really hasn't looked good since the 2-1 win over LA. While they've gone 1-1-1 in the three games since they easily could have lost both of those road games and didn't deserve to get the win in their one home game against the Union. KC really needs to step up with a dominating performance, if not on the scoreboard, on the field. The team needs to show that they are still the class of the East. Getting a win against Toronto, will help to establish this point, and create some more space between them and the rest of the East.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Zusi)
TFC - 1 (Moore)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Martinez Signs with Orange County - Former SKC Wizards Update

Alex Martinez has found a new club. After trialing with the Columbus Crew and San Antonio Scorpions, Martinez has signed with the Orange County Blues of the USL-Pro division. He jumped right into things too, as the Blues have had three games this week. Martinez started all three of those games, scoring in their game tonight, a 3-2 loss to Charleston.

Another player to keep an eye on is new former SKC Wizard, Peterson Joseph. Joseph is currently in Tanzania training with Azam FC.

Here's the rest of this week's update.

Active without a club or unknown
Vicente Arze
Federico Bessone
Jose Burciaga
Julio Cesar
Edson Elcock
Adnan Gabeljic
Aaron Hohlbein
Mechack Jerome
Mike Jones
Peterson Joseph
Neal Kitson
Michal Mravec
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestly
Peter Schmetz
Scott Sealy
Konrad Warzycha

Davy Arnaud - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 3-0 loss to RSL.
Teal Bunbury - New England - No game this week.
Bobby Convey - New York - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in New York's 1-0 loss to Chicago.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Came off the bench and played 22 minutes in RSL's 3-0 win over DC.
Michael Harrington - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 2-0 win over Chivas.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Dressed but did not play in Portland's 2-0 win over Chivas.
Eddie Johnson - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 3-0 loss to RSL.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Dressed but did not play in TFC's 3-2 win over Columbus.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Portland - On loan to Orange County
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Did not dress in San Jose's 2-2 draw with LA.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Dressed but did not play in TFC's 3-2 win over Columbus.

Stefan Antonijevic - Fort Lauderdale - Did not dress in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 win over Ottawa.

Brian Fekete - Pittsburgh - Did not dress in Pittsburgh's 1-0 win over Orange County.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 2-1 loss to Sacramento.
Jonathan Leathers - Charlotte - Started and played 82 minutes in Charlotte's 2-1 loss to Richmond.
Alex Martinez - Orange County - Started and played 89 minutes in Orange County's 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh. Started and played 88 minutes in Orange County's 1-0 win over Rochester. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Orange County's 3-2 loss to Charleston.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Orange County (loan) - Did not dress in Orange County's 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh.
Kyle Miller - Oklahoma City - Came off the bench and played 12 minutes in OKC's 2-1 loss to Sacramento.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in OKC's 2-1 loss to Sacramento.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-1 win over Charlotte.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 2-2 draw wtih Dayton. Did not dress in Charleston's 3-2 win over Orange County.

Jamar Beasley - St. Louis - Offseason.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Offseason.

Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - Started and played 90 minutes in Auerbach's 0-0 draw with BFC Dynamo.
Scott Angevine - Sporting Kristina - Finland - Started and played 90 minutes in Kristina's 4-1 loss to TPV.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 3-0 loss to Pachuca. Started and played 66 minutes in Chivas' 3-1 loss to Deportivo Tepic.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - Offseason.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Eloy Colombano - UAI Urquiza - Argentina - Offseason.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Ha Noi's 5-2 win over Thanh Hoa.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Started and played 90 minutes in Cucuta's 3-1 loss to Cortulua. Defeated Real Santander 3-0 in the Copa Colombia.
Roger Espinoza - Wigan - England - Did not dress in Wigan's 2-2 draw with Reading. Started and played 90 minutes in Wigan's 2-1 loss to Burton Albion.
Herculez Gomez - Tigres - Mexico - Did not dress in Tigres' 2-0 loss to America.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - América RN - Brazil - Came off the bench and played 45 minutes in America's 3-0 loss to Fluminense. Started and played 90 minutes in America's 3-2 loss to Boa.
Will John - AZAL - Azerbaijan - Did not dress in Azal's 1-1 draw wiht Khazar Lankaran.
Kei Kamara - Middlesbrough - England - Did not dress in either of Middlesbrough's games.
Igor Kostrov - Veris - Moldova - Lost to Zimbru 1-0.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Did not dress in either of San Martin's games.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - Started and played 90 minutes in Servette's 1-0 win over Chiasso.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Did not dress in Spartak's 2-1 win over Dinamo Moscow.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes in Stjarnan's 0-0 draw with Lech Poznan. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Stjarnan's 2-1 win over Thor.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - No game until 8/17.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Did not dress in Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Cardiff. Started and played 90 minutes in Blackburn's 1-0 loss to Scunthorpe United.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia -  Started and played 120 minutes in Sarajevo's 3-1 win over Atromitos. Started and played 90 minutes in Sarajevo's 3-1 win over Borac Banja Luka.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Started and played 64 minutes in Saarbrucken's 3-1 win over Astoria Walldorf.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportivo Lara - Venezuela - Did not play in Lara's 1-1 draw with Zamora.

Monday, August 11, 2014

S.A.S. Monday After Stats

Jon Kempin made his league debut for Kansas City, at 21 years, 124 days, he's the 18th youngest player to make his debut.

Kempin's debut means that KC has had three keepers see action this year for the first time since 2002 when Tony Meola and Bo Oshoniyi played most of the games and Taly Goode played an Open Cup game.

It's the first time since 1999 that KC has used three keepers in league play. In that season KC used four, Cesar Delgado, Chris Snitko, David Winner, and Tony Meola.

In the 43rd minute, Graham Zusi moved past Diego Gutierrez and into 15th place for minutes played in league play, he finished the game with 9,811 minutes played.

Zusi made his 105th league start for KC, breaking his tie with Sean Bowers for 18th place on that list.

Matt Besler started his 160th game in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Matt McKeon for 8th place on that list.

Aurelien Collin made his 100th league appearance for KC, he's the 29th player to hit that mark.

Soony Saad made his 50th league appearance for KC, he's the 51st player to hit that mark.

CJ Sapong made his 130th appearance in all competitions for KC, tying him with Jose Burciaga, UChe Okafor, and Roger Espinoza for 20th on that list.

The loss was Peter Vermes 51st in league play and 58th in all competitions, breaking his tie with Ron Newman for the second most losses on both lists.

Sporting and Joseph Mutually Agree to End His Contract

In a move that's been anticipated for a while now, Sporting KC and midfielder, Peterson Joseph parted ways today as the club and player mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the club. Joseph had not appeared or practiced with the club since he collapsed during practice during the playoffs last year. Since then he'd had a number of tests done all over the country to try and figure out exactly what had caused him to collapse. 

Joseph, the Haitian Xavi had joined the club in September of 2011. For KC he played in 34 league games, two playoff games, three CONCACAF Champions League games, and three US Open Cup games in his short career. There were plenty of flashes of the type of player he could be for KC, his assist with the outside of the foot to set up a goal by Jacob Peterson against Columbus was one of my favorite plays of the 2012 season. Then there's the 2012 playoff win over Houston at home where Joseph and Oriol Rosell dominated the center of midfield and it looked like the midfield pairing of the future for the club had arrived.  Unfortunately, both are now gone from the club.

My initial reaction to this is that this is a good move for both parties. KC gets an international slot opened up, and I assumed Joseph would move on with his life. I thought he'd just go ahead and retire because of whatever the condition was that is keeping him from playing for KC. That doesn't look to be the case though. It would appear that Joseph has made his way to Africa where he is training and has played a training game with Azam FC in Tanzania. Maybe his condition isn't as bad as it seemed, or maybe he's not ready to give up playing and he's going to try to make it in a place that may not take as much of a precaution with his condition.

Sporting Fall (Hard) to Vancouver

It wasn't a pretty game, it was probably one of the worst games KC has played in a while, and there have been some bad ones (Toronto on the road a few weeks ago, Philadelphia at home the first time this year, and last year). KC looked out of sorts from the start of the game and the Whitecaps would eventually make them pay as they would end Kansas City's eight game unbeaten run and five game road winning streak, losing 2-0.

In just the fourth minute the Whitecaps showed their intentions and almost grabbed the lead. Attacking down KC's left side, Steve Beitashour raced down the wing before curling a cross into the box. The cross was teasing enough to get Andy Gruenebaum to almost commit, but the ball rolled wide and was crossed back into the middle for Darren Mattocks who turned and would have probably scored if not for a slit touch Aurelien Collin to push the ball wide. KC created an early opportunity themselves via a quick restart. Graham Zusi dribbled down the wing before sliding it into the middle for Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber took a touch and tried to curl the shot into the far corner but it was just wide of the post. In the 17th minute the Whitecaps grabbed the lead. A long ball towards Sebastian Fernandez. Igor Juliao was easily going to beat Fernandez to the ball and the Brazilian attempted to head the ball back to his keeper, but Gruenebaum had come off his line again and the ball was headed over him and into the net to give Vancouver the lead. Blame for the goal has to fall on both players. Gruenebaum has to give some sort of communication to his right back there and really probably doesn't need to be coming of his line. Juliao though needs to take a quick look at his keeper before heading the ball towards his own net like that. The Whitecaps continued to pressure looking to add to their lead, in the 31st, Pedro Morales tried to curl a free kick inside Gruenebaum's near post, but the KC goalkeeper got down well and knocked the ball down and covered the rebound. Shortly after though the Whitecaps would grab a second. Matt Besler played a poor ball through the middle that was picked off by the Whitecaps. Besler made an attempted tackle on Morales around midfield but missed leading to a 2v1 situation with Morales and Mattocks going at Collin. Morales got Collin to commit before laying the ball off for Mattocks who calmly put the ball into the corner past Gruenebaum to make it 2-0. As the first half entered stoppage time, the Whitecaps almost made it three. Again Morales the creator as he played a fantastic through ball for Fernandez who stayed onside. He slid the ball past Gruenebaum and it was headed into the empty net but Collin raced back in time to recover and slide the ball away. On the rebound Besler knocked the ball away from Fernandez for a corner.

KC was forced to make a change at half time as Gruenebaum left the game with a shoulder injury leading to the MLS debut for KC's first home grown player, Jon Kempin. The Whitecaps sat back a little bit more at the start of the second, forcing KC to bring the game more to them. Really KC couldn't come up with much offensively. The Whitecaps almost again found a third in the 70th minute. Off a corner, Johnny Leveron headed a ball that beat Kempin, but Feilhaber had stayed on the line and headed the ball away to keep it 2-0. Late on the Whitecaps had another chance to make it 3-0 when Omar Salgado was judged to have been fouled in the box by Collin as Salgado backed into him trying to get positioning on a long ball. Mattocks stepped up looking to score his second goal of the game. He went low to Kempin's right, but the young keeper got down well and got a hand on it knocking it onto the post and it was then cleared away to keep the game 2-0. KC continued to get little in the way of chances, but Feilhaber and CJ Sapong both had chances in stoppage time. Feilhaber's effort was blocked and Sapong's rebound effort took a slit deflection wide of the goal.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jon Kempin - A disappointing result all around, but man of the match goes to KC's first home grown player, Kempin for the big penalty save on his MLS debut.

Player Ratings - Gruenebaum 4, Juliao 3, Collin 5, Besler 4, Sinovic 3, Claros 4, Lopez 4, Feilhaber 4, Peterson 4, Dwyer 3, Zusi 4. Subs Kempin 6, Sapong 4, Saad 4.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

FC Kansas City Fall in Regular Season Finale

From FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City lost 2-1 to the Chicago Red Stars in front of 2,111 fans at Benedictine University. Melissa Tancredi scored first for Chicago in the 9th minute then Christen Press in the 40th minute. Morgan Marlborough’s goal came for Kansas City in the 43rd minute of the match. This was FC Kansas City’s last regular season match until hosting a semifinal match on Saturday August 23rd. Chicago’s three points keep playoff hopes alive as the final weeks of the regular season approach.

Normally Kansas City starts off with a fiery attack that ends in a goal, but it was Chicago with that attack tonight. Press wound up for a shot that rookie goalkeeper Sara Keane was able to save. Then Tancredi came up from the side to contain the rebound and fire it right back at the net. The Red Stars were up 1-0 within the first ten minutes of the match.

Chicago had another close chance in the 23rd minute when Vanessa DiBernardo fired off a shot from outside the box. The shot went well over the net and hit the football field goal post. Chicago still led 1-0 but the Blues started to fight back.

Kansas City found a close opportunity minutes later in the 30th minute. Team leading scorer, Amy Rodriguez took on three Chicago defenders before launching a shot at the net. The beautiful shot bounced off the post and out still leaving Kansas City scoreless.

The Red Star’s second goal came when Press was carrying the ball to the outside in the 40th minute. Keane dove early in anticipation and Press saw her chance. She took a quick touch before sending it in to the net. Chicago looked to be up 2-0 headed in to the locker rooms.

Marlborough cut the home team’s lead in half two minutes later. Merritt Mathias carried the ball up the field and crossed in to Marlborough who was centered in the box. The Santa Clara product redirected the ball and put it in the upper corner beyond Karina LeBlanc’s hands. Kansas City got back in the game before halftime.

After the short break, both teams came back hungry for the three points. Lauren Holiday was seen taking shots from way outside the box all night. In the 54th minute, Holiday collected the ball stopped and took a shot from beyond the 18 yard line that went over the crossbar.

Chicago almost made the score 3-1 in the 62nd minute. Adriana Leon sent a bouncing shot in that hit the post and appeared to just cross the goal line. The referee called a no goal and the score stayed at 2-1.

Jen Buzckowski and Katrina Gorry tried to make a play work for Kansas City in the 88th minute. Buczkowski carried the ball through the center and just to the outside to find a running Gorry up the middle. Gorry took the shot but the ball rolled just wide. The final minutes came to a close and FC Kansas City would lose 2-1 to the Red Stars.

The Blues’ 2014 regular season is over with the loss in Chicago. From here, FC Kansas City will begin to prepare for the 2014 NWSL playoffs as the opponent is determined in the upcoming weeks.