Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sporting Fall Late to New York, End Season

Before today's game I had prepared myself for Sporting KC's season to end. Kansas City had struggled with too many injuries and were too worn out from all the missed games. Still, with the season actually ending it's still disappointing, especially with it ending in the manner that it did for Kansas City, with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring his sixth goal of the season against Kansas City in second half stoppage time to bring New York from a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 win.

Sporting came out with a different strategy than they did for much of the season. Instead of using the high pressure that KC has used for most of Peter Vermes tenure as coach, KC started the game sitting further back, attempting to absorb pressure and tried to hit New York on the counter. This allowed New York a lot of possession and pressure in KC's end of the field. In the 17th minute, Tim Cahill missed an open opportunity after a deflected shot fell to his feet at the top of the six. Cahill though fired the shot over Eric Kronberg's goal as the game stayed tied 0-0. New York kept pressure as Wright-Phillips missed with an open header in the 32nd minute. Thierry Heny also had a chance later in the half, curling a shot wide of Kronberg's far post. Kansas City did start to create some chances of their own on the counter and really should have taken the lead. Dom Dwyer held off Jamison Olave on a long ball from Aurelien Collin. Dwyer was able to get his head up and laid a ball right towards the penalty spot for an on running Paulo Nagamura who fired his shot right at Luis Robles who held on for the save. Shortly after that, CJ Sapong helped to set up Dwyer with a similar pass, but Dwyer's effort was blocked out for a corner by Olave as the two teams went into the half time break tied at 0-0.

Early in the second half the Red Bulls again had a great opportunity. Off a long set piece into the box, Kronberg came out attempting to punch the ball away, but only put it into the path of Dax McCarty. With the goal wide open though, McCarty put his header from the top of the box wide of the KC goal. Kronberg was making a habit of coming off of his line a lot in the game trying to keep New York from getting open headers or chances in the box. With all the pressure seeming to be coming from New York, it was actually KC that grabbed the lead in the 53rd minute. After a restart the Red Bulls were slowly, almost lazily bringing the ball up field. Henry played the ball into the center circle for Eric Alexander who was pressured by Dwyer. Alexander's touch took the ball right into the path of Benny Feilhaber who was racing to help Dwyer pressure the Red Bulls midfielder. Feilhaber won the ball and raced down field in a 2v4 situation. With both McCarty and Olave looking to close him down, Feilhaber slid a ball against the flow of the players into the path of Dwyer who one timed his shot past Robles and into the net to make it 1-0 KC. The Red Bulls almost responded immediately with Alexander making amends. An Henry cross was headed back across goal by Lloyd Sam for Alexander, but Matt Besler did a good job recovering to knock the ball wide for a corner. Just when it started to look like KC might hold on, New York scored. A ball was played in to substitute, Peguy Luyindula. Luyindula took a touch and turned on Jorge Claros to face up field. KC right back Kevin Ellis immediately pushed up to pressure the ball leaving Henry alone. Ellis pushing up allowed Luyindula to play the ball through to Henry beating Claros, Ellis, and Graham Zusi who was also there in one pass. Henry ran onto the ball as it went towards the end line with Collin sliding over to cover him. This led to Wright-Phillips being unmarked and Besler being stuck between two Red Bulls attackers. Henry picked out Wright-Phillips who fired a shot that went through Besler's legs and past Kronberg and into the net to tie the game. With the game tied, New York continued to pressure, finding chances. In the 90th minute, New York found a winner, a lofted ball into the box by Ambroise Oyongo was headed into net by Wright-Phillips for his second of the game. Like on New York's first goal there were plenty of defensive break downs as Besler appeared to make a run to the near post, expecting Wright-Phillips to continue his run. Collin, who was behind Wright-Phillips didn't make a play for the ball, and Kronberg, who'd been coming for everything all night decided that this was a good time to stay home. Wright-Phillips headed the ball towards the back post where it hit off the post and went into the net giving New York the lead. KC tried to find chances late, but couldn't and ended up seeing their title defense fall at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - If only for the assist to Dwyer which was an absolute thing of beauty that I will be watching all offseason as a way to help me cope.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 2, Ellis 2, Collin 2, Besler 3, Sinovic 3, Claros 3, Nagamura 4, Feilhaber 5, Sapong 3, Dwyer 5, Zusi 3. Subs Peterson NR.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Match Day Playoffs: Win or Go Home

Sporting Kansas City has played themselves into a difficult situation in the playoffs this year. After winning just two of their final 10 games, Sporting fell all the way into fifth place in the East and now head out on the road for the play in game against the New York Red Bulls. Sporting finished the season with a 0-2-1 record against New York drawing 1-1 in KC early in the season before falling 2-1 in New York and 2-0 in KC in the season finale.

New York has been good at home this year, losing only three times at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls will also be welcoming back their team captain, Thierry Hery, who missed the team's season finale in KC with an injury. While Henry has 10 goals this year, it's been his assists that have really gotten New York going this year.  Henry has pitched in 14 assists this year for New York. Many of those assists have gone to Bradley Wright-Phillips who scored both goals in Sunday's win in KC. He's also scored four of the five goals for New York against KC this year (Henry scored the other).

Kansas City continues to limp through the late stages of the season. Although they may get a bit of a boost as both Benny Feilhaber and Igor Juliao who were injured in Costa Rica, traveled to New York for tomorrow's game. They're still day-to-day, but with the season on the line seeing them play would not be out of the question at all. There are questions with the rest of KC's lineup as well. With more rest I doubt both Jacob Peterson and Sal Zizzo go on the wings for KC, even if Feilhaber can't go. Toni Dovale has been the better winger for KC and provides more to the offense than those two do. The other big question is who starts in the defensive midfield position for KC, whether it is Lawrence Olum who was removed after only 30 minutes on Sunday, or Jorge Claros, who returns from his 3 game suspension for inappropriate comments.

Kronberg
Ellis - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Claros - Nagamura
Zusi
Dovale - Dwyer - Peterson

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins New York has at home in the playoffs at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are 0-4 in the playoffs at home since the stadium opened.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin/Matt Besler vs Bradley Wright-Phillips/Thierry Henry - New York's two strikers have all five of New York's goals against KC this year. They'll be going up against a central defense that is tired (Besler) and out of form (Collin). KC's center backs need to pick up their game at this point. The question is whether they'll be able to after the seasons they've had.

PREDICTION - KC really does look like a broken and beaten team at this point. The team looks worn out after a season that has forced role players to become every day starters. Now they're going to play their fourth game in 13 days in four different cities. Peter Vermes has done a lot with the team this season to get what he got out of it with all the injuries and call ups, but I don't think this team has a playoff run in them. And after tonight's Royals game, hopefully it's easier to deal with.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
NY - 2 (Wright-Phillips x2)

Martinez Moves to Carolina - Former SKC Wizards Update

I missed this a few weeks ago,but Alex Martinez has moved to join his brother, Enzo in the NASL. Martinez signed on with the Carolina Railhawks ahead of the NASL roster freeze. Martinez played his college ball in North Carolina and now will get to play with his brother, who had been drafted by Real Salt Lake, but never made an appearance for the club.

Also the goals picked up this week with Matt Taylor and Omar Bravo both getting braces while Herculez Gomez and Korede Aiyegbusi each scored.

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
Mechack Jerome
Peterson Joseph
Neal Kitson
Michal Mravec
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestly
Peter Schmetz
Scott Sealy
Konrad Warzycha

MLS
Davy Arnaud - DC - Did not dress in DC's 1-1 draw with Montreal.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Did not dress in New England's 1-0 win over Toronto.
Bobby Convey - New York - Did not dress in New York's 2-0 win over KC.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Came off the bench and played 15 minutes in RSL's 2-0 win over Chivas.
Michael Harrington - Portland - Came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Portland's 2-0 win over Dallas.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Dressed but did not play in Portland's 2-0 win over Dallas.
Eddie Johnson - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 1-1 draw with Montreal.
Kei Kamara - Columbus - Not available until 2015 season.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Dressed but did not play in Toronto's 1-0 loss to New England.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Portland - Dressed but did not play in Portland's 2-0 win over Dallas.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 90 minutes in San Jose's 1-0 loss to Chivas.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

NASL
Stefan Antonijevic - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 1-0 win over Edmonton.
Alex Martinez - Carolina - Came off the bench and played 11 minutes in Carolina's 2-0 win over Atlanta.

USL
Brian Fekete - Pittsburgh - Offseason.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Jonathan Leathers - Charlotte - Offseason.
Kyle Miller - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Offseason.
Yomby William - Richmond - Offseason.
John Wilson - Charleston - Offseason.

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

International
Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - Came off the bench and played 26 minutes, scoring a goal in Auerbach's 2-1 win over Neustrelitz.
Scott Angevine - Vasa - Finland - Offseason.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and playd 90 minutes, scoring twice in Chivas' 3-3 win over Tijuana.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - Tied UAEM Potros 0-0.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Argentina - Tied General Lamadrid 0-0.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Offseason.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Did not play in Cucuta's 1-0 win over Bogota.
Roger Espinoza - Wigan - England - Started and played 90 minutes in Wigan's 2-1 win over Derby.
Herculez Gomez - Tigres - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes in Tigres' 2-0 Copa MX win over Toluca. Started and played 64 minutes, scoring a goal in Tigres' 2-2 draw with Monterrey.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - América RN - Brazil - Dressed but did not play in America's 2-1 loss to America Mineiro.
Will John - Maghreb Fes - Morocco - Defeated FAR Rabat 1-0 in the cup. Tied RSB Berkane 1-1.
Igor Kostrov - Veris - Moldova - Defeated Dinamo-Auto 5-0.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Did not dress in San Martin's 1-1 draw wtih UTC Cajamarca.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - Dressed but did not play in Servette's 1-0 win over Wohlen.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Came off the bench and played 19 minutes in Spartak's 1-1 draw with Lokomotiv Moscow.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Offseason.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Dressed but did not play in Sporting's 4-2 win over Maritimo.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Did not dress in Blackburn's 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - Defeated Travnik 3-2 in the Cup. Started and played 45 minutes in Sarajevo's 5-0 win over Radnik Bijeljina.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring two goals in Saarbrucken's 4-1 win over Pirmasens.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportivo Lara - Venezuela - Did not play in Lara's 2-2 draw wtih Atletico Venezuela.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update on Academy Products in College

Class of 2010

Brandon Fricke (Butler University) - D - RSr - Started in Butler's 1-0 los to Villanova.

Class of 2011

Eric Hymer (Fort Hays State) - D - Sr - Started in Fort Hays' 2-1 win over Lindenwood. Started in Fort Hays 1-1 draw with Northeastern State.

Raymond Lee (Saint Louis University) - MF - Sr - Started and scored a goal in Saint Louis' 2-2 draw with Dayton.

Eric Moore (Rockhurst University) - D - Sr - Did not play in Rockhurst's 1-0 win over Drury. Came on as a substitute in Rockhurst's 1-0 loss to Missouri S&T.

Michael Oakley (University of Missouri Kansas City) - D - Sr - Did not play in either of UMKC's games.

Paul Oliver (California Baptist) - D/MF - Sr - Started in Cal Baptist's 3-1 loss to Fresno Pacific. Started in Cal Baptist's 3-2 OT loss to Azusa Pacific.

Jordan Rideout (University of Missouri Kansas City) - F - Sr - Did not play in either of UMKC's games.

Taylor Vinnage (Benedictine) - GK - Sr - Started in Benedictine's 3-2 loss to Culver-Stockton.

Class of 2012

Andrew Brown (Bradley University) - MF - Jr - Came on as a substitute in Bradley's 1-0 OT loss to Omaha. Started in Bradley's 1-0 loss to Missouri State.

Eric DeJulio (Creighton University) - D - Jr - Started in #2 Creighton's 1-0 loss to #17 Georgetown.

Daniel Hare (Loyola University in Chicago) - D - Jr - Started in Loyola's 3-2 win over UIC. Started in Loyola's 1-1 draw with Central Arkansas.

Andrew Lightner (Dayton) - D - RSo - Started in Dayton's 2-2 draw with Saint Louis.

Andrew Miller (Baker University) - D - Jr - Did not play in Baker's 1-1 draw with Avila.

Nate Opperman (University of Evansville) - F - Jr - Started in Evansville's 3-0 loss to Louisville. Came on as a substitute and had an assist in Evansville's 4-1 win over Drake.

Derek Schrick (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF - Jr - Did not play in either of UMKC's games.

Chris Tuso (Baker) - MF - Jr - Did not play in Baker's 1-1 draw with Avila.

Shane Woods (Drury University) - F - Jr - Did not play in either of Drury's games.

Class of 2013

Joe Amico (Jacksonville) - D - So - Came on as a substitute in Jacksonville's 1-0 loss to Georgia State. Startd in Jacksonville's 1-0 loss to Stetson.

Chris Arce (Neosho CC) - MF - So - Defeated Allen 2-1 in OT.

Matt Bernard (Drake) - MF - RFr - Did not play in either of Drake's games.

Paul Dean (Rockhurst University) - D - So - Started and had an assist in Rockhurst's 1-0 win over Drury. Started in Rockhurst's 1-0 loss to Missouri S&T.

Seo-In Kim (Duke) - MF - So - Started in Duke's 2-1 loss to Elon. Came on as a substitute in Duke's 2-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Adam Lightner (Northern Illinois University) - D - So - Came on as a substitute in Northern Illinois' 4-1 win over SIU Edwardsville. Came on as a substitute in Northern Illinois' 2-1 loss to Buffalo.

Clay Stewart - (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF/D - So - Started in UMKC's 3-2 win over Seattle. Came on as a substitute in UMKC's 1-0 win over Utah Valley.

Wes White (University of Missouri Kansas City) - F - RFr - Started and had a goal and an assist in UMKC's 3-2 win over Seattle. Started and had an assist in UMKC's 1-0 win over Utah Valley.

Austin Wilcox (University of Missouri Kansas City) - MF - So - Came on as a substitute and scored a goal in UMKC's 3-2 win over Seattle. Started in UMKC's 1-0 win over Utah Valley.

Drew Wilson (Fort Hays State University) - D - So - Started in Fort Hays' 2-1 win over Lindenwood. Started and scored a goal in Fort Hays' 1-1 draw with Northeastern.

Kyle Vassar - (University of Missouri Kansas City) - D - RFr - Did not play in either of UMKC's games

Class of 2014

Darby Cronin (University of Missouri Kansas City)- MF - Fr - Came on as a substitute in UMKC's 3-2 win over Seattle. Came on as a substitute in UMKC's 1-0 win over Utah Valley.

Andrew Dittemore (Missouri State) - GK - Fr - Did not play Missouri State's 1-0 win over Bradley.

Andy Ericks (Colorado School of Mines) - MF - Fr - Came on as a substitute in Colorado's 1-0 loss to Colorado-Colorado Springs. Came on as a substitute in Colorado's 3-0 win over Regis.

Heath Honold (Wake Forest) - F - Fr - Did not play in either of Wake's games.

Mason Leonard (Drake) - D - Fr - Started in Drake's 1-1 draw with Western Illinois. Started in Drake's 4-1 loss to Evansville.

Blake Levine (Baker) - F - Fr - Started in Baker's 1-1 draw with Avila.

Matthew Lewis (Fordham) - D - Fr - Started in Fordham's 2-0 loss to Massachusetts.

Andy Lopez (North Carolina) - MF - Fr - Did not play in UNC's 2-0 win over Boston College.

Noah Mudd (Trevecca) - D - Fr - Started in Trevecca's 2-0 loss to Shorter. Started in Trevecca's 7-2 loss to Cedarville.

Joey Piatczyc (West Virginia) - MF - Fr - Started in West Virginia's 2-1 win over Penn State. Started in West Virginia's 2-1 win over Bowling Green.

Cole Stevenson (Denver) - F - Fr - Came on as a substitute in Denver's 3-1 loss to Omaha.

Austin Williamson (Northeastern State University) - GK - Fr - Did not play in either of Northeastern's games.

Zach Wright (North Carolina) - F - Fr - Came on as a substitute in UNC's 2-0 win over Boston College.

S.A.S. Monday After Stats

Matt Besler made his 150th appearance in league play for Kansas City, he's the 8th player to hit that mark for KC.

Besler also broke his tie with Mo Johnston and Michael Harrington for league appearances and now has sole possession of 8th place.

In the 23rd minute, Graham Zusi moved past Josh Wolff and into 13th place for minutes played in all competitions. He finished the game with 13,007 minutes played.

Dom Dwyer made his 50th league appearance for KC, he's the 53rd player to hit that mark for KC.

Seth Sinovic made his 141st appearance in all competitions for KC, tying him with Francisco Gomez and CJ Sapong for 19th on that list.

Sporting KC is Headed Back West

The long rumored demise of Chivas USA was finally confirmed today by MLS. The team has ceased operations and their players will be dispersed via a draft. The team folding and the addition of New York City FC and Orlando City SC means that the Eastern Conference has 12 teams and the West has only 8, meaning realignment has taken place as well.

As part of the realignment, Sporting Kansas City is heading back to the Western Conference along with the Houston Dynamo. Kansas City started in the West when MLS was launched in 1996. KC was in the conference until the 2005 season when they moved to the East to accommodate the additions of Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake. So after 10 years in the East, Sporting will now get to attempt to rebuild rivalries with Colorado, Dallas, and LA that were lost a bit with the move to the East. It, I feel, has been one of the blows for KC in creating a rivalry. KC and Dallas originally looked like they could develop one after the playoffs in 1996, but the addition of Chicago in 1998 and the creation of the Brimstone Cup helped to stop that. Then came the move East where the likes of Chicago and Columbus, KC's two closest Eastern rivals already had developed rivalries with teams. Sporting, with the rebranding tried to force the Chicago match up to become a rivalry, but it never really succeeded. The team did develop an on field rivalry with the Houston Dynamo, and they'll get to attempt to keep that with the move, but will now have to fight Dallas for that.

While the West is hands down the better conference, the same was true when KC originally moved East back in 2005. DC had just won MLS Cup over Kansas City, the Columbus Crew had won the Supporters' Shield (also over KC), and the Wizards had just won the US Open Cup.

Now we flip the script back to the West where Seattle holds two of the three trophies currently.

The good news for KC is that Sporting has done well against the West over the last few years, going 21-12-12 since the start of the 2011 season. They'll certainly need that sort of form to continue as they wouldn't have made the playoffs this year if they were in the West, finishing behind fifth place Vancouver who had 50 points.

The West will now have the last 10 MLS Cup finalists in the conference next season. It goes without saying, the West will be stacked next year. And with the new schedule, KC will play six of the teams three times next year, the other three they will play twice. Like this year KC would play each team in the other conference once a year.

As a KC fan who lived through Lamar Hunt putting this team up for sale I had a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. That dread is now what has manifested for Chivas fans. I know they didn't have a whole lot, neither did KC when Hunt put the team up for sale. My heart does go out to the die hard Chivas fans that I've met.

Sporting Loss Sees them Drop to the Fifth Seed

Sporting Kansas City's late season form continued to hurt them on Sunday at home against the New York Red Bulls as Sporting fell 2-0 at home to New York, dropping them from the third seed to the fifth seed, meaning a trip to New York on Thursday in an attempt to make the conference semifinals.

Kansas City came out with some fire looking to strike early. Dom Dwyer got played in with space behind New York in the eighth minute, but had his shot saved by Luis Robles and got cleared for a throw. Unfortunately for KC it'd really be their only shot on goal in the first half. KC had another opportunity in the 10th as Jacob Peterson played a decent lofted ball in to the back post for Kevin Ellis, but the right back put his effort over the bar giving New York a goal kick. In the 15th minute, Kansas City paid for not making more of the earlier opportunities as Bradley Wright-Phillips got played in behind KC's defense and beat Eric Kronberg to give New York the lead. Eric Alexander picked out the Golden Boot winner with a nice through ball that Ellis couldn't get a touch on. The Englishman then slotted the ball to the far post giving New York the 1-0 lead. With the lead, New York became the aggressor and KC's defense had to be on alert to keep New York from doubling the lead as Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler stepped up to block efforts from New York's attackers. KC couldn't create enough offensively in the first half to challenge New York, and dug themselves a hole that they'd have to try to dig out of in the second half.

In the second half, New York continued to be the more aggressive side. In the 54th minute they almost grabbed a second as a corner kick played to the back post was headed on goal by Dax McCarthy but Sal Zizzo was on the line to knock the ball away. In the 70th minute, New York doubled their lead. A long ball over the top for Wright-Phillips caused Collin a number of problems as he first tired to hold off the Englishman before losing the ball. Wright-Phillips collected the ball and lost Collin. Wright-Phillips started to attack Besler before cutting back and firing a shot inside the near post of Kronberg to double New York's lead and send KC reeling into the play in game. Down two goals, KC struggled to create opportunities, and it was New York that had the better chances on the counter. Wright-Phillips almost picked up the hattrick in the 83rd as he got played in behind KC's defense, but Kronberg came up with a big save and there was no one in the middle as Wright-Phillips tried to lay the ball off to a teammate. KC never seemed to really threaten the New York net late on as KC fell for the 5th time at home in league play this season, the most since the team rebranded after the 2010 season.

Wizards Man of the Match - None - Really no one stood out at all when it came to their work on the field. No one looked like they wanted to take over and really lift this team when they were struggling to create chances offensively. No one on defense had a shut down defense that stopped the New York attack from going, and no one in the midfield really controlled the game. Overall it just wasn't a great performance.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 4, Ellis 4, Collin 3, Besler 3, Sinovic 3, Olum 1, Nagamura 4, Zusi 4, Peterson 4, Dwyer 3, Zizzo 2. Subs Lopez 3, Dovale 3, Bieler 3.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Comets Breeze Past Dallas in Season Opener

The Missouri Comets opened the 2014-2015 inaugural season of the MASL last night in Dallas against the Dallas Sidekicks. The Sidekick had been a solid playoff team last year in the PASL, losing just 2 games, and going undefeated at home.

Last night though, the Comets showed the talent gap that would appear to exist between the old MISL and the PASL teams. Missouri took the game to the Sidekicks, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and holding a 6-2 lead at half time before winning 13-4.

With the new single point scoring system, that the Comets play the score may not look as impressive as other wins may have last year, but against a Dallas side that was pretty good and was very good at home, the win is impressive.

The Comets got goals from seven different players in the game, including four from Leo Gibson and three from Vahid Assadpour both of whom also chipped in two assists. Assadpour opened the scoring just under four minutes into the game. Shortly after, Alain Matingou scored his first goal for the Comets to double the lead. Brian Harris, last year's MISL Finals MVP finished the first quarter scoring a few minutes before the break.

The second quarter saw the Comets continue their strong play as Gibson got his first of the game just over a minute into the game. Dallas did find the net just before the 10 minute mark in the quarter, but the Comets responded two times before the half as Gibson scored on a shoot out attempt and Coady Andrews scored on the break to make it 6-1 before Dallas scored a second seconds before half time to end the half at 6-2.

The third quarter, the Comets were able to extend their lead. After Milan Ivanovic and Dallas' Cameron Brown traded goals early on, the Comets scored four unanswered goals through Assadpour, Andrew Braithwaite, and two more power play goals from Gibson to end the quarter up 11-3.

The Sidekicks cup into the lead in the fourth and ended Missouri's string of goals early in the quarter. The Comets though seemed content to sit back some and just let the clock run out. They did find time though to add two more goals late in the quarter as Ivanovic and Assadpour both found net again to finish off Dallas 13-4.

The Comets will now head to Chicago to take on another former PASL team, last year's champions the Chicago Mustangs. So it'll be a champ vs champ match up. This may be the bigger test of the talent level between the old MISL teams and the PASL teams.

What We Want to Happen 10/26

I haven't been doing these "what we want to happen" the past few game days because with Kansas City's position, none of the games have really had an effect on Kansas City. Today though, there is a big game that could have implications on Kansas City.

Philadelphia at Columbus
What we want to happen - Columbus loss

A loss by the Crew before Sporting even takes the field against New York would guarantee that KC at least hosts the play in game next week. Because the worst KC could then do is finish tied 49 points with the Crew, but KC holds the more wins tie breaker. Unfortunately I don't see that happening today, but it's what KC wants to happen.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Match Day 34 - Looking for Some Form

Heading into the final league game of the season Sporting Kansas City is looking to find some semblance of the form that they had earlier in the season and last season. Sporting has really struggled the second half of this season. Of the playoff teams, Kansas City has probably the worst record in the last 10 games, only 3-6-1 in those games heading into tomorrow's game against New York. The game is of huge importance to both teams as both are trying to find a way to finish in third place and avoid next week's play in game. New York needs to win and hop Columbus don't win, while just a win will guarantee the third seed for Kansas City.

New York comes into this game having lost last week to the Columbus Crew  3-1, a disappointing result against a fellow playoff team, especially at home. Like KC, New York had a midweek game, but unlike KC, the game was meaningless for New York who was already eliminated from advancing in the Champions League. Tomorrow's game could very well be a big turning point for New York, it could be the last regular season game in MLS for both Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill as Henry is out of contract and Cahill has been discontent this year, so this could be the final league game for both of New York's DPs. The Red Bulls are still dangerous with the likes of Henry and the likely golden boot winner, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Kansas City is a hurt, tired, run down team at this point. They'll be playing their third game in nine days in three different cities tomorrow after trips to Philadelphia, San Jose, and Kansas City, at least four players who started in the first two games will likely start the third. There's also the possibility of another player being added to that list if Matt Besler is not able to return. They'll also be going into the game with more injuries, as Benny Feilhaber is set to miss the game after turning his ankle against Saprissa. Kansas City will also have to deal with a makeshift right back as Igor Juliao is suspended and Jacob Peterson will likely be the one to fill in for him.

Kronberg
Peterson - Collin - Ellis - Sinovic
Olum - Nagamura
Zusi
Zizzo - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Remember - 0 - Since July 19th, when Sporting KC beat Los Angeles 2-1, Sporting KC has gone 0-4-1 against playoff teams (if Vancouver defeates Colorado tonight KC's record will fall to 0-5-1). On the season KC only has four wins in 15 games against playoff teams. Sporting's record has just not been good enough against the top of the table.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin/Jacob Peterson vs Bradley Wright-Phillips - I expect Peterson to fill in for the suspended Igor Juliao at right back. Earlier this year in Kansas City, Bradley Wright-Phillips found space between Juliao and Aurelien Collin and was able to exploit it and scored a goal against KC to earn a 1-1 draw. With a player who hasn't spent a lot of time at outside back, Collin is going to need to be communicating with his right back a lot to make sure the two stay in synch.

PREDICTION - New York is not good on the road, with only two wins away from home this year. Meanwhile KC is not that great of a team at home, having a 6-4-6 record at Sporting Park. For me this game has a draw written all over it. Kansas City is going to have a lot of tired legs from Thursday nigh in Costa Rica. That'll lead to some mistakes for the back line. New York though is poor defensively and will leave space for Kansas City to exploit. Unfortunately with all of KC's issues defensively and the makeshift back line, I am not sure that KC is going to be able to stop KC's attack. And with Columbus playing Philadelphia at home I expect these two teams will likely meet again mid-week in the play-in game.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Zusi)
RBNY - 2 (Henry, Wright-Phillips)

Friday, October 24, 2014

S.A.S. Friday After Stats

Not much stat wise from last night, but here are a couple.

Seth Sinovic started his 139th game in all competitions for KC, tying him with Graham Zusi for 15th on that list.

CJ Sapong made his 141st appearance in all competitions for KC, tying him with Francisco Gomez for 19th on that list.

Sporting Bow Meekly Out of the Champions League

Sporting Kansas City's run in the CONCACAF Champions League ended in Costa Rica tonight with a 2-0 loss to Deportivo Saprissa. Sarpissa's pressure all night kept KC on the back foot and Sporting never really go going offensively, recording just one shot on goal all game.

Starting a mix of starters and reserves, Sporting immediately went onto the back foot as Saprissa locked them in their own end from the start. Eric Kronberg in KC's net was called on often to make saves. The KC goalkeeper did well to parry a shot out for a corner early on to keep the game scoreless. KC withstood the Saprissa pressure in the first 20 minutes, but in the 22nd they finally gave way. A corner by Saprissa was headed on goal by an unmarked Saprissa player. Kronberg got in front of the ball but could only push it away instead of catching it. The ball fell into the path of Heiner Mora who made no mistake from a foot away giving Saprissa a 1-0 lead. The pressure continued from Saprissa, but they couldn't find another goal as KC limited their shots on goal. The goal though wasn't the worst news of the half for KC as Sporting's injury issues came to the surface again. In the 40th minute, Benny Feilhaber turned his ankle on a routine ball and had to be replaced by Soony Saad. Then in the 45th minute, Igor Juliao appeared to pull a hamstring and he too had to be substituted beforehalf.

Coming out for the second half, things couldn't have started worse for Sporting. Saprissa immediately won a corner. The corner was only partially cleared leading to a shot from distance. The shot deflected wide to Mora who had two Saprissa players in the box unmarked. He picked out Ariel Rodriguez who beat Lawrence Olum to the ball, turning it past Kronberg and into the net to make it 2-0 Saprissa and put KC out of the tournament for the moment. With the two goal lead, Saprissa did sit back a little bit, but still looked the more dangerous side on the counter. Rodriguez almost put a poor clearance by Kronberg into the net, and Kronberg twice had to make decent saves on a shot from distance and a 1v1 situation to keep the game at 2-0. Finally in the 65th minute, KC finally got a shot on goal as Toni Dovale turned and fired an effort towards the far post that ended up being easily saved by Donny Grant. KC did create some opportunities through set pieces, included Aurelien Collin flicking a throw in from Jacob Peterson to the far post, but no one from KC was there to tap the ball home. In the end there just wasn't enough from KC offensively to really threaten Saprissa and it really never did look like KC would threaten to find a goal that would have put them through.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jacob Peterson - Really no one looked that impressive tonight, Peterson, as he seems to always do at least had a drive on the field to try to make something happen.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 4, Juliao 4, Collin 4, Ellis 5, Sinovic 4, Olum 3, Claros 3, Feilhaber 4, Sapong 3, Bieler 3, Dovale 3. Subs Saad 4, Peterson 5, Dwyer 3.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Juliao Suspended for Season Finale


Sporting Kansas City's defensive issues just got worse ahead of Sunday's game against the New York Red Bulls. Today the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced that starting right back, Igor Juliao was suspended for one game and fined for his actions in KC's 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.



In the 55th minute, Juliao cleared a ball up field just in front of Philadelphia forward, Andrew Wenger. Juliao followed through on his kick, which didn't appear to be necessary and his cleats went into Wenger's midsection. The Disciplinary Committee stated that he "endangered the safety of his opponent," leading to the suspension.



It'll leave Kansas City with limited options against the Red Bulls. If Matt Besler is available, Peter Vermes could choose to play Kevin Ellis there, even though he's spent most of the season at center back. The other option, especially if Besler is still unavailable would be for Vermes to slide Jacob Peterson back to right back again. Peterson has played the outside back position for Kansas City a couple times already this year so it wouldn't be a shock move for him. Another option would be to put Sal Zizzo there, as he played there with the Portland Timbers. But based on Vermes use of him this year, that seems unlikely.