Thursday, July 30, 2015

#TBT KC All Star MVP Performance

With the all star game on Wednesday this past week, I thought I'd take a look at the last time a Kansas City player scored in the all star game and the only time a KC player has been named the all star game MVP.

In 1999, KC was suffering through their worst season in club history, but KC still had two players named to the all star team for the Western Conference as Alexi Lalas and Preki were named to the team in San Diego.

The game started quick with the East grabbing the lead in the first minute after a give away with Brian McBride feeding Roy Lassiter. Preki got himself on the board in the 13th as he leveled the game after being played through on the counter. Preki chipped his shot over Tom Presthus to tie the game at 1-1. The West was able to take the lead in the 32nd as the West pushed forward, Peter Nowak slid a ball through to Roman Kosecki who slid his shot under Presthus to give the West the lead. Four minutes later, Preki was involved again as he picked up the ball near midfield, dribbled through a couple East defenders, holding off challenges before playing a ball to Cobi Jones who fired a shot into the corner to make it 3-1 in the 36th. Two minutes later, Preki was back on the board again. After a number of passes the ball made it wide to Kosecki who crossed it into the middle for Preki to knock home.

Preki came off at half time, and as the second half went on the East made their come back. In the 62nd minute Marcelo Balboa brought down McBride in the box. Joe-Max Moore stepped up and beat Matt Jordan to make it 4-2. The next two East goals came due to some poor defense by the West as they failed to get the ball out of their own end. First in the 73rd Carlos Valderrama received a ball in the box, danced around Jordan before sliding the ball into the corner. Then after a poor back pass in the 83rd, Moore tried to beat Jordan to the ball. Jordan won the ball, but only knocked the ball into the path of Columbus' Stern John who scored to tie the game at 4-4. The tied score only lasted for a minute though as Mauricio Wright picked the ball up at midfield dribbled at the East defense before playing it wide to Ronald Cerritos who crossed it back to Wright who beat Walter Zenga to give the West the lead again. The West added to their lead in the 89th as Mauricio Cienfuegos cross into the box was turned in Cerritos to finish off the scoring at 6-4.

Preki was named the MVP of the game for his two goals and assist performance. 

You can check out the full match below.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Former SKC Wizards Update

Lots of goals from former KC players, six former players found the back of the net in their league play this week.

Here is this week's update.

Active without a club or unknown
Korede Aiyegbusi
Scott Angevine
Federico Bessone
Mitchell Cardenas
Bobby Convey
Herculez Gomez
Will John
Michael Kafari
Neal Kitson
Jonathan Leathers
Carlos Marinelli
Lawrence Olum
Nelson Pizarro
Ivan Trujillo
Konrad Warzycha

MLS
Davy Arnaud - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 3-2 win over Philadelphia.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Started and played 70 minutes in New England's 2-2 draw with Chicago.
Servando Carrasco - Orlando City - Did not dress in Orlando's 3-1 loss to Chicago. Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Orlando's 5-3 loss to NYC.
Aurelien Collin - Orlando City - Did not dress in Orlando's 3-1 loss to Chicago. Started and played 90 minutes in Orlando's 5-3 loss to NYC.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 87 minutes in RSL's 2-1 win over KC.
Michael Harrington - Colorado - No game this week.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 4-1 loss to Dallas.
Kei Kamara - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Columbus' 3-3 draw with Toronto.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Dressed but did not play in Toronto's 3-3 draw with Columbus.
Eric Kronberg - Montreal - Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 1-0 win over Seattle.
CJ Sapong - Philadelphia - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Philadelphia's 3-2 loss to DC.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Did not dress in San Jose's 3-1 loss to Vancouver.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 3-3 draw with Toronto.
Sal Zizzo - New York - No game this week.

NASL
Stefan Antonijevic - Tampa Bay - Started and played 40 minutes in Tampa's 3-1 loss to Fort Lauderdale.
James Marcelin - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 3-1 win over Tampa.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 2-1 loss to Ottawa. Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 3-1 win over Edmonton.
Kyle Miller - Atlanta - Did not dress in either of Atlanta's games.
Michal Mravec - Atlanta - Started and played 81 minutes in Atlanta's 2-1 loss to Ottawa. Came off the bench and played 4 minutes before being sent off in Atlanta's 3-1 win over Edmonton.

USL
Christian Duke - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 0-0 draw with St. Louis.
Brian Fekete - Austin - Did not play in Austin's 1-0 win over Arizona.
Adnan Gabeljic - Sacramento - No game this wek.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 0-0 draw with St. Louis.
Mechack Jerome - Charlotte - Started and played 90 minutes in Charlotte's 2-0 win over Montreal.
Alex Martinez - Charlotte - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Charlotte's 2-0 win over Montreal.
Victor Munoz - Arizona - Did not dres in Arizona's 1-0 loss to Austin.
Tony Rocha - Austin - Started and played 90 minutes in Austin's 1-0 winover Arizona.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 0-0 draw with St. Louis.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 4-3 loss to New York.

Indoor
Jamar Beasley - Ontario - Offseason.
Adnan Gabeljic - St. Louis - Offseason.
Josh Gardner - Missouri - Offseason.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Offseason.
Mike Jones - Dallas - Offseason.
Michal Mravec - Tacoma - Offseason.
Boris Pardo - Wichita - Offseason.

International
Vicente Arze - Blooming - Bolivia - Offseason.
Claudio Bieler - Quilmes - Argentina - Started and played 87 minutes, scoring a goal in Quilmes' 2-1 win over Racing.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-0 loss to Veracruz. Came off the bench and played 31 minutes, scoring a goal in Chivas' 2-0 win over Mineros de Zacatecas.
Reinaldo Brenes - AD Belen Siglo XXI - Costa Rica - Next game 8/2
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Jorge Claros - Qingdao Jonoon - China - Did not play in Qingdao's 2-0 loss to Tianjin Songjiang.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Lost 3-0 to Central Cordoba.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Did not dress in Ha Noi's 4-1 win over Thanh Hoa.
Toni Dovale - CD Leganes - Spain - Next game 8/22
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Did not play in Cucuta's 1-0 win over Patriotas Boyaca.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - Boavista - Brazil - Offseason.
Peterson Joseph - Azam FC - Tanzania - Offseason.
Igor Juliao - ABC (Fluminense) - Brazil - Did not play in either of ABC's games.
Igor Kostrov - FK Kyzyl-Zhar - Kazakhstan - No game until 8/1
Luis Marin - CD Palestino - Chile - Started and played 90 minutes in Palestino's 1-1 draw wtih Audax Italiano.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - No game until 8/4
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Started and played 62 minutes, scoring a goal in Spartak's 1-0 win over Krasnodar.
Akeem Priestley - Sheikh Russel KC - Bangladesh - Defeated Team BJMC 2-1.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes in Stjarnan's 4-1 loss to Celtic. Started and played 90 minutes in Stjarnan's 3-0 win over IBV.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - No game until 8/8.
Soony Saad - BCC Tero (loaned from BEC Tero Sasana FC) - Thailand - Offseason.
Peter Schmetz - Wuppertaler SV - Germany - Offseason.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Offseason.
Martin Steuble - Ceres-La Salle - Philippines - Defeated Socceroo 6-0.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - Came off the bench and played 13 minutes in Sarajevo's 1-0 loss to Lech Poznan. Did not play in Sarajevo's 6-1 win over Brina Zvornik.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Offseason.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday After Stats

Back from vacation here are your stats from Friday's game.

Benny Feilhaber's goal was his 14th in league play for KC, tying him with Jack Jewsbury for 17th place on that list.

The goal was his 16th in all competitions for KC, tying him with Aurelien Collin and Claudio Bieler for 20th on that list.

Feilhaber's goal was his 7th in league play away from home for KC, tying him with Eddie Johnson, Matt McKeon, and Mark Chung for 14th on that list.

It was his 8th in all competitions away from home for KC, tying him with Chung, Sasha Victorine, and Francisco Gomez for 15th on that list.

The assist was Roger Espinoza's 15th in league play for KC, tying him with Claudio Lopez and Chris Henderson for 16th on that list.

It was his 17th assist in all competitions, tying him with Lopez for 17th on that list.

Espinoza made his 149th appearance in all competitions, tying him with Chance Myers for 16th place on that list.

It was Espinoza's 129th league appearance for KC, breaking his tie with Jimmy Nielsen for 14th on that list.

Espinoza started his 109th league game for KC, breaking his tie with Diego Gutierrez for 18th on that list.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sporting Fall to Salt Lake on the Road Again

Sporting KC finished up their three games in seven day stretch in Salt Lake last night. Making some more changes to his eleven, Peter Vermes tired some further squad rotation to give some guys a break after a busy week. With the changes and exhaustion from the week, it wasn't surprising how the game started, with Salt Lake on the front foot.

KC had a good opportunity early on to take the lead on the counter though. On a ball over the top to Dom Dwyer, the Englishman found himself in behind the Salt Lake defense, but a lack of speed and a poor touch allowed Salt Lake's defense to recover before Dwyer could get a shot off. In the 34th minute, KC has made to pay for that early miss as Javier Morales was able to bring the ball down and weave between Soni Musivar, Marcel de Jong, and Matt Besler before slotting the ball past Tim Melia and into the net to make it 1-0 Salt Lake. RSL continued to pressure KC and looked the more likely to extend their lead. In the 43rd minute they almost did as Joao Plata was picked out on a cross to the back post, Plata's effort went over Melia but hit the cross bar and bounced away from danger as KC went into the half down 1-0.

At half time, Vermes made two changes, bringing on Benny Feilhaber and Amadou Dia for Mustivar and de Jong who'd both had poor first halves. It took Feilhaber just four minutes to impose his will on the game, receiving the ball about 25 yards or so from goal, Feilhaber fired a shot that beat Jeff Attinella and leveled the game for Kansas City. The game became more of a back and forth affair with both teams having their chances get he lead. In the 60th minute Salt Lake again made it look too easy getting through KC's defense as the ball got wide to Devon Sandoval out wide, his shot beat Melia, but didn't beat the post as the ball bounced back into play. At the other end of the field, Jacob Peterson should have given KC the lead. After some work down the left, the ball got knocked towards the corner by Salt Lake, Krisztian Nemeth raced onto the ball and played the ball into the middle for Peterson, but Attinella came up with a big save to deny Peterson. The miss proved costly in the 71st minute as Olmes Garcia raced down the side and beat Erik Palmer-Brown to get into the box, Melia had come off his line, but Garcia touched the ball past him and was fouled by the KC goalkeeper. Referee Allen Chapman immediately pointed to the spot. Plata stepped up for Salt Lake and put the ball low into the corner, Melia guessed right but couldn't get his hand on the shot. Shortly after KC had another good opportunity to score as Dwyer found space in the box and played a ball back across goal for Peterson who was all alone, but again his shot couldn't beat Attinella who made a good save getting across the goal. KC struggled to create chances from there and Salt Lake was able to take the 2-1 win.

Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - Winning this for last night has as much to do with how poor the KC offense looked in the first half as it does with his performance in the second half. KC just looked completely incapable of doing much in the offensive half of the field without Feilhaber (or Graham Zusi) on the field. In the second he provided the spark KC needed.

Player Ratings - Melia 4, Abdul-Salaam 4, Palmer-Brown 4, Besler 4, de Jong 3, Mustivar 4, Espinoza 5, Nagamura 4, Nemeth 4, Dwyer 4, Peterson 3. Subs Feilhaber 6, Dia 4, Hallisey 3.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Match Day 19: Ready to Accept the Consiquences

Tomorrow night Sporting KC finish up their busy three games in seven day stretch with a game in Salt Lake. After a week that's seen them win against Montreal and advance to the US Open Cup semifinals, the team ends their stretch with one of the more difficult road trips in MLS. Salt Lake has never been an easy place to play, and KC is already 0-1 there this season. In fact, since the beginning of May, the trip to Salt Lake back in June is KC's only loss, they've gone 10-1-2 across all competitions since the beginning of May, which is when Tim Melia took over in goal for KC.

Salt Lake comes into the game currently six points outside a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. Just recently, they traded the clubs all time leading scorer, Alvaro Saborio to DC United for midfielder, Luis Silva. Saborio's possession has become less needed with Sebastian Jaime rounding into form for Salt Lake. Even though he missed last week's game due to suspension, he's stil been a major threat for Salt Lake in recent weeks. They've also welcomed back Joao Plata, who has been out with injury for a good portion of the season. They also have the ever dangerous, Jaiver Morales, who will cause KC plenty of problems.

The main issue for KC in this game is going to be tired legs. KC just doesn't have the bodies right now to handle rotating the full squad after many have already played 180 minutes this week. Some of them are going to have to go 270 with tomorrow's game. But who does rotate in for the game? Does Amobi Okugo make his debut for KC less than a week after joining the club? Does Peter Vermes rest one of his central midfielders and insert Paulo Nagamura? Does Marcel de Jong get his first start since returning from the Gold Cup? I think a number of these answers are probably yes. I think Vermes is going to come into this game with a more conservative strategy after having to exert so much energy having to fiht back on Tuesday against the Dynamo.

Melia
Abdul-Salaam - Okugo - Besler - de Jong
Mustivar
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth



Number to Remember - 4 - That's the number of games in a row KC has technically gone without a win against Salt Lake. KC's last win was back in 2013 when Ike Opara scored in stoppage time to "drench" Rio Tinto in sorrow. MLS Cup 2013, while KC won, technically goes down as a draw while two 0-0 draws in KC in 2014 and 2015 and a loss in June in Utah get us to the 4 games.

Key Match Up - Soni Mustivar vs Javier Morales - The Salt Lake player continues to be a danger man every single game. Operating behind the strikers, it'll fall on Mustivar to really make sure he doesn't get enough space, while at the same time not giving Salt Lake dangerous free kicks around the top of the box, cause he'll make KC pay.

PREDICTION- After Tuesday and getting the win on the road, I'm not sure that there's a Sporting KC game I've worried less about losing. While getting a win here would be huge especially with the games in hand, I'm not worried as much as I should be if KC loses the game. KC threw out their best 11 on Tuesday to get the win, I understand Vermes line of thinking there and applaud it. I now fully accept the consiquences of those actions with a quick turn around on the road, at altitude against a strong opponent.

SKC - 0
RSL - 2 (Morales, Garcia)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

S.A.S. Wednesday After Stats

The win was KC's 300th in all competitions in the club's history.

Dom Dwyer's goal was his 5th in the US Open Cup in all versions of it, and in the USOC proper, that ties him with Davy Arnaud and Igor Simutenkov for first place on that list in the USOC proper, and with Arnaud, Simutenkov, and CJ Sapong when including qualifiers.

Dwyer's goal was his 24th at home in all competitions, breaking his tie with Chris Klein for 4th on that list.

Roger Espinoza's assist was his 16th in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Diego Gutierrez, Chris Henderson, Michael Harrington, and Chance Myers for 18th place on that list.

In the 41st minute, Espinoza moved past Chris Klein and into 3rd place for minutes played in the USOC proper, he finished the game with 904 minutes played in the USOC.

Espinoza made his 148th appearance in all competitions, breaking his tie with Gutierrez and Seth Sinovic for 17th on that list.

Espinoza started his 124th game in all competitions

Chance Myers, Matt Besler, and Espinoza all moved past Eric Kronberg in minutes played in the US Open Cup and qualifiers and into 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively finishing with 1,061, 1.040, and 1,024

Myers and Besler made their 13th appearance in the US Open Cup and qualifiers, tying them with Michael Harrington for 3rd on that list.

Espinoza and Jacob Peterson made their 11th appearance in the US Open Cup and qualifiers for KC, tying them with Preki for 8th on that list.

Besler and Peterson made their 11th appearance in the US Open Cup proper, tying them with Preki for 3rd on that list.

Myers and Espinoza made their 10th appearance in the US Open Cup proper, tying them with Klein and CJ Sapong for 6th on that list.

Carrasco Joins List of Former Wizards - Former SKC Wizards Update

Servando Carrasco is the latest player to join the list of former SKC Wizards after his trade this week. He headed straight for Chicago to meet up with Orlando ahead of their US Open Cup game tonight.

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

Active without a club or unknown
Scott Angevine
Federico Bessone
Bobby Convey
Will John
Michael Kafari
Neal Kitson
Jonathan Leathers
Carlos Marinelli
Lawrence Olum
Nelson Pizarro
Ivan Trujillo
Konrad Warzycha

MLS
Davy Arnaud - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 2-1 loss to Dallas.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Started and played 72 minutes in New England' 1-0 win over NYC.
Servando Carrasco - Orlando City - Just traded to Orlando.
Aurelien Collin - Orlando City - Started and played 90 minutes in Orlando's 2-0 loss to New York.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Salt Lake's 2-0 win over Houston.
Michael Harrington - Colorado - Started and played 90 minutes in Colorado's 1-0 win over Seattle.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Dressed but did not play in Portland's 1-1 draw with Vancouver.
Kei Kamara - Columbus - Started and played 89 minutes, scoring a goal in Columbus' 1-0 win over Chicago. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Columbus' 3-1 win oer Chicago.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Suspended for Toronto's 2-1 win over Philadelphia.
Eric Kronberg - Montreal - Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 2-1 loss to KC.
CJ Sapong - Philadelphia - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Philadelphia's 2-1 loss to Toronto. Suspended for Philadelphia's 1-1(4-3) shootout win over New York.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Did not dress in San Jose's 5-2 loss to LA.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-0 win over Chicago. Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 3-1 win over Chicago.
Sal Zizzo - New York - Came off the bench and played 20 minutes in New York's 2-0 win over Orlando. Came off the bench and played 50 minutes in New York's 1-1(4-3) shootout loss to Philadelphia.

NASL
Stefan Antonijevic - Tampa Bay - Started and played 90 minutes in Tampa's 1-0 loss to Edmonton.
James Marcelin - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Haiti's 1-0 loss to Mexico.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 2-2 draw with Fort Lauderdale.
Kyle Miller - Atlanta - Did not dress in Atlanta's 2-2 draw with Fort Lauderdale.
Michal Mravec - Atlanta - Started and played 64 minutes in Atlanta's 2-2 draw with Fort Lauderdale.

USL
Christian Duke - Oklahoma City - Came off the bench and played 24 minutes in OKC's 1-1 draw with Tulsa.
Brian Fekete - Austin - Came off the bench and played 45 minutes in Austin's 4-1 win over Arizona.
Adnan Gabeljic - Sacramento - No game this week.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 1-1 draw with Tulsa.
Mechack Jerome - Charlotte - Started and played 90 minutes in Haiti's 1-0 loss to Jamaica.
Alex Martinez - Charlotte - Started and played 83 minutes in Charlotte's 0-0 draw with Rochester.
Victor Munoz - Arizona - Did not play in Arizona's 4-1 loss to Austin.
Tony Rocha - Austin - Started and played 90 minutes in Austin's 4-1 win over Arizona.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 1-1 draw with Tulsa.
Yomby William - Richmond - No game this week.

Indoor
Jamar Beasley - Ontario - Offseason.
Adnan Gabeljic - St. Louis - Offseason.
Josh Gardner - Missouri - Offseason.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Offseason.
Mike Jones - Dallas - Offseason.
Michal Mravec - Tacoma - Offseason.
Boris Pardo - Wichita - Offseason.

International
Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - Offseason
Vicente Arze - Blooming - Bolivia - Offseason.
Claudio Bieler - Quilmes - Argentina - Started and played 90 minutes in Quilmes' 2-1 loss to Boca Juniors.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Next game is 7/24
Reinaldo Brenes - Saprissa - Costa Rica - Offseason.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - Offseason.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Jorge Claros - Qingdao Jonoon - China - Returning from Gold Cup
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Tied Midland 1-1.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Dressed but did not play in Trinidad's 4-4 draw with Mexico. Started and played 120 minutes in Trinidad's 1-1 (6-5) shootout loss to Panama.
Toni Dovale - CD Leganes - Spain - Next game 8/22
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Did not play in Cucuta's 5-0 loss to Santa Fe.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla - Mexico - Next game is 7/25.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - Boavista - Brazil - Offseason.
Peterson Joseph - Azam FC - Tanzania - Offseason.
Igor Juliao - ABC (Fluminense) - Brazil - No game his week.
Igor Kostrov - FK Kyzyl-Zhar - Kazakhstan - No game until 8/1
Luis Marin - CD Palestino - Chile - Dressed but did notplay in Palestino's 2-0 loss to Union Espanola. Started and played 90 minutes in Palestino's 4-2 loss to Union Espanola.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - No game until 8/4
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Started and played 63 minutes in Spartak's 2-2 draw with UFA.
Akeem Priestley - Sheikh Russel KC - Bangladesh - Lost 5-0 Abahani. Lost 4-3 to Sheikh Jamal.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Started and played 63 minutes in Stjarnan's 1-1 draw with IA.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - No game until 8/8.
Soony Saad - BCC Tero (loaned from BEC Tero Sasana FC) - Thailand - Offseason.
Peter Schmetz - Wuppertaler SV - Germany - Offseason.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Offseason.
Martin Steuble - Ceres-La Salle - Philippines - Defeated Green Archers 7-0. Defeated Kaya 2-0.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - Started and played 66 minutes in Sarajevo's 2-0 loss to Lech Poznan.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Offseason.

Espinoza's Punch

One of the big talking points of last night's win was the altercation around the 65th minute that involved Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza. In the 66th minute, with KC trailing 1-0, Sporting was driving forward looking for an equalizer. As Espinoza moved forward, playing the ball ahead to Dom Dwyer, he ran into Ricardo Clark, who had raised his elbow as Espinoza ran into him. Seconds later, Dwyer was fouled by Leonel Miranda in a very dangerous position at the top of the box.
Espinoza though had taken exception to the fact that Clark had raised his elbow up as Espinoza came in. With Clark already on a yellow at the time, Espinoza seems to have felt that the challenge was a foul itself and should have resulted in Clark being the second Houston Dynamo player to be sent off on the night and Espinoza let Clark know about it. David Horst came in and gave Espinoza a shove to separate the two players as the two teams came together. Referee Ted Unkel stepped in and attempted to regain order. For a moment it appeared that he had as the players started to get set up for the free kick. Then on the broadcast the camera angle changes to show the entire team and you catch Espinoza and Brad Davis together with Espinoza appearing to throw a punch at the Dynamo captain and landing on his chin. Davis and his teammates immediately throw their hands up looking to see if the referee saw it, but Unkel had his back to the pair getting the play set up for the free kick. You can see the punch in slo-mo here.
From there Unkel pulled the two aside with Sporting captain Matt Besler and told the two to calm down. Seconds after he was done though Davis was back in Espinoza's face and eventually Unkel just gave both Espinoza and Davis a yellow card.
In reality, Espinoza was lucky to stay on the field (and you can argue the same about Clark since he was already on a yellow at the time) for the punch he threw against Davis. And I'd suspect that US Soccer will review the tape and Espinoza is likely going to miss time in the US Open Cup. I would expect Espinoza to miss at least the semifinal against Real Salt Lake on August 12th due to a retroactive suspension, and wouldn't be surprised if he's out longer when US Soccer comes down with their review of the incident. US Soccer hasn't ruled on an incident like this in the recent past, but they have recently handed down suspensions to Clint Dempsey and Cuauhtémoc Blanco. Both players received six game or two year suspensions from the US Open Cup, whichever is longer, Dempsey for taking the referee's book and tearing it, while Blanco was suspended for punching DC United player Clyde Simms and poking him in the eye, he also head butted a DC United employee as he was being escorted off the field.
Hopefully any suspension for Espinoza isn't anywhere near that severe, but we'll see, if he is suspended KC at least has Paulo Nagamura available to step into his role in the midfield if Espinoza is out.

The Name of the Game is Survive and Advance

Survive and advance, that's the cliche that a lot of people use went it comes to advancing in a knockout tournament, you don't always need to play well, you just need to survive and advance. That's exactly what Sporting KC did last night at Sporting Park against the Houston Dynamo. They weren't playing their best soccer of the year by far, but an early red card by the Dynamo and some tired legs late allowed KC to advance to the US Open Cup semifinals with a 3-1 win over the Houston club.

The first half of the game was an extremely ugly game to watch from both teams, neither side was creating much in the way of chances, and the build up play was not pretty either. The Dynamo controlled the early part of the game though, winning a number of set pieces and corners in KC's end of the field. It seemed that KC hadn't learned their lesson from their 4-4 draw in Houston earlier this year and not giving Houston a bunch of set pieces with Brad Davis serving in set pieces. The game changed in the 30th minute though as Luis Garrido tried to win the ball off Benny Feilhaber, the ball got played back to Amadou Dia, Garrido followed the ball and as Dia released it, Garrido came in with a sliding challenge with his studs up, going through Dia completely missing the ball. Referee Ted Unkel went to his back pocket and handed Garrido a straight red card for his actions putting the Dynamo down to 10 men. From there, KC started to control and dominate play, but they still struggled to create chances as the first half ended 0-0 with neither team recording a shot on goal.

The second half saw KC continue to dominate play and keep Houston in their end of the field. The Dynamo relied on counters to get any chances at KC's net. In the 58th they won themselves a corner after a poor back pass by Matt Besler. Off the ensuing set piece, the Dynamo made KC pay for one set piece too many. Davis played corner right into the middle of the box for Ricardo Clark, the midfielder put his header on frame but was blocked on the line by Roger Espinoza, the rebound fell to Will Bruin who knocked his effort between Espinoza and Tim Melia to make it 1-0 to the Dynamo. KC went back to the attack and minutes later had won a penalty kick and a chance to equalize after Davis brought down Chance Myers in the box. Dom Dwyer stepped up to take the spot kick, but his kick was poor, not in either corner and at a comfortable level for Joe Willis to make an easy save keeping Houston on top. It wouldn't be a Houston vs KC game without a small dust up though and in the 65th minute, Espinoza was taken down by an elbow by Clark. In the ensuing scuffle between the two teams, Davis and Espinoza got into it a bit and it appears that Espinoza threw a punch at Davis which none of the referees saw. Both Davis and Espinoza received a yellow card on the play. The Dynamo were starting to tire though, many of the players had gone 90 minutes on the weekend against Salt Lake and the heavy legs began to show. In the 71st, Clark was late to react to a through ball by Besler as he slid late, missing the ball as it slipped through to Feilhaber. The missed tackle gave Feilhaber time at the top of the box to pick his corner and he buried his shot low past Willis to tie the game at 1-1. From there Sporting continued to control and always looked the more likely team to find a second as they kept Houston pinned deep. Finally in the 86th, KC was able to capitalize on their possession again and take the lead. Dia played a nice ball into the middle for Krisztian Nemeth who flicked the ball with the outside of his foot into the path of Dwyer as he ran into the box. Dwyer took a touch and made no mistake slotting the ball into the near corner past Willis and giving KC a 2-1 lead. Two minutes later with the Dynamo looking tired and defeated, KC made it 3-1 as Dwyer received a pass from Espinoza and picked out Nemeth in the box, Nemeth settled the ball and fired a shot towards the far corner. On the way through though the ball took a big deflection off of Houston defender, AJ Cochran and deflected into the middle of the goal. With Willis having already commited on the initial shot he had no chance to adjust as the ball went into the net sealing the game for KC. KC now move on to the semifinals where they'll host Real Salt Lake for a chance at the finals.

Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber
- Seemed to put the team on his back last night, especially after they had gone down a goal, he was trying to will a goal to happen with his play. He was rewarded with the tying goal, but overall carried the team last night when it looked sluggish.

Player Ratings - Melia 5, Myers 6, Ellis 4, Besler 4, Dia 5, Mustivar 5, Espinoza 5, Feilhaber 7, Hallisey 4, Dwyer 6, Nemeth 6. Subs Peterson 6, Nagamura NR, Abdul-Salaam NR.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Match Day USOC: KC Welcome a Familiar Rival

For the fourth time in five years, Sporting Kansas City welcome the Houston Dynamo to Sporting Park for a knock out game. This time the game is a US Open Cup quarterfinal match tomorrow night, with the winner hosting Real Salt Lake in the competitions semifinal.

Both teams come into the game having had a competitive game on the weekend, Houston was in Salt Lake for a league game against RSL. Houston put out the best lineup that they had available with injuries and call ups and ended up losing 2-0. They travel to KC for their second game in eight days in three cities when they come into Sporting Park tomorrow. They will have designated player, Erick Torres available for the game and he could make his debut for the Dynamo tomorrow night. With them having an important game against the Galaxy at home on Saturday, their lineup could be another mix, as much as they can.

KC is just as busy as Houston is, they're playing their second of three games in seven days tomorrow night before a trip to Salt Lake for a game this Friday. They're in a situation similar to Houston in the fact that they just don't have a lot of depth right now, although they're getting healthier with Paulo Nagamura and Chance Myers returning from injury and Marcel de Jong back from the Gold Cup. Two of those three I'd think would get the start tomorrow night and I wouldn't be surprised if all three of them start for KC tomorrow as Peter Vermes has to have a bit of an eye towards Friday and the trip to RSL, even if the Open Cup is a priority this year.

Melia
Myers - Ellis - Besler - de Jong
Mustivar
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Hallisey - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 29 - This is the number of times that KC and Houston will have played in all competitions after tomorrow's game. That's the most games against any team in the Dynamo's history.

Key Match Up - KC Defense vs Erick Torres - The former Chivas USA forward joined the Dynamo after Chivas ceased operations, but he's yet to play a game for the Dynamo as he's been on loan with Chivas Guadalajara as part of the deal that saw MLS permanently purchase his contract. He's not available to play for Houston and traveled with the club for this trip to Salt Lake and KC. If he plays tomorrow, KC's defense is going to need to be on top of their game to take care of business.

PREDICTION - Both teams are in an extremely busy part of the their schedule and both will probably need to use some of the depth that neither really has at the moment. Still, at home, with the home form that KC has shown this year, this is a game that KC should be able to win, they haven't had to travel from Saturday to today, they've gotten to stay at home. It may not be pretty tomorrow, but it's a game that KC should be able to take.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Feilhaber)
HOU - 1 (Davis)

Sporting Trade Carrasco to Orlando for Okugo

Sporting KC looks like they are on the verge of addressing some of their defensive needs in the very near future. According to both Goal.com and the KC Star, Sporting KC is trading midfielder Servando Carrasco and other considerations to Orlando City in exchange for Amobi Okugo. The trade would see two players that have lost their starting spot switching teams.
Okugo can play in the midfield or in defense. He's mainly played in the midfield over the last couple years, but has also played a number of times in central defense when he was with the Philadelphia Union. With KC fairly set at defensive midfield right now with the likes of Soni Mustivar and Roger Espinoza, one would think that Okugo could come in and challenge Kevin Ellis for the starting position next to Matt Besler in central defense.
At 24, Okugo is also still young but is in his 6th season in MLS after spending his first five years with the Union. He'd played well there and was looking for a pay increase or a move abroad. In the end, Okugo was traded to the expansion Orlando City side. He played 15 times for them, starting nine times, but has not started a game since May 8th against New England. Instead he's been relegated to cameo roles off the bench for the most part.
The immediate worry for those that looked at the trade on the surface is the fact that Okugo is set to make $275,000 in base salary and $300,000 in guaranteed compensation according to the players' union salaries, but it looks like Orlando will be helping out there as well, apparently picking up $200,000 of Okugo's cap hit over the rest of this season and next season too.
One has to assume that KC is probably throwing in some allocation money or the new Targeted Allocation Money in the deal as well. As a whole this trade probably benefits everyone involved, Okugo and Carrasco get a change of scenery after it's become apparent neither is going to get a lot of field time with their current club. KC gets a young player who can play center back, a position that KC really needed to address in this transfer window while Orlando gets some cap relief.

The trade means that over the last three years or so, Peter Vermes has turned a 4th round supplemental draft pick into Okugo. Sporting traded a fourth round supplemental draft pick to San Jose for the rights to Michael Thomas. A couple years later, KC traded Thomas to Toronto in exchange for a 2015 second round pick. This year ahead of the draft, KC traded that pick to Houston in exchange for Carrasco, who has now been traded to Orlando for Okugo.