Sunday, August 31, 2014

FC Kansas City Win NWSL Championship

I'm one of those people that hasn't fully embraced the whole "Soccer Capital of America" that Sporting Kansas City started last season around the all star game. After today I may be starting to believe in it. At this time, KC hold the championships of all three leagues that they have teams competing in. With FC Kansas City's 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign in the NWSL Championship today, Kansas City now is home to the current holders of MLS Cup (Sporting KC), the NWSL Championship (FC Kansas City), and the indoor league previously known as the MISL (Missouri Comets). A big accomplishment for a city that was drawing flies for their one professional soccer team only a few years ago.

It wasn't easy for FCKC today though. The home side, Reign, came out with a good high press early in the game, pinning the Blues deep in their own end. After enduring the early pressure though, the Blues started to create chances of their own. In the 20th minute after the Reign failed to clear the ball, Jenna Richmond had a shot from the top of the box that hit the outside of the post and bounced out of play. Two minutes later, FCKC went on top. Lauren Holiday led a break, running at a number of Seattle defenders before playing the ball through for Amy Rodriguez who made a diagonal run to stay on side. Rodriguez controlled the ball into the box, looked up as Hope Solo came up and calmly shot the ball over her and into the net giving FCKC the 1-0 lead. Seattle almost responded immediately but Nicole Barnhart made a nice kick save at the near post on Kim Little. Seattle picked up the pressure and shortly after, Little set up Naho Kawasumi on a platter with a nice cross, but Kawasumi headed the ball wide from six yards out. KC had chances of their own, in the 36th a cross into the box was almost turned in by Rodriguez at the near post, but was just wide. 

Early in the second half, the Reign had another good opportunity as Megan Rapinoe lofted a cross to the back post where Kawasumi put it on goal, but right into the arms of Barnhart. The pressure continued with Little testing Barnhart with a free kick from the top of the box, but right at the US national team keeper as she held onto the shot. Minutes later FCKC made the Reign pay for the lack of finishing. Holiday again was the architect, receiving the ball out wide and then dribbling down field towards goal. She got into the box, splitting two more Seattle defenders before laying a ball back into the path of Rodriguez who fired into the net to double KC's advantage. A fantastic run by Holiday to set up the goal. With the two goal lead, KC sat back just a little bit, and the Reign took advantage, creating a number of opportunities, but not able to find the net. Rapinoe hit the elbow of the goal in the 84th minute off a deflected shot, but the ball went out for a corner. Late on the Blues had trouble finding possession, instead resorting to booting the ball down field away from danger each time they were able to. In the 87th the Reign finally found the back of the net, making things interesting. A corner was headed off the cross bar by substitute, Mariah Nogueira, the rebound came back to her where she appeared to be fouled by KC's Sarah Hagen. No call was made, eventually the ball fell to Rapinoe at the top of the box. Seattle continued to throw numbers forward late on, but were unable to find another goal and FCKC walked out of Seattle with the championship, the club's first in their second season of existence. Holiday was named the MVP of the Championship for her two assists, and it's hard to argue with, she showed the form that won her the league's MVP award last year and did a marvelous job setting up both of Rodriguez's goals.

And now this tifo by the Blue Crew from earlier this season seems prophetic.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

S.A.S. Saturday After Stats

Martin Steuble was the 30th different player to start a league game for KC this year.

In the 9th minute, Graham Zusi hit the 10,000 minute mark in league play for his MLS career. He's the 15th player to hit that mark for KC.

Zusi made his 166th appearance in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Josh Wolff for 12th on that list.

Zusi made his 108th start in league play, breaking his tie with Uche Okafor and moving him into a tie with Diego Gutierrez for 16th place on that list.

Dom Dwyer scored his 19th league goal, tying him with Teal Bunbury for 12th all time on that list.

The goal was Dwyer's 21st in all competitions, tying him with Mark Chung for 12th on that list.

Dwyer scored his 10th home goal of the season, he's only the third player to hit 10 in a season at home (Preki 14 1996, Ditigal Takawira 10 1996).

The goal was Dwyer's 12th home goal in league play, tying him with Graham Zusi for 11th on that list.

It was his 13th home goal in all competitions, tying him with Zusi, Chris Brown, and Mark Chung for 12th on that list.

Benny Feilhaber picked up his 14th assist in all competitions as a member of KC, tying him with Chance Myers for 20th on that list.

In the 13th minute, Seth Sinovic moved past Sean Bowers and into 19th place for league minutes played, Sinovic finished the game with 9,256 minutes played.

Sinovic made his 105th start in league play for KC, breaking his tie with Bowers for 19th place on that list.

Matt Besler made his 171st appearance in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Michael Harrington for 9th on that list.

Sporting Fall at Home Again

Sporting Kansas City finds themselves in a rare situation from the past few years. For the first time since opening Sporting Park, and the first time since 2010, KC has lost back to back home games, falling 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo. It's also the first time since 2010 that KC has allowed three goals in back to back matches (4-3 win over Houston 3-1 loss to Dallas). Last week it was a lack of organization and counters that killed KC in their loss to DC, this week it was an inability to follow marks on set pieces that doomed Kansas City.

The game lasted just 17 minutes before a storm passing through the area caused a 90 plus minute delay in the game. The delay came at a good time for KC, as the Dynamo had been the better team through the early part of the game. Immediately after the restart the Dynamo had a good opportunity off a corner, with the ball being flicked to the back post for Jermaine Taylor, but the defender headed the ball over the bar. KC almost found the lead in the 26th when Kevin Ellis flicked a Graham Zusi corner on goal. Tally Hall though made a good reaction save and the ball was cleared away before a finishing touch could be put on the ball. KC regreted that miss minutes later as a ball played into the box by Kofi Sarkodie was touched by Aurelien Collin but not cleared. The ball bounced perfectly for Will Bruin who one timed his shot past Jon Kempin and into the corner to make it 1-0 Dynamo. Things started to get a bit out of hand just before half time. Setting up for a corner, Benny Feilhaber ran to get the ball for Zusi. The Dynamo's Sarkodie was standing on the ball, Feilhaber ran up and pushed Sarkodie off the ball. Sarkodie responded by shoving Feilhaber back. This caused both sets of players to come together. Once everything was clear, referee Mark Geiger gave yellow cards to both Feilhaber and Sarkodie. The yellow for Feilhaber and an earlier one for Dom Dwyer will see both players suspended for KC's midweek trip to New England.

The second half saw KC come out quickly looking for an equalizer. It took them almost 10 minutes but they got it. CJ Sapong had the ball tackled away about 35 yards from goal. The ball fell to Feilhaber to pushed the ball past a defender and into the box. He squared the ball for Dwyer. KC's leading scorer took a touch and shot, the ball took a deflection that carried it past Hall and into the net. The game wasn't level long though. in the 62nd minute the Dynamo went back on top. After a stupid foul by Collin to the right of Kempin's goal, Brad Davis played a beautiful free kick into the box. Dynamo defender David Horst had left Lawrence Olum standing and thumped a header past Kempin who had misjudged the play. Only five minutes later it was 3-1, again from a Davis free kick. This time from the opposite side his free kick was flicked on into the net by Ricardo Clark as the Dynamo added to their lead. KC controlled the final 20 plus minutes of the game but didn't really pressure Hall or Tyler Deric in the Houston goal too much. KC's struggles at home continued as they've now won just five of their 14 home games.

Wizards Man of the Match - Dom Dwyer - Really only because he put himself within one goal of tying Preki's team record for goals in a season. Not a good night all around for Kansas City ain.

Player Ratings - Kempin 4, Ellis 4, Collin 3, Besler 3, Sinovic 4, Olum 2, Steuble 3, Feilhaber 5, Zusi 4, Dwyer 5, Sapong 4. Subs Claros 4, Saad 4.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sporting KC form Partnership with Brazilian club, Fluminense FC

Sporting Kansas City announced today that they have entered into a "strategic partnership" with Brazilian club, Fluminense FC. The Brazilian club is the home club of current on loan defender, Igor Juliao. Based on the announcement, this is something that Sporting has been looking to do for at least a little while. According to head coach Peter Vermes, the team was looking for some very specific qualities and opportunities. Basically the team didn't want to get into a one sided partnership with a club where there wasn't a lot of give from the other team, and Sporting was giving up a lot.

As part of the partnership, Fluminense will loan at least one player to KC per MLS season for the length of the deal, which runs through 2016. Juliao has been good at times, and also frustrating as well so far during his season on loan with Kansas City. They will also loan players to Sporting KC's USL Pro affiliates. Currently that is the Oklahoma City Energy and Orlando City (although Orlando City is moving to MLS next year). Interestingly, OKC is not mentioned by name in the release, it just says KC's USL Pro affiliate.  

The teams will also work together, exchanging youth players, academy staff and training/coaching methodologies in the partnership. Academy players will get the opportunity to live, train, and compete abroad in the other team's academy system. 

The teams have also agreed to each host the other for an international friendly at their home venue and allow the other team to use their training facilities for preseason visits.

While this all sounds good, and has me excited for the partnership, I am also a little leery about the partnership. The reason? We've heard plenty of this before. Back in 2007, the then Kansas City Wizards announced a partnership with Club Atlas of the Mexican league. There were promises of player exchanges, annual home and away friendlies, and using the other team's facilities. All that came of that was Kansas City training there during the 2009 preseason, and then a friendly in 208 at Community America Ballpark that saw Kansas City win 2-1. During that time Atlas trained at Sporting's training facility in Swope Park as part of their preseason preparations. No player exchanges ever occurred, although there were a few rumors in Mexican media about players.  

So I'll remain cautiously optimistic about this until I see results. I do like that there is a guarantee of player movement coming in, but there are still questions. I know that KC ownership has learned from the Atlas experience and that's why it's been so long since the team had a partnership with a foreign club.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Match Day 26 - Welcoming a Wounded Rival

Sporting KC welcomes the Houston Dynamo, a team that Kansas City knows quite well over the last few years. Since 2011, no two teams have met more in MLS than these two. Both teams are heading into tomorrow's game with their tail between their legs a bit. Both Sporting and the Dynamo come into the game having lost their last game 3-0. Sporting fell 3-0 at home to DC United, while the Dynamo fell to the Columbus Crew 3-0 in Columbus.

The Dynamo are not a strong road team, they've won just one game on the road all year, and sit with a 1-10-1 record and a -22 goal difference. Their lone win came back in May, a 4-1 win over Chivas USA on the road, they're 0-7 since that time away from BBVA. They've also struggled to score on the road, they've only scored two times in the seven games since their last road win, both came in the same game, a 4-2 loss to Toronto. They will have the always dangerous, Brad Davis available for the game on the left wing, and potentially going up against Igor Juliao could be a key area for the Dynamo if Juliao starts.

Sporting KC's defense has not been it's normal self, really for about a month now. The club hasn't gotten a shutout since their 1-0 win in Portland, the team's last game with Eric Kronberg in net. After last week's loss against DC, Peter Vermes was quite critical of the team's defense. The comments would seem to say that we'll see some changes in the defense for tomorrow's games. The question is where. Does Juliao sit as many fans have been calling for, in favor of Kevin Ellis. Does Aurelien Collin or Matt Besler sit with Ellis or Lawrence Olum slotting in for one of them? The one thing that does appear clear is that Jon Kempin will get a third straight league start in goal as Andy Gruenebaum is not quite ready to return from his injury.

Kempin
Ellis - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Claros
Feilhaber - Zusi
Dovale - Dwyer - Saad

Number to Remember - 2009 - That's the last time that Sporting lost a home league game to the Dynamo. KC is 4-0-3 at home in league play since then. And it's not just that stretch, Kansas City has a decent home record recently against the Dynamo, since the loss in the 2011 playoffs, 2-0-3 at home against the Dynamo, and since the 2012 playoff loss on the road, KC is 3-0-2 against the Dynamo. So Vermes may have finally figured out Dominic Kinnear a bit.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Houston center backs - Houston's center backs have struggled this year with the departure of Bobby Boswell. They've platooned center backs with Jermaine Taylor, Eric Brunner, AJ Cochran, and David Horst. No matter which two of those four start, I like Dwyer's ability to get behind or past the pair.

PREDICTION - The Dynamo are a poor road team. No wins since May, only two goals in those seven losses since their last road win. This is a game that KC not only should win, but has to win if they expect to fight for the Supporters' Shield and the top of the East. This is the type of game, against an inferior opponent where you make a statement of intent. You show that Saturday night was a fluke and you beat the Dynamo.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer x2)
HOU - 0

Why Sporting Should Not Bring Back Kei Kamara

Today, Middlesbrough FC released former Sporting KC forward, Kei Kamara. Kamara left KC a year ago to join the Championship club after impressing on a loan to EPL side, Norwich City late in the 2012-2013 EPL season. In his 12 months with Middlesbrough though, Kamara struggled. After a good start with the club, he picked up a knee injury around the middle of the season and could never get his place back. Then this summer he picked up malaria while representing his country in African Cup of Nations qualifiers. After the diagnosis was confirmed in KC, Kamara sent out a tweet thanking his country's federation and Middlesbrough for nothing. That comment got him on the bad side of Boro supporters and it's been all downhill from there. This summer he'd been linked with a move away from the Riverside, because of his lost place and the reaction to his comments. Boro tried to sell him, but today announced that they'd agreed to mutually part ways.

With his release has immediately come speculation that Kamara will return to the US and MLS. It's also led to speculation on whether he would return to Kansas City. KC was Kamara's fourth team in four years when the team traded for him in 2009. In KC though, Kamara found his home and became a successful winger in Peter Vermes' 4-3-3 system. But with this speculation, should KC make a play for Kamara to return to KC? For me, no, they need to move forward.

Kamara earned quite a few fans in KC for his style of play and for his support towards the fans in Kansas City. He became one of the club's top goal scorers over his time with the club and worked relentlessly down the wing for KC. But at this point I'm not sure it's worth it to bring him back.

Since KC received a transfer fee and allocation money when Kamara was sold to Middlesbrough, Sporting no longer holds Kamara's MLS rights. What that means as a potentially returning MLS veteran, is that he would be subject to the league's allocation order. The order is used for returning US national team players and returning MLS veterans whose old team no longer holds his MLS rights (unless they're DPs of a certain threshold based on the Jermaine Jones situation). The process was used earlier this year when Seattle used the top allocation spot to acquire former Chicago Fire midfielder, Marco Pappa.

Currently at the top of the allocation order is the Columbus Crew. Kansas City on the other hand is near the end of the list. So either KC would have to make a trade to move up, or all the teams would have to pass on Kamara for KC to get a chance. The Crew meanwhile could use a forward that would be their go to forward, not sure if they're interested, but on the surface, the Crew look like a good place for Kamara to end up. 

Even if they weren't, it would become a question of what are you going to give up to move to the top of the allocation order? It would likely involve a bit of allocation money, which Sporting has been putting to good use over the last few years to pay down salaries to allow them to keep talent around.

Another question is his pay demand. While we don't know the exact cap number that KC is currently at, we do know that KC has three designated players at this point, along with multiple players making over $200,000 (Aurelien Collin, Benny Feilhaber, and Paulo Nagamura). One would assume that Kamara would want similar, if not more than the $300,000 he made when he was with KC during the 2013 season. With both Belser and Zusi on pay bumps, and others, like Chance Myers getting a bump, could KC afford Kamara's salary demands?

The next question is whether Kamara would even fit in back with Kansas City. Yes, Kamara has arguably been the best winger in Vermes' system since he implemented it here. But does he fit the system as KC plays it now?

Since Kamara's departure last year, KC has been doing a lot more build up through the middle of the field. When Kamara was here, KC's most dangerous offensive chances seemed to always come down KC's right side, where Kamara would be. The left side's attack was not as active, and the middle was almost non-existent. When Kamara left, the offense started to produce more in those other areas of the field. I think Kamara's departure has improved KC's offense as a whole because it's led to KC being more dynamic going forward.

Another thing that Kamara's departure has done has improved KC's shot selection. Over Kamara's last two years for KC, he took 191 shots (149 in 2012, 42 in 2013) in 3,893 minutes he put just 62 of those 191 shots on goal, or 32% of his shots. Compare that to Claudio Bieler and Dom Dwyer, KC's leading shot takers in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Last year Bieler took 70 shots, putting 27 on goal, 39% accuracy in 2,109 minutes. Meanwhile this year, Dwyer is doing even better, having taken 81 shots; Dwyer has put 35 on goal, or 43% in 2,022 minutes played. Yes Kamara scored a number of goals but he should have based on the sheer number of shots that he was taking. I think that also speaks to the more dynamic attack KC has had since Kamara left. No longer is it as predictable as getting the ball down the right and Kamara eventually getting the ball and shooting.

The other thing that I think Kamara's return could affect is the team chemistry. As the stats above show, Kamara likes to have the ball, and likes to shoot it (he was fourth on the team in shots in 2013 despite being 15th in minutes played for the team). In his departure, Dwyer has become the go to forward this season. What happens if Kamara were to return? He's going to want to get his chances and get the ball at his feet more. What effect is that going to have on Dwyer and his form? Last year, Bieler scored six goals in the first 10 games of the season before Kamara returned from his loan to Norwich. After that, Bieler scored just four over the next 24 games, two of those four from the spot. Bieler took 28 shots and put 12 on goal in those 10 games, an average of 2.8 and 1.2 per game. After Kamara returned, Bieler took 42 shots over the rest of the 24 games, putting 15 on goal, dropping his shots per game over a full shot to 1.75, and cut his shots on goal almost in half to .63 per game. Certainly that's just on Kamara returning, but with him stepping back into the team, it certainly took some of the ball away from Bieler. And forwards, at least from my experience are creatures of habit and form. 

Kamara's going to want to get his touches and Dwyer is already proving to be a more potent goal scorer than Kamara right now, why take touches, and chances away from him with the insertion of Kamara?

While I appreciate everything that Kamara has done for the club while he was here, his connection to the fans, his attitude here (that he hasn't seemed to really display anywhere else), his drive on the field, and his goals, I think it's time for KC to move on and not bring the Sierra Leone international back to KC.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Martinez Sent Off in Crazy Finish - Former SKC Wizards Update

Former Sporting KC midfielder, Alex Martinez was sent off this past week for Orange County in a crazy finish in their 2-1 loss to Wilmington. The craziness started in second half stoppage time with the game tied 1-1. Orange County won a corner kick. Martinez went over to take the kick, but before he could, some pushing in the box, just in front of the goalkeeper, led to a pair of red cards, one to a player on each team. Wilmington's Andrae Campbell had to be restrained by his teammates. As he left the field, a Wilmington coach followed him to escort him to the locker room. As he passed the corner flag where the ball was still set up for the corner, with the referee's back turned, the Wilmington coach kicked the ball away from the spot. Martinez took exception to this and after a quick appeal to the referee, followed after the coach and gave him a push. Th referee came over and spoke with Martinez and eventually gave him a red card. After Martinez appealed for a minute he turned and ran after the Wilmington coach who had kicked the ball away. The field cleared as the rest of the teams followed Martinez. After everything was cleared up, Wilmington scored a late winner.  Check out the game here, the fun begins around the 2 hour 25 minute mark.

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 - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 3-0 win over KC.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Came off the bench and played 31 minutes in New England's 1-0 win over Chivas.
Bobby Convey - New York - Did not dress in New York's 4-2 win over Montreal. Did not dress in New York's 2-0 win over FAS.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 90 minutes in Salt Lake's 2-1 loss to Dallas.
Michael Harrington - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 4-2 loss to Seattle.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Dressed but did not play in Portland's 4-2 loss to Seattle.
Eddie Johnson - DC - Suspended for DC's 3-0 win over KC. Play LA tonight.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Dressed but did not play in Toronto's 2-2 draw with Chicago.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Portland - Did not dress in Portland's 4-2 loss to Seattle.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Dressed but did not play in San Jose's 4-2 loss to Philadelphia.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 3-0 win over Houston.

NASL
Stefan Antonijevic - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 2-1 loss to Edmonton.

USL
Brian Fekete - Pittsburgh - Came off th bench and played 2 minutes in Pittsburgh's 3-1 win over the FC Dallas reserves.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 1-0 loss to Arizona. Came off the bench and played 60 minutes in OKC's 2-0 loss to Charleston.
Jonathan Leathers - Charlotte - No game this week.
Alex Martinez - Orange County - Started and played 89 minutes, recording an assist before being red carded in Orange County's 2-1 loss to Wilmington.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Orange County (loan) - Back with Portland.
Kyle Miller - Oklahoma City - Did not dress in OKC's 1-0 loss to Arizona. Started and played 30 minutes in OKC's 2-0 loss to Charleston.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Did not dress in either of OKC's games.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 3-2 loss to Orlando.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 2-0 win over OKC. Play Sacramento tonight.

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

International
Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - Did not dress in Auerbach's 6-0 loss to Hertha BSC II.
Scott Angevine - Sporting Kristina - Finland - Lost 3-0 to P-Iirot.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and played 71 minutes in Chivas' 0-0 draw with Veracruz.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - Defeated Tlaxcala 2-1.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Offseason.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - Argentina - Lost 4-1 to Deportivo Riestra.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - Lost 2-0 to Erbil in the AFC Cup.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Started and played 90 minutes in Cucuta's 2-1 win over Deportivo Rionegro. Did not dress in Cucuta's 1-1 draw with Patriotas Boyaca.
Roger Espinoza - Wigan - England - Dressed but did not play in Wigan's 1-0 win over Blackpool
Herculez Gomez - Tigres - Mexico - Did not dress in Tigres' 5-1 win over Morelia.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - América RN - Brazil - Did not dress in either of America's games.
Will John - AZAL - Azerbaijan - Game against Neftci was canceled.
Kei Kamara - Middlesbrough - England - Did not dress in either of Middlesbrough's games.
Igor Kostrov - Veris - Moldova - No game this week.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Did not dres in San Martin's 2-1 loss to Juan Aurich.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - Dressed but did not play in Servette's 8-0 win over Sirnach Swiss Cup.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Did not dress in Spartak's 2-1 win over UFA.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes in Stjarnan's 2-2 draw with Breidablik.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Started and payed 45 minutes in Sporting's 1-0 win over Arouca.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Did not dress in Blackburn's 3-2 win over Bournemouth.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - Started and played 90 minutes in Sarajevo's 3-2 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach. Started and played 87 minutes, scoring a goal in Sarajevo's 1-1 draw with Mladost Velika Obarska.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Started and played 85 minutes in Saarbucken's 1-0 win over Baunatal.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportivo Lara - Venezuela - Did not play in Lara's 1-0 loss to Carabobo.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday After Stats

The game was the 50th league game between KC and DC, it's the fourth team KC has played 50 games against, KC has a 20-20-10 record, scoring 73 and conceding 66.

In the 45th minute, Seth Sinovic moved past Chance Myers and into 20th place for minutes played in league play for KC. Sinovic finished the game with 9,166 minutes played.

Sinovic made his 104th start in league play for KC, tying him with Sean Bowers for 19th place on that list.

Matt Besler made his 170th appearance in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Mo Johnston, and moving him into a tie with Michael Harrington for 9th all time on that list.

Besler made his 163rd start in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Jack Jewsbury for 7th place on that list.

Graham Zusi made his 165th appearance in all competitions for KC, tying him with Josh Wolff for 12th all time on that list.

Zusi made his 107th league start for KC, tying him with Uche Okafor for 17th place on that list.

Sporting Fall to DC, Suffer Worst Defeat in Time at Sporting Park

Sporting Kansas City suffered their largest defeat in the history of Sporting Park, falling 3-0 last night to DC United. The loss was KC's first by three goals at home since a 3-0 loss to New York in June of 2010 when the team played at Community America Ballpark. Three goals in less than 10 minutes allowed DC United to easily beat KC and move past them and into first place in the Eastern Conference.

KC had some good possession early on around the top of DC's box, creating some half chances, but failing to really test Bill Hamid early on. Benny Feilhaber was the early creator seeing much of the offense go through him. In the 24th minute DC got themselves on the board. Fabian Espindola got the ball out wide. He turned Aurelien Collin backward before dribbling towards the middle of the field. Espindola fired a shot from the corner of the 18 yard box. The ball beat Jon Kempin and went into the far corner to make it 1-0 DC. Only four minutes later, United doubled their lead. After KC couldn't control the ball in the middle of the field, the ball fell to Luis Silva. The forward chipped a ball over the KC defense to Chris Rolfe who was onside and in behind KC's defense. Kempin got a touch on the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the net as DC went up 2-0. KC attempted to push numbers forward to try and find a way back into the game, but left themselves exposed to the counter. In the 31st United hit on the counter and made it 3-0. The ball was played in to Perry Kitchen who had raced forward from his midfield position. He cut back inside on Collin and then beat Kempin to his near post. The defense was just at sixes and sevens throughout much of the night.

With the lead, DC as able to sit back a bit, but throughout the second half still looked the more dangerous side, especially on the counter. In the 53rd DC should have made it four. KC's defense was a mess as two DC forwards combined up top for DC against four KC defenders. The ball came to Nick DeLeon who tried to get the ball into the corner, but it hit the base of the post and was eventually cleared. KC hit the woodwork themselves shortly after, in the 60th minute. Zusi from outside the box fired a shot towards goal. The shot beat Bill Hamid, but clanged off the cross bar and away from goal. DC inserted David Estrada into the game and he caused more problems for the KC back line. In the 88th, DC again hit the post. After Collin pushed forward to win a ball, the ball went right to Estrada who sprung Espindola in the space Collin had left. Espindola raced down the field and lofted a cross to the back post for Estrada who fired a shot the hit the post and was then cleaned up by Lawrence Olum. When the final whistle blew, Sporting players made a B line for the locker room trying to put the game behind them.

Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - Really it's a matter of who was the least worst last night. No one really had a good game last night, the defense was in shambles, the forwards couldn't get many chances. Early on in the game before DC's first goal, Feilhaber looked extremely plugged in for the game. Unfortunately nothing came of it.

Player Ratings - Kempin 3, Juliao 3, Collin 2, Besler 2, Sinovic 3, Olum 3, Feilhaber 5, Zusi 4, Saad 4, Dwyer 3, Zizzo 3. Subs Sapong 4, Bieler 4, Dovale 4.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

FC Kansas City Advance to Title Game

From FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City won 2-0 over Portland Thorns FC in front of 2,997 fans at Verizon Wireless Field in downtown Kansas City, MO.  The goals were credited to team leaders Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday. The Blues now advance to the championship match with the opponent and location being determined after the second semifinal match on Sunday.

The match had a slower pace due to the notorious Kansas City summer heat. The action was still what is expected of Kansas City and Portland.  In the opening minutes, Kansas City had an attack that had potential. The play slipped past Portland’s backline and ended in an offside call.

In the 14th minute, rookie Jenna Richmond made a beautiful run in to the attacking third. She had the first promising play of the match when she fired off a shot at goalkeeper, Nadine Angerer. The ball rolled just wide of the net but set a tempo for the match.

Portland’s Emily Menges and Erika Tymrak both went for the ball just beyond midfield in the 21st minute. Menges tackled Tymrak who tumbled to the turf. The referee showed Menges a yellow for the first caution of the match.

Rodriguez experienced a controversial moment late in the second half when she was taken down in the box by Portland’s defense. The referee did not call for a foul or a penalty kick and the play continued in to the final seconds of the first half. Without that call, the teams went to the locker room scoreless.

After the break, both teams reentered the heat and prepared for the second half. Rodriguez broke the stalemate in the 63rd minute with a play from Holiday.  Kansas City’s dynamic duo struck Portland’s defense with world-class style and gave the Blues a lead.

Kansas City doubled the lead in the 87th minute with a goal from Holiday. Sarah Hagen sent a beautiful ball to Holiday; she redirected the ball and found the back post for the Blues’ second goal.

The match ended minutes later and solidified Kansas City’s ticket in the championship match. The Blues will either host the Washington Spirit or visit Seattle Reign FC depending on the winner of Sunday’s Match. FC Kansas City will play for the NWSL Championship on Sunday, August 31st at 3:00 PM.