Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday After Stats

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

The draw was the 50th in league play for Peter Vermes, he's now just one behind Bob Gansler for the most in KC history.

KC Escape Seattle with a Point

It certainly wasn't pretty, and at times it was down right ugly, but for just the third time in the regular season, Sporting KC picked up points against the Seattle Sounders. With another undermanned line up that saw KC forced to scratch Dom Dwyer during warm ups due to a neck injury KC played an ugly, but walked out of Century Link Field with a point. Joining Dwyer on the bench from Wednesday's game was Paulo Nagamura who was replaced by Servando Carrasco, although Graham Zusi made the bench and came on as KC's third substitute of the game. It wasn't all good for KC though as they suffered another injury they didn't need as Jacob Peterson left with a hamstring injury in the second half.

Seattle came out and controlled the game from the start, but an issue that plagued them all game was an ability to get shots on goal with all that possession. KC really looked to be the more dangerous of the two sides against the run of play. In the 9th minute off a Matt Besler long throw, KC almost grabbed the lead as the ball made it all the way to Krisztian Nemeth at the back post, but Nemeth seemed a little surprised the ball made it all the way through and didn't get enough power on his shot and it was easily collected by Stefan Frei.

While Seattle wasn't creating a lot of shots on target, Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia was busy having to come off his line to catch, punch and collect crosses by the Sounders. In the 32nd on a cross into the box Melia got just enough on a cross to knock it away from the head of Chad Marshall and away from the area. Seattle recollected the ball on the opposite side of the field and the ball was crossed back in for Lamar Neagle who put his header of the post. As the half wore on Seattle got more and more of the possession, but they still couldn't put a shot on goal in the 36th minute, Brad Evans picked off a pass and raced the opposite direction leading a 4 on 3, but as he got closer to goal Evans fired a shot from about 30 yards out that missed the frame keeping the game scoreless. As the first half ended Seattle had 70% of the possession, much of the early part of it no where near the goal, but near the end of the half they had started to push the game more. Some more possession in the second half was going to be needed for KC to hold off Seattle's attack.

The second half saw Kansas City come out and get forward a bit more, while they still played a more defensive approach, they did get forward at times. In the 51st minute KC had another good opportunity to score after Amadou Dia did a good job of getting space against his defender before playing a cross into the box for Jacob Peterson, but his shot was right at Frei. KC kept trying to hit on the counter, with Jimmy Medranda firing a shot wide of goal. Seattle controlled play, but it took until the 82nd minute for them to record a shot on goal. After a free kick was partially cleared, the all was bicycle-kicked towards goal by Brad Evans. On its way through, Chad Barrett redirected the shot, but Melia was well positioned to make the save and keep the game scoreless. In stoppage time in the second half, Sporting almost Seattle'd Seattle as Feilhaber received the ball about 25 yards from goal, took a touch and fired a shot that was curling towards the far post. Frei though made a great save, knocking the ball over the bar to preserve the tie late for Seattle.

Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - While he only had to make one save all night, Melia did a great job of controlling his area. He was decisive when coming off his line, did well when knowing when to catch and punch the ball. Was well positioned all night.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Ellis - Matt Besler

Player Ratings - Melia 8, Anibaba 7, Ellis 8, Besler 8, Dia 7, Mustivar 7, Carrasco 5, Feilhaber 5, Peterson 5, Nemeth 4, Medranda 5. Subs Hallisey 5, Abdul-Salaam 5, Zusi 6.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Match Day 12: Sporting Visit Their Bogey Team

Sporting KC come off a short week headed into Seattle to take on the Sounders at Century Link Field. After KC's 4-2 win over New England, KC headed to Seattle to take on a team that KC has beaten just one time since the Sounders began playing in the league. KC is 1-7-1 in league play and 1-8-2 in all competitions against the Sounders. KC has gone eight games in league play and now 10 in all competitions without a win against Seattle since taking the first ever meeting between the teams 1-0. That's the longest streak without a win against a team in club history.

Part of the reason that KC has always struggled with Seattle is that they're just consistently a good team, the defending Supporters' Shield champions have a front line that can cause any back line fits with the likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. And even with Martins set to miss out on the game this weekend due to injury, it doesn't make Seattle any less dangerous. They're also a strong defensive team with Chad Marshall enjoying a resurgence here after struggling his last year or two in Columbus. The Sounders are all around a solid team that will cause KC plenty of issues all over the field.

That'll be especially true of a KC team that is still short on players and coming off a midweek game.It appears that KC could get Graham Zusi back in the lineup this week as he has traveled with the team after missing Wednesday's game while recovering from a concussion. KC though will still likely be missing Marcel de Jong, Roger Espinoza, and Seth Sinovic all are still recovering from injury at this point. If Zusi can't start, and I'm not sure he will be able to, KC looks set to likely start the same lineup that started against the Revolution on Wednesday, simply because of a lack of options.

Anibaba - Ellis - Besler - Dia
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of games in this series decided by more than one goal. Every game in this series has seen either a one goal win or a draw.

Bonus Number - 5 - That's the number of game winners that Seattle has against KC in stoppage time since 2010. There's a reason that KC fans always dread the final minutes of the game against Seattle.

Key Match Up - Benny Feilhaber vs Osvaldo Alonso - Alonso has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the league since coming in with the Sounders. Doing so has earned him a designated player contract with the Sounders. He'll be matching up against arguably one of the league favorites in the early season for MVP in Feilhaber.

PREDICTION - KC has been playing better as of late, especially offensively, but with the short rest and the shorter bench right now, I'm just not sure that Sporting has the legs to go with Seattle over the course of 90 minutes tomorrow night. The Sounders, even without Martins are going to cause KC's back line a lot of problems tomorrow night. Going the other way, KC will get their chances, I just don't think the defense is strong enough right now to win this for KC.

SKC - 1 (Nemeth)
SEA - 2 (Dempsey, Barrett)

Nemeth Called Up by Hungary

Sporting KC is struggling with numbers heading into this weekend's game against the Seattle Sounders in Seattle. In two weeks' time when Seattle comes to KC, Sporting could be struggling with numbers again for another reason. The game falls right at the beginning on the FIFA international window for national team games.
Sporting will already be down Erik Palmer-Brown for the U20 World Cup, but there's the potential for Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Soni Mustivar, Graham Zusi (unlikely), and Benny Feilhaber (won't but absolutely should). One new name to add to that list has already been announced. Hungarian coach, Pal Dardai has named his team for a pair of upcoming games. Included in that roster is Sporting KC's leading scorer, Krisztian Nemeth.
Nemeth, whose two goals on Wednesday night gave him five on the season, would miss out on the game against Seattle at Sporting Park on June 6th as Hungary has a friendly the day before in Debrecen against Lithuania. A little over a week later, they have a Euro 2016 qualifier in Helsinki against Finland on the 13th. Currently Hungary sits third in their qualifying group on eight points, four behind Northern Ireland, who sit in a qualification spot and four points clear of fourth place Finland.
Nemeth, who confirmed the call up on his Twitter account, has not appeared for the Hungarian national team in over a year and a half. His last cap came on October 15th of 2013 when Hungary defeated Andorra 2-0 in Budapest. He'd also been part of the Hungarian team that got thrashed by the Netherlands four days earlier 8-1.
It'll be a big blow for KC as Nemeth is playing extremely well for KC right now, but it's good to see him work his way back to the national team.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

#TBT Vermes First Win

While yesterday's game didn't turn out to be Sporting KC's Peter Vermes' 100th win in all competitions like I'd originally said, I thought this would be a good thing to look at in this week's Throw Back Thursday. With Vermes just one win away I thought we'd take a look at Vermes' first win as head coach of the then KC Wizards.

It's funny and would have been amazingly poetic if last night had been Vermes' 100th win as Sporting played the exact same opponent, the New England Revolution, that Vermes got his first win against back in 2009. Not only was it the same opponent, but the game finished with the same score as last night's game, 4-2 in favor of KC.

Vermes had been in charge of the Wizards for three games heading into a game at Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution on September 5th, 2009, having taken over as the head coach after firing Curt Onalfo after the 6-0 thrashing in Dallas on August 1st of that year. In the three games he'd been in charge KC was 0-3 and had yet to score a goal. In fact, KC had not won in seven league games since a 3-1 win at home against the same Revolution on June 13th. Add in three SuperLiga games where KC went 0-1-2 and two US Open Cup games where KC went 0-1-1 (advancing on PKs over Minnesota) KC was actually 12 games without a win. KC had scored just one goal since that win over the Revolution, a midfield blast from Claudio Lopez in a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy. Heading into the game against the Revolution, KC had gone 424 minutes without scoring a goal. The team record for a single season was 427 set in 2000, so if KC didn't score in the first three minutes they'd set a new team record. (You can read more of the stats from that horrible winless run in my old entry.)

Two players that started that game in 2009 actually started the game last night in KC, as Matt Besler started at center back with Jimmy Conrad and Brad Knighton started in goal for New England during his first stint with the Revs. Vermes' counterpart last night, Jay Heaps also played a role in the game, starting in the Revolution defense.

I'd mentioned that KC needed to score in the first three minutes to avoid setting a new single season scoreless record, well in the third minute, Josh Wolff muscled Darius Barnes off the ball as KC raced towards goal, Wolff tried to touch the ball away but it deflected into the middle for Lopez who made no mistake scoring to put KC on top in just the third minute and see the team only tie the record for longest single season goalless streak. KC caused plenty of early problems for New England, but the Revs withstood the early push and were able to create chances of their own. KC though caught a break in the 23rd minute when a heavy touch by Sharlie Joseph saw the ball get away from him and Jack Jewsbury step in to try to win it. Joseph came into the challenge with his studs showing and was sent off for his effort as KC was going to get to finish the game with a man advantage. It didn't take long for KC to take advantage of the man advantage, in the 29th, Wolff did a great job of dribbling through two Revolution defenders and before the ball crossed the end line played the ball back into the middle towards Davy Arnaud, but the ball was knocked into the Revolution's own net by their current coach, Heaps. KC went into the break up 2-0.

In the second half it was the Revolution who were able to cut into the lead first, with Edgaras Jankauskas hitting a fantastic volley from outside the box, over Kevin Hartman and into the net to make it 2-1 in the 64th minute. KC almost had the quick response as Lopez got in behind the Revolution defense, but Knighton came off his line well and blocked Lopez's effort. KC made it 3-2 in the 73rd, with Wolff again being involved and this time getting the goal that he deserved for his work on the night as Lopez played him into the box. Knighton was off his line well, but couldn't hold onto the ball and Wolff turned and fired the ball into the net to make it 3-1. The Revolution refused to go away though and in the 81st again brought the game within a goal as Sanna Nyassi played a good cross into the box where Kheli Dube beat Conrad to the ball and headed it past Hartman to make it 3-2. While New England pushed for the equalizer, it was KC that struck again to close the game off as Chance Myers received the ball out wide and played a curling ball to the back post that Wolff fired into the net to make it 4-2 in second half stoppage time as Vermes finally got his first win for KC.

It wouldn't be a pretty end to the season after that win though. KC would win just two of their remaining eight games and finish with just 33 points and ahead of only New York in the conference standings.

Here's how the lineup looked for the team that date and the highlights are below that.
Kevin Hartman, Matt Besler, Lance Watson, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Herculez Gomez (Chance Myers  63), Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Claudio Lopez (Graham Zusi  89), Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff (Zoltan Hercegfalvi  93+).

Movsisyan Linked with a Move Back to MLS - Former SKC Wizards Update

Yura Movsisyan has created a solid career for himself in Europe after leaving MLS after the 2009 MLS season. After a success move to Denmark, Movsisyan moved to Russia and eventually joined Spartak Moscow. Movsisyan had success originally at Spartak, but this has been hampered by a knee injury that required surgery. Since his return, Movsisyan has struggled to get consistent time. This has led to speculation of an exit, and that speculation has led to questions about whether he could return to the US. Movsisyan sounds like he'd be receptive to the move, but he currently still has two years left on his deal and there certainly would be interest in Europe still for his services.

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
Nelson Pizarro
Ivan Trujillo
Konrad Warzycha

Davy Arnaud - DC - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 2-1 win over Orlando. Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in DC's 1-0 loss to Philadelphia.
Teal Bunbury - New England - Started and played 90 minutes in New England's 1-1 draw with Toronto.
Aurelien Collin - Orlando City - Started and played 67 minutes, recording an assist in Orlando's 2-1 loss to DC. Did not dress in Orlando's 4-0 win over LA.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Started and played 90 minutes in RSL's 4-1 loss to Montreal.
Michael Harrington - Colorado - Game postponed due to weather.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 3-1 loss to Houston.
Eddie Johnson - DC - Out on leave.
Kei Kamara - Columbus - Started and played 83 minutes in Columbus' 2-0 loss to San Jose.
Chris Konopka - Toronto - Started and played 90 minutes in Toronto's 3-2 win over Montreal. Started and played 90 minutes in Toronto's 1-1 draw with New England.
Eric Kronberg - Montreal - Started and played 90 minutes in Montreal's 3-2 loss to Toronto. Dressed but did not play in Montreal's 4-1 win over RSL.
CJ Sapong - Philadelphia - Suspended.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Came off the bench and played 9 minutes in San Jose's 2-0 win over Columbus.
Tyson Wahl - Columbus -  Dressed but did not play in Columbus' 2-0 loss to San Jose.
Sal Zizzo - New York - Out injured.

Stefan Antonijevic - Tampa Bay - Started and played 90 minutes in Tampa's 1-0 win over Fort Lauderdale.
James Marcelin - Fort Lauderdale - Dressed but did not play in Fort Lauderdale's 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 1-1 draw with Jacksonville.
Kyle Miller - Atlanta - Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta's 1-1 draw with Jacksonville.

Christian Duke - Oklahoma City - Did not play in OKC's 3-1 loss to Seattle. Did not play in OKC's 2-2 draw with Vancouver.
Brian Fekete - Austin - Came off the bench and played 55 minutes in Austin's 3-2 loss to Arizona.
Adnan Gabeljic - Sacramento - Did not play in Sacramento's 1-0 win over LA.
Cyprian Hedrick - Oklahoma City - Did not play in OKC's 3-1 loss to Seattle. Did not play in OKC's 2-2 draw with Vancouver.
Mechack Jerome - Charlotte - Started and played 90 minutes in Charlotte's 2-0 loss to Harrisburg.
Alex Martinez - Charlotte - Started and played 90 minutes in Charlotte's 2-0 loss to Harrisburg.
Victor Munoz - Arizona - Did not play in Arizona's 3-2 win over Austin.
Tony Rocha - Austin - Did not play in Austin's 3-2 los to Arizona.
Michael Thomas - Oklahoma City - Started and played 90 minutes in OKC's 3-1 loss to Seattle. Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in OKC's 2-2 draw with Vancouver.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 68 minutes in Richmond's 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh.

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.

Korede Aiyegbusi - Auerbach - Germany - Did not play in either of Auerbach's games.
Vicente Arze - Blooming - Bolivia - Did not play in Blooming's 2-0 win over Nacional Potosi.
Claudio Bieler - Quilmes - Argentina - No game this week.
Omar Bravo - Chivas - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 0-0 draw with Atlas. Started and played 89 minutes, scoring a goal in Chivas' 4-1 win over Atlas.
Reinaldo Brenes - Saprissa - Costa Rica - Did not dress in either of Saprissa's games.
Mitchell Cardenas - Atlético Coatzacoalcos - Mexico - Offseason.
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru - India - Started and played 90 minutes in Bengaluru's 3-1 win over Salgaocar.
Jorge Claros - Qingdao Jonoon - China - Started and played 61 minutes in Qingdao's 1-0 win over Changchun Yatai. Defeated Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard 2-1.
Eloy Colombano - AD Berazategui - No game this week.
Daneil Cyrus - Ha Noi T&T (W Connection) - Vietnam (Trinidad) - No game until 6/20.
Toni Dovale - CD Lugo - Spain - Started and played 63 minutes in Lugo's 5-1 loss to Real Betis.
Pablo Escobar - Cúcuta Deportivo - Colombia - Started and played 90 minutes in Cucuta's 2-2 draw with Atletico Nacional.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla - Mexico - Offseason.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Offseason.
Jeferson - Boavista - Brazil - Offseason.
Peterson Joseph - Azam FC - Tanzania - Offseason.
Igor Juliao - ABC (Fluminense) - Brazil - Did not dress in either of ABC's games.
Igor Kostrov - FK Kyzyl-Zhar - Kazakhstan - Lost 1-0 to Spartak Semey.
Neven Markovic - Servette FC - Switzerland - Started and played 90 minutes in Servette's 3-1 win over Wohlen.
Yura Movsisyan - Spartak Moscow - Russia - Did not dress in Spartak's 4-0 loss to CSKA Moscow.
Lawrence Olum - Kedah FA - Malaysia - No game until 6/19.
Akeem Priestley - Sheikh Russel KC - Bangladesh - Offseason.
Pablo Punyed - Stjarnan - Iceland - Started and played 90 minutes in Stjarnan's 1-1 draw with Leiknir Reykjavik.
Oriol Rosell - Sporting Club de Portugal - Portugal - Did not dress in Sporting's 4-1 win over Sporting Braga.
Soony Saad - BCC Tero (loaned from BEC Tero Sasana FC) - Thailand - Defeated Kasem Bundit University 1-0.
Peter Schmetz - Wuppertaler SV - Germany - Tied Germania Ratingen 0-0.
Yann Songo'o - Blackburn - England - Offseason.
Martin Steuble - Ceres-La Salle - Philippines - No game this week.
Milos Stojcev - FK Sarajevo - Bosnia - Started and played 90 minutes in Sarajevo's 2-0 win over Radnik Bijeljina. Started and played 82 minutes in Sarajevo's 0-0 draw with Zeljeznicar.
Matt Taylor - Saarbrücken - Germany - Started and played 45 minutes in Saarbrucken's 2-0 win over Neckarelz.

Sporting KC to Host US Open Cup Fourth Round

For the fifth straight year, Sporting KC will host a US Open Cup game at Sporting Park, tonight was the draw to see which teams KC could be matched up with when KC enters the tournament in its fourth round.

As most fans expected, Sporting KC will match up against the winner of USL side St. Louis FC and NASL side, Minnesota United. Those two teams play next week in St. Louis at St. Louis Soccer Park. The winner will travel to play at Sporting Park on June 16th.

It could be the second straight year that KC and Minnesota meet in the Open Cup as KC won the match up last year 2-0 with two second half goals in a game that saw Sporting switch to their training jerseys at half time due to color conflicts with the visitors. It'll actually be the fourth time that KC will play a team from Minnesota, KC lost to the Minnesota Thunder in 2005, then defeated the Thunder in 2009 on penalty kicks 4-2 after a 3-3 draw before last year's game.

A match up against St. Louis FC would see KC play their first competitive game against a team from the opposite side of the state of Missouri. Sporting back when they were the Wizards played a home and away friendly series against then US Soccer D2 side, AC St. Louis in 2010 winning the two games 2-0 and 2-1 is the last time KC has played against a team from St. Louis.

It is a little disappointing with the regional set up of the tournament that KC could see themselves matched up with the team they played last year, but it's an understandable one. Sorry to my Minnesota friends, but I'm cheering for a match up against St. Louis FC.

S.A.S. Thursday After Stats

Krisztian Nemeth's first goal of the night was the 500th scored at home in league play for Kansas City.

Saad Abdul-Salaam was the 187th player to appear in a league game for KC. In all competitions he was the 193rd player to appear in a game.

The 11 players that have made their debut for KC this season is the most since KC had 13 appear in league play and 14 in all competitions in 2011.

Dom Dwyer's goal was his 28th in league play for KC, tying him with Digital Takawira and Scott Sealy for 7th place on that list.

His goal was his 32nd in all competitions for KC, tying him with Mo Johnston for 6th place on that list.

Dwyer's goal was his 16th at home in league play for KC, breaking his tie with Takawira for 8th place on that list.

It was his 18th in all competitions for KC at home, breaking his tie with CJ Sapong for 8th on that list.

Benny Feilhaber's assist was his 16th in league play for KC, breaking his tie with Claudio Lopez and Chris Henderson for 15th on that list. His second assist gave him 17 in league play, tying him with Matt McKeon and Jose Burciaga for 13th on that list.

It was his 22nd assist in all competitions, breaking his tie with Jack Jewsbury and Kei Kamara for 9th place on that list.

Edit: Previously I'd stated that Peter Vermes got his 100th win in all competitions last night. I had doubled counted a win for him from 2009, he is actually on 99 wins now.

Undermanned Sporting Quell the Revolution

Sporting KC came from a goal down, and then ran over the New England Revolution on their way to a 4-2 win over their Eastern Conference opponent last night at Sporting Park. While Sporting was undermanned for the game due to injury, New England opted to rest a number of starters ahead of a big game this weekend against DC.

New England actually came out as the more aggressive side, taking the game to KC from the opening whistle, Diego Fagundez had a header go off the post in just the third minute, but the Revolution midfielder was judged to have been offside. In the ninth minute, Fagundez had another good chance as he found himself with space running down the middle and latched onto a cross from London Woodberry, but his one timer was wide of Tim Melia's post. The early pressured paid off in the 11th minute when Benny Feilhaber gave the ball away at midfield while trying to thread a pass through. Kelyn Rowe intercepted the pass and immediately played a through ball for Juan Agudelo who got behind Kevin Ellis. Agudelo raced to the top of the box, cut past a sliding Ellis and got a shot off right as Matt Besler challenged him that beat Melia and gave the Revolution the deserved early lead. KC really should have been level in the 18th minute after Besler played Jacob Peterson in with a nice ball over the top. Peterson had Revolution goalkeeper, Brad Knighton come and challenge him, leaving the goal wide open as Peterson played the ball back to an on coming Feilhaber. Instead of shooting, Feilhaber touched the ball off to Dom Dwyer who had his effort blocked, a big missed early chance for KC to tie things up. KC thought they should have had a penalty in the 27th as Paulo Nagamura tried to get onto a loose ball in the box, getting knocked away by Revolution midfielder, Scott Caldwell, but referee Allen Chapman made no call and play continued. A couple minutes later though KC was finally level. Some good possession down the right eventually found the ball at the feet of Krisztian Nemeth near the corner of the box. Nemeth played a nice little chip into the middle of the box for Dwyer who was marked by Jermaine Jones. The American international missed on the header as Dwyer popped the ball up with his chest, turned and fired the ball into the opposite corner to tie the game at 1-1.

With the goal KC continued to press forward, controlling much of the game as they kept the Revolution pinned back in their end. In the 39th KC grabbed the lead off a free kick, as Feilhaber curled a ball right into the box where Nemeth was completely unmarked and his flick header beat Knighton to make it 2-1 KC. Three minutes later, KC won a chance to make it three as they were awarded a penalty kick. Dwyer had run onto a long ball played into the box with Revolution defender, Jose Goncalves on his back, Dwyer reaches the ball, first and cuts it back attempting to get Goncalves to run past him. The Revolution defender pulls back on his shoulder as he does, but Dwyer stays on his feet and dribbles away from goal a bit. As the "advantage" on the play is lost, Chapman calls the play back and gave the penalty for the shoulder tug on Goncalves. Feilhaber stepped up and buried the penalty kick to make it 3-1 ahead of the half time break.

As the second half started KC quickly won the ball off the Revolution and Feilhaber played a ball over the top for Jacob Peterson who raced down the wing, knocking Kevin Alston off the ball and immediately squaring it to an open Nemeth who slotted the ball into the corner to make it 4-1 KC less than 30 seconds into the second half. KC kept working and almost got a fifth in the 55th minute after a quick throw from Nemeth found Feilhaber who dribbled the ball into the box and laid it back for Peterson, but his shot went just wide of the near post. The Revolution got themselves a life line in the 64th minute after a good ball down KC's left side, Charlie Davies played the ball back towards the penalty spot for an unmarked Caldwell who beat Melia and made it 4-2 in KC's favor. No one in the midfield had tracked the run of Caldwell who had plenty of time to get his head up and put the ball away.

With the goal the Revolution started to take momentum back as they won a number of free kicks and corner kicks deep in KC's end. Many of them didn't test Melia in goal, but they gave the Revolution a number of good looks at goal that KC has to avoid. They've given away way too many set pieces and way too many goals from set pieces this year. The Revolution's best of their free kicks came in the 82nd when substitute Chris Tierney curled a free kick that bounced right in front of Melia who had to get down and push it away and out for a corner. KC was able to create a couple chances on the counter, the best coming in the 84th when Nemeth picked out an open Connor Hallisey as he raced down the right side. Getting into the box though Hallisey just couldn't beat Knighton who knocked the ball out for a corner. The goal wasn't needed though as KC was able to cruise to the 4-2 win.

Wizards Man of the Match - Krisztian Nemeth
- Two goals and an assist for the Hungarian, a good night at the office, was all over the place, and should have had another assist on the Hallisey chance late on.

Honorable Mention - Benny Feilhaber

Player Ratings - Melia 5, Dia 5, Besler 5, Ellis 5, Anibaba 5, Mustivar 6, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 8, Peterson 7, Dwyer 7, Nemeth 8. Subs Hallisey 5, Carrasco NR, Abdul-Salaam NR.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Match Day 11: Cross Conference Game with a Shortened Lineup

After Saturday's game against Colorado was postponed, Sporting KC will try to get their eleventh game of the season in tomorrow night at Sporting Park against the New England Revolution.  This will be the only meeting between the two teams this year after they met three times last year, with the Revolution winning all three, including a 3-2 win last year at Sporting Park as KC slumped down the stretch.

New England come into tomorrow's game having drawn their last two league games, 2-2 in Orlando and 1-1 against Toronto, both times blowing leads to allow the opposing team to escape with points. Still, the Revolution are a strong team that will cause KC plenty of problems. Their attack is certainly one that KC can cause KC all sorts of problems with pace. From Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo up top to Teal Bunbury and Diego Fagundez on the wing to Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe in midfield, the Revolution have a number of ways that they can cause KC problems on defense. Like KC though, they have what could be considered a more important game on the weekend when they're scheduled to host DC United in a battle for first place in the East. So while the Revolution won't lay down in KC, they may rest a couple of guys so that they are fresh for the weekend Conference game.

Right now KC wishes they could have the luxury of resting players for their weekend class against the Seattle Sounders. With all the injury news that came out today and the announcement that Saad Abdul-Salaam was recalled from his loan, KC will be lucky if they'll be able to dress a full 18 for the game tomorrow. With those injuries though, KC should only have to make two changes from the originally submitted lineup for the game against Colorado. Seth Sinovic is out as the team is treating the illness/injury that forced him to be a late scratch against Colorado as a potential concussion and he will miss out. The other is a change not forced by injury, but by national team duty, as Erik Palmer-Brown left for Australia to join the US U20 team in their preparations for this summer's U20 World Cup. Kevin Ellis is the obvious choice to slide back into the starting 11 at center back with Matt Besler.

Anibaba - Ellis - Besler - Dia
Feilhaber - Nagamura
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 6 - That's how many points over the last two weeks these two teams have left on the table. KC's 1-1 draw with DC, while New England had the 2-2 draw with Orlando and 1-1 draw with Toronto.

Key Match Up - Matt Besler and Kevin Ellis vs Charlie Davies/Juan Agudelo - With the weekend game it's a little hard to predict who will be up top for New England, but both Davies and Agudelo will cause KC's back line plenty of problems. It'll be a big test especially on Ellis who will be looking to reestablish himself at the center back position after being disposed by Palmer-Brown before his departure.

PREDICTION - Both teams have games that more important on the weekend against conference rivals, so both likely will hold back just a little in tomorrow's game. For the game itself though, I just feel like even with an eye towards the weekend, New England just has too much attacking power either in the starting 11 or on the bench for KC's back line to really contain. This is going to have to be another game where the offense is really going to have to show up for KC to take points from this one, and I'm just not fully confident in the offense to do that yet.

SKC - 1 (Nemeth)
NE - 2 (Rowe, Bunbury)

With Injuries Mounting, Sporting Recall Abdul-Salaam

The injury bug is once again hitting Kansas City bad, so bad in fact that Sporting Kansas City has recalled outside back Saad Abdul-Salaam from his loan to NASL side, the San Antonio Scorpions. Abdul-Salaam has started five of San Antonio's six games so far this season, all as a right back for the defending champions.
His recall is forced for KC as they could be down to just 17 players (including Abdul-Salaam) for tomorrow's game against the New England Revolution at Sporting Park. Already down Chance Myers and Ike Opara due to long term injuries and Erik Palmer-Brown to the U20 World Cup, KC is down a number of others as well. Marcel de Jong, Roger Espinoza, and Graham Zusi are all recovering from the injuries that kept them out of the game day 18 for Saturday's scheduled game against Colorado. Joining them is Seth Sinovic who was a late scratch in that game apparently still affected by the head injury he picked up in DC as well as Bernardo Anor who hasn't appeared in the 18 over the past few games for KC as he is injured as well. The injury bug is so bad it's made its way to Oklahoma City where Mikey Lopez, loaned to the Energy is also injured and could not be recalled.
KC's thin roster will definitely be tested over the next few days with KC not only having to face the Revolution who is second in the Eastern Conference, but also having to face the Seattle Sounders in Seattle on Saturday night. A tough stretch for KC to handle with such a thin roster right now, maybe the cancellation of the Colorado game was a godsend.
The number of injuries though does bring up a question, how has KC gotten to this point two years in a row. From the time that Peter Vermes took over in August of 2009 until the end of the 2013 season, KC had been a fairly consistent team in terms of health. They didn't have a lot of players miss a lot of matches. Over the last season plus, KC has had a complete reversal of fortunes with a number of injuries causing all sorts of problems for Vermes and his staff. But what really has changed in that time frame?
One thing that hasn't changed, but at least could be pointed to as an effect last season, was simply the lack of down time players got between seasons for Sporting as KC ended the 2013 season in early December and was back in came a little over a month later. At the same time a number of Sporting players joined the US national team less than a month after the season ended for national team camp. Does that explain all the issues the team has had with injuries? Certainly not, but it does at least give a point to look at for the 2014 season, when the team played 43 games across all competitions, plus a friendly.
But what's caused it to carry over to 2015, when most of the team had about two and a half months off before preseason for 2015 started? It starts to make some question whether it's a practice and work rate issue, similar to the issues that hounded Preki when he was head coach at Chivas USA. After a year or so in charge, Preki's Chivas team always seemed to have issues with injuries with a number of players missing long lengths of time. But Vermes has had a set up in place really since he became the full time head coach in 2010, and that's when fitness coach Mateus Manoel also came on and joined the team. Have training practices changed in the last year or so? Are players getting overworked and is that leading to more injuries?
To be fair, at the same time a couple of the injuries you can't put on the coaching staff, for example the head injuries that both Sinovic and Zusi picked up in DC. While you can argue that the players shouldn't have stayed on the field, you can't specifically blame the training for those injuries, and with Lopez in OKC, you can't really blame Vermes for the injury to a player that is not there. You can also look at the fact that KC is not the only ones that have been suffering from a seemingly larger number of injuries this year, with the likes of Salt Lake and LA also having a number of injury issues.
Still, there has to be some concern about the fact that KC continues to suffer from an injury crisis multiple times over the course of the season for the second straight season.

Sporting KC to Make-Up Rapids Game in October

Sporting Kansas City announced the make-up date for last Saturday's scheduled game against the Colorado Rapids. The game, which had been canceled due to weather on Saturday night, will now be made up on Wednesday October 21st at 7:30pm.
The game now falls between Sporting KC's last road trip of the season and their last home game. Sporting will be on the road Friday, October 16th in San Jose to take on the Earthquakes. After traveling back home and playing the Rapids on the 21st, KC ends the season at home on Sunday the 25th against the LA Galaxy.
The Rapids meanwhile are off the weekend before the game, playing October 10th at home against the Montreal Impact in their last game before the trip to KC. They end their season on the road on the 25th as well with a trip to Portland.
One question after the cancellation of the game would be the roster that had been handed in for the game. Since the game had not officially started but rosters had been handed in, there were questions on whether KC and Colorado would be forced to use the same 18 they had submitted for the game on Saturday. There was confirmation today that the teams will be able to choose a new 18 man roster for the game. That's good news for KC which should be able to count on the list of Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza being back and available for that game.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sporting KC and Colorado Postponed Due to Weather

After an hour delay to the start of last night's game, and a forecast that saw more storms move in later in the evening, last night's Sporting KC game against the Colorado Rapids was postponed to a later date.

MLS rules on game postponements state that games that are delayed have to be restarted before 12am local time and must finish before 1am. With the fact that the game hadn't started and more storms moving into the area, there was no way the team would have been able to kick off before 11:15pm or so to get the full game plus stoppage time in before the 1am deadline.

League rules also state that the game should be replayed today, 5/17. That though was ruled out as an option last night because of Sporting KC's upcoming schedule. The team already has a league game scheduled for Wednesday at home against New England and a game next Saturday scheduled against Seattle so Peter Vermes was probably very adamant about not playing the game today.

The game is actually the third postponement due to weather in KC's history, the second at home. Back in 1998 a game between the Wizards and DC United at Arrowhead on June 20th was canceled in the 53rd minute and was made up in full over two months later on August 26th. KC also had a game against the Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup on August 2nd of 2006 delayed for two weeks until the 14th after thunderstorms postponed the game.

As for the potential make up game, KC and Colorado have two weekends where both teams are off, June 13-14 and September 5-6. If the two teams can't agree to play on either of those dates, the likely date will be some time in the middle of the week.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fiorentina in on Palmer-Brown Chase?

For well over a year now we've been hearing rumors about teenage center back, Erik Palmer-Brown moving to Juventus in the Italian league. It's become a topic of discussion on a certain Italian writers page every three months or so, without anything new really ever being added to the conversation. With Palmer-Brown having turned 18 now though the restricts that had kept him from moving abroad when he was still a minor are gone and the length of his stay in KC is certainly something that can be questioned. Palmer-Brown himself even played a bit of a troll yesterday on "Jersey Friday" at Sporting KC practice wearing a personalized Juventus jersey in the team photo.

While Juventus has been the primary topic of rumors about Palmer-Brown, it appears another Italian club could be trying to come in and make a deal. Reports out of Italy are that Fiorentina is also after the young center back. Mentioned at the end of the article, Palmer-Brown is one of three Americans in MLS mentioned as potential targets of the Florence club along with Orlando's Amobi Okugo and Chicago's Michael Stephens.

The third of those three names mentioned though does give me a little pause in regards to this rumor, as Stephens only recently returned to MLS from an okay run with Norwegian club Stabaek. He doesn't have the profile of a player I'd see as a target of the Europa League semifinalists.

That said it doesn't surprise me that more clubs would be interested in Palmer-Brown, the article also mentions that Oriol Rosell's new club, Sporting Club of Portugal is also interested in trying to get him. Basically it means that we're likely in for a summer full of plenty of Palmer-Brown to Europe rumors, especially if he has himself a solid U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Match Day 11: A Game KC Should Have

Sporting KC welcome the Colorado Rapids to Kansas City for the first time in two years this weekend when the two renew a rivalry that is the most played across all competitions for Kansas City. Tomorrow's game will be the 67th time in all competitions that KC and Colorado have faced off against each other.

The Rapids come into the game having gone five games without a win, they've drawn their last four games, all by a 1-1 score line, and before that, fell 3-1 to Colorado. The last year or so for the Rapids has been a struggle though for Pablo Mastroeni, as they've won just one of their last 24 league matches, a 4-0 over Dallas earlier this year. Before that, the Rapids had not won a game since July of 2014 when they beat Chivas USA. They are 1-14-9 in that stretch, with seven of those draws coming in their 10 games this season. Even with that record though, Dillon Powers could cause plenty of trouble for KC's midfield and Gabriel Torres and recently acquired forward, Luis Solignac could cause trouble for KC's back line.

For KC, they're going to have to make some lineup adjustments from last week's game against DC. The biggest of those is Graham Zusi who is out this week after suffering a concussion in last week's draw with DC. His logical replacement would be Krisztian Nemeth coming back into the starting 11 after starting the DC game on the bench. On the other wing, Jacob Peterson could keep his spot, or Peter Vermes could opt for a more offense inserting someone like Jimmy Medranda. On defense, it looks like U20 international, Erik Palmer-Brown will get another start at center back, as he delayed joining the US U20 team for training ahead of the U20 World Cup to stay in KC for this game. There is a last minute worry with a report that Roger Espinoza picked up a knock in training, if he can go, KC's midfield looks a lot thinner and Servando Carrasco would seem likely to come into the lineup with Paulo Nagamura also questionable.

Anibaba - EPB - Besler - Sinovic
Feilhaber - Espinoza
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 1 - I already mentioned that Colorado has just one win in their last 24 MLS games. On top of that, Colorado has just one win in KC since 2002. That one win was in a US Open Cup qualifier back in 2010. KC is 10-1-5 at home against the Rapids in that stretch. It's also the number of league losses that KC has at home against the Rapids since the end of the shootout after the 1999 season, that one loss came in 2002.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Axel Sjoberg - Despite Dwyer's lack of size, KC has relied a lot on the long ball over the top to the Englishman to attempt to hold up. With the 6'7" Swede in central defense for Colorado tomorrow, that's going to be an even tougher task for Dwyer to deal with.

PREDICTION - With the schedule really picking up for Kansas City after this with games against New England, Dallas, two against Seattle, and an Open Cup game, likely against Minnesota United, this is a chance for KC to pick up points at home against an inferior opponent. While Colorado is unbeaten on the road, it's true, KC is the better team than Colorado, especially at home. The question is whether KC can find the scoring to prove it in the scoreline. Unfortunately I'm not really sure they do, and Colorado plays to their fifth straight draw.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
CO - 1 (Torres)