A first half red card to Wizards designated player, Omar Bravo put Sporting KC behind early and they were never able to recover even though they outplayed the Chicago Fire for a good portion of the second half. Before the game even started things didn't seem to be good for KC, as with Shavar Thomas on national team duty, and Julio Cesar having a knock, Roger Espinoza partnered Matt Besler in the center of defense for KC. Not the type of pairing that instills confidence in the back line from the start.
Things first got bad for KC in the 30th minute. After a Sporting KC free kick, Chicago countered, and as Bravo hustled to get back he fouled Diego Chaves. There are plenty of questions that can be asked of the foul, but from behind it certainly looks like Bravo made contact in the angle the referee had. It's not much of a touch when you watch the replays, but it was enough for the referee to go to his back pocket and put KC in a big hole early. Chaves stepped up and buried the PK giving the Fire the lead. Only a few minutes after that first goal Chicago doubled the lead. Michael Videira side stepped an Espinoza challenge and then played a ball through to Gaston Puerari who one timed a curling shot past Jimmy Nielsen and into the net to make it 2-0. Watching the replay I have to question where Craig Rocastle and Stephane Auvray were in that situation where it forced Espinoza to come in and over commit and opening the passing lane for the Fire.
At half time Peter Vermes brought on Teal Bunbury and KC started to get the better off the play and found an early goal that they desperately needed. After Sean Johnson pushed a wind aided corner out for another corner, Davy Arnaud took the corner quick, received the ball back and fired the ball into the box. Johnson did not control the ball and it fell to Besler who fired the ball home giving KC a lifeline. Unfortunately the Fire restored their 2 goal lead shortly after through a great play from Marco Pappa. Pappa dribbled through basically the entire KC defense and fired a ball past Nielsen to make it 3-1. It was a great finish for Pappa. KC continued to push to get back in the game and were able to through Bunbury and a mistake by the Fire back line. On the slow back pass, Bunbury raced by his defender, beating him to the ball and then beat Johnson 1v1 to pull KC back to within a goal. KC had some late chances with Bunbury and CJ Sapong, but were unable to find the equalizer. The second half performance deserved them a point, but some poor defending allowed Chicago to get the win.
Wizards Man of the Match - Teal Bunbury - I think the Chicago game showed that Bunbury is healthy enough at this point to be starting. And should be starting up top for Sporting KC going forward. He came on and there was another level of danger to KC's play. Bunbury needs to be starting.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 3, Besler 4, Espinoza 3, Lorenz 4, Auvray5, Rocastle 4, Stojcev 5, Arnaud 4, Bravo 3, Sapong 4. Subs Bunbury 6, Zusi 4, Diop NR.