Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winning to Open the Season

For the first time in over 10 away trips, I finally got to see Sporting KC/KC Wizards win a road game as they defeated Chivas USA 3-2 at the Home Depot Center. KC scored early and held on late to win the season opener for the 10th time in team history. Things went well early to KC as a free kick from Luke Sassano was not cleared by the Chivas defense. CJ Sapong pounced on the play, touched the ball away from the defense and fired past Zach Thornton for his first professional goal less than 2 minutes into his first game.

After that goal, Chivas USA started to pick up the play and controlled the game. Some good saves by Jimmy Nielsen and some strong defending kept Chivas USA off the board. KC did suffer a blow in the 20th minute when Craig Rocastle went down with an injury. Stephane Auvray replaced the Grenadian international. KC doubled the lead in first half stoppage time after a great string off passing that saw the team complete 19 passes. The play finished with Kei Kamara sending in cross from deep towards the box. The ball got past Sapong and his defender, but fell to Omar Bravo who flicked the ball over the on rushing Thornton and into the net, doubling the lead right before half time.

In the second half Chivas pulled themselves back into the game early through former Wizards player, Jimmy Conrad. Off a Chivas corner Kansas City's defense failed to clear the ball and Conrad pounced on the ball and knocked it home from short range after losing Kamara, his marker. Chivas searched for the equalizer, but it was Sporting KC that found a third first again through Bravo in the 74th minute. A long ball by Jimmy Nielsen was headed on to Bravo by Sapong. Bravo headed it to Kamara, who headed it back into the path of Bravo who touched it past Thornton with the outside of his foot. Late on things got interesting as in the 84th minute Chvias USA pulled back a goal again through Ben Zemanski. Another goal off a set piece as a Chivas corner was only partially cleared. After being knocked back in Zemanski. The final few minutes ended up being a little hectic, but KC held on for the win to open the season.

Sporting Man of the Match - Omar Bravo - Two goals to open the season is a good way to get yourself the man of the match award. He won't score 2 goals every week, but it's a nice start.

Honorable mention - CJ Sapong, Kei Kamara.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Sassano 5, Julio Cesar 6, Besler 5, Espinoza 5, Rocastle NR, Arnaud 5, Stojcev 6, Kamara 6, Sapong 6, Bravo 6. Subs Auvray 6, Myers 5, Zusi NR.

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