Sporting KC performed better than they did last weekend against Columbus, the offense looked better, but in the end the old defensive problems came back up as KC fell to New England 3-2. A little bit of a surprise heading into the game was that Peter Vermes only made one change from the lineup that looked uninspiring in Columbus. That was insertion of Aurelien Collin in the place of Julio Cesar.
From the start KC looked to be playing better, but it was actually New England that grabbed the lead. After Collin pushed wide to cover Rajko Lekic, Lekic crossed the ball into the box. Michael Harrington didn't get enough on his clearance only getting it as far as the debuting Benny Feilhaber. Fielhaber touched the ball back to Marko Perovic. Perovic one timed his shot from about 25 yards past a diving Jimmy Nielsen. Kanasas City responded well though to the goal, as Kei Kamara beat Matt Reis with a shot low to the near post after he turned Didier Domi. KC continued to push to try and find a second goal. Davy Arnaud had the best chance to grab the lead on a quick counter. Harrington raced down the wing and squared a ball into the middle for Arnaud. Arnaud's shot though was knocked away by Reis for a corner.
In the second half both sides continued to push the game. KC looked the team that was more likely to score the second goal with some decent build up play but not being able to really test the Revolution keeper. In the 68th minute the game turned a bit when Teal Bunbury was brought down in the box by Kevin Alston. The penalty call was certainly questionable as the ball was out of play before Bunbury was even fouled. But the penalty was called and Kamara stepped up and buried it giving KC the 2-1 lead. But as with New England's first goal when KC responded quickly, New England did the same. A free kick from Kenny Mansally was headed over Nielsen and into the net by Sharlie Joseph in the 72nd to tie the game at 2-2. Joseph beat KC's goalscorer Kamara to the header on that play. Shortly after the tying goal, KC found themselves down a man as Collin was red carded for a shove to Feilhaber. The lead up to the card saw KC with a corner kick. Collin went up to try to head the ball against Revs goalkeeper, Reis. The two collided in air and both hit the ground. Feilhaber took exception to the challenge and got into Collin's face as he got to his feet. In that process Feilhaber was shoved. Referee, Edvin Jurisevic thought it was enough to give the Frenchman a red card. Don't expect to see a highlight of that on MLS' website as the red card challenge is no where to be found in the match highlights unlike other red cards in the league. But it didn't appear that it was actually Collin that shoved the US national team player.
KC tried to hold out a man down inserting Shavar Thomas into the center of defense with Besler to try and keep the point, but it ended up being Thomas who was beat on the deciding goal. Zak Boggs played a ball into the box where Lekic had slowed his run, losing Thomas and headed the ball past Nielsen to give the Revs the winner. After the goal KC wasn't really able to mount much of an attack in the final 7 minutes to get themselves back in the game. Even the late insertion of Ryan Smith was unable to give KC an offensive burst to find another equalizer.
It'd be easy to blame the referee on this one, but I can't really do that. KC was gifted their second goal on a very iffy penalty call. The red card while worse in the long run was a poor call as well. This comes after I had thought that the referee had actually had a fairly solid first half, he'd been able to control the game while also letting guys play. So it was one questionable call each way for both teams.
No, my complaint continues to be our poor work at improving our center of defense in the offseason. Collin may be that answer but really needs to learn more about how to play in the league and what he can get away with as he was already on a yellow when he received the straight red and certainly looked like a good bet to get a second the way he was playing. Unfortunately with the way that Cesar and Thomas have played this season it basically forced Peter Vermes hand into starting the Frenchman.
Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - A brace for the man from Sierra Leone, he's now tied with Bunbury for the team lead in goals with three now. The offense continues to shoot on all cylinders (the Columbus game aside), and the defense continues to bring more questions than answers.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 4, Harrington 4, Collin 4, Besler 4, Espinoza 5, Diop 4, Arnaud 5, Stojcev 5, Kamara 6, Bunbury 5, Sapong 5. Subs Zusi 4, Thomas 3, Smith NR.