Last night against New York, Sporting Kansas City stepped up against the stronger Red Bulls side and shut down the Red Bulls attack. Unfortunately the offense struggled, only recording 2 shots on goal all game after controlling much of the play in the second half.
Things started out going the way many KC fans thought, as in the 12th minute, Dwayne DeRosario went down from a tug from Stephane Auvray earning the Red Bulls a penalty. DeRosario went down incredibly easy for a light touch, but earned the penalty for the Red Bulls. Rafael Marquez stepped up to take the penalty kick. Marquez though weakly struck the PK and it was easily saved by Jimmy Nielsen to keep the score tied 0-0. The Red Bulls continued to attack, and Nielsen came up with a couple good saves to keep Kansas City in the game. In the 22nd New York got the goal that they likely deserved for their early play when Marquez took a quick free kick near midfield. Marquez played the ball to Thierry Henry, who found DeRosario streaking past Korede Aiyegbusi. DeRosario squared the ball into the middle for Luke Rodgers who buried his shot past Nielsen or the lead. On first look, Rodgers certainly appeared to be offside on the play, at least a couple steps in front of him. The image people shows that he was likely onside, but the problem is that the linesman was in no position to make the call on whether Rodgers was onside or not as he was a good 10 yards behind the play.
Nielsen's best save of the game came in the 38th on a shot by DeRosario. A shot from long range that Nielsen got just enough of a touch on to push the ball wide of the post for a corner. Then off the corner Nielsen again came up with a big save, knocking away a header from Tim Ream.
KC made one change at half time, bringing on Ryan Smith on for the ineffective CJ Sapong. KC was the more active side in the second half, controlling possession and keeping Henry and half time substitute Juan Agudelo in check and really keeping New York from any chances in the second half. Aurelien Collin and Julio Cesar both were solid in the center of defense for KC during the game cutting out a number of New York's attacks. Unfortunately KC was unable to do anything with that possession. KC's best chance came in the 61st when Michael Harrington played a ball into the box that went over the heads of New York's defenders to Graham Zusi who volleyed first time over the net in a reaction shot. Smith did a good job of holding possession, but many times held on to the ball too long. But in the end KC didn't create enough with all the possession that they had in the second half and that ended up costing KC against New York.
Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - A strong performance from KC's goalkeeper. Yes Marquez's PK was very weak, but Nielsen could have gone the wrong way early and Marquez could have been seen as "calmly putting the penalty away". Nielsen holding out allowed him to make the easy save. Nielsen also had other good saves throughout the game to keep KC in the game.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Harrington 5, Collin 6, Cesar 5, Aiyegbusi 5, Auvray 5, Arnaud 5, Zusi 4, Sapong 3, Bunbury 4, Kamara 4. Subs Smith 5, Stojcev 4.