Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is the Road Trip Over Yet?

Another road game, another loss for KC, their fourth in a row and their fifth of the season in LA 4-1 last night. KC is now winless in 6 games after beating Chivas USA in the season opener. Silly mistakes ended up costing KC more than anything, stupid fouls and more lackadaisical defending, the things that have defined KC's season so far. The offense didn't bring much of anything to the game either as the lone goal was an own goal, and KC didn't really look like scoring other than that.

There was a big surprise before the game even started as Eric Kronberg got the start in goal ahead of Jimmy Nielsen. A surprising decision because while KC had allowed 13 goals, Nielsen has been arguably KC's best player this season. Kronberg was tested inside the first two minutes on a nice shot by Landon Donovan. KC was able to weather the early storm, with Kronberg making a few saves to keep the score level. In the 39th minute, KC grabbed a surprising lead as Milos Stojcev played a cross into the box for Kei Kamara. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stuck a foot out to keep the ball from going to Kamara, but ended up deflecting the cross past Josh Saunders and into his own net giving KC the lead.

But the lead didn't last long, as a disturbing trend for KC of allowing goals within five minutes of scoring popped up again. David Beckham played a cross into the box that Roger Espinoza tried to take off his chest instead of just heading clear. Todd Dunivant hassled Espinoza enough after the play to cause him to give the ball away to Beckham in the corner of the box. Espinoza went in with a high boot catching Beckham in the thigh, an easy penalty kick for Baldomero Toledo. Landon Donovan stepped up and buried the PK, sending Kronberg the wrong way.

At half time you would think that KC might be able to hold out and maybe steal a point from the Galaxy. But those hopes were dashed inside the first minute of the second half when LA virtually came right down the field and scored to make it 2-1. Off a quick throw from LA, Donovan ran at the KC goal with Espinoza on his hip, Espinoza slid in and knocked the ball away, but the ball went to Chad Barrett who knocked the ball back into the path of Donovan who beat Kronberg to give LA the lead. KC had a chance to equalize in the 62nd after Kamara played Graham Zusi into the box. Zusi had time to get a good shot off, but instead fired the shot wide of the goal.

That miss came back to haunt KC moments later. A long ball from the back was headed by Juan Pablo Angel to Donovan who then heading it back to Angel who had made his run behind Julio Cesar who got caught ball watching along with Aurelien Collin. Angel raced in 1v1 against Kronberg and slotted home to make it 3-1 to the Galaxy. The Galaxy continued to push for a fourth, Kronberg made a good save on a Beckham free kick in the 75th minute, and then in the 81st Barrett shot over the bar after he held off and spun Cesar too easily. The Galaxy always looked the more likely to find a 4th and they did in the 87th. After Davy Arnaud was called for a fairly weak foul on Beckham out to Kronberg's right, about 25 yards out, Beckham stepped up an blasted a "Beckham Special" curling the ball into the top corner leaving Kronberg with no chance and giving LA their fourth goal.

Ryan Smith forced a good save from Saunders almost immediately after the goal, possibly the best chance KC produced all game outside the goal. Donovan almost completed his hattrick in stoppage time as he was played through as Collin slipped. Kronberg did well to cut the angle down and as Donovan tried to round him Michael Harrington recovered and was able to knock the ball away.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - Really I almost gave this to no one this week, but after rewatching the game I'm giving it to Kronberg. Kronberg got hung out to dry on virtually each one of the goals by his defense. He had a decent game coming up with some big saves, but there were so many issues with the team last night.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 5, Harrington 3, Cesar 2, Collin 4, Espinoza 2, Auvray 4, Arnaud 4, Stojcev 4, Zusi 3, Bunbury 3, Kamara 3. Myers 4, Smith 4, Sapong 4.


Roush said...

You might even be grading Kronberg a bit harshly due to the result. Watching it, I saw him at about a 6 to 6.5.. Of course, it's hard to justify that when you give up four goals.

I just hope that this experiment doesn't backfire and hurt his confidence going forward. He had a fairly solid game and really didn't deserve to have four goals hung on him.

Mike said...

Yeah I felt Kronberg had a solid game, but giving I couldn't give him a 6 when four goals were allowed, even if he did play well.

mrdot said...

Bunbury's dramatic drop in form is worrying. I mean, I know he's not getting decent service from the midfield, but the guy repeatedly tries to take on three defenders or rushes an off-balance shot with predictable results. It even looked like he was out-hustled to the ball a number of times last night. I want to like the guy, but he's not going to be a regular national team player at this rate.

Smith needs to get healthy enough to play a full 90 soon, and Bravo can't return fast enough.

Drew said...

Perhaps Bunbury is playing at his level. Perhaps people got too excited about him from what he did while not wearing a Sporting shirt. He doesn't have the same talent he had around him in the USMNT or even at Stoke City while I trial; therefore, that could be the reason for his dip in form. I understand that Vermes wanted to shake up the team with Kronberg in goal, but maybe he should shake up the back four instead. Espinoza is not a leftback. The way he has played this season he doesn't deserve a spot. What the hell was he doing when he chested the ball down than jump kicked Beckham. But who on this team truly does?
The easiest way to beat this team is to press the ball. LA pressed KC in KC's own half much of the match. Fully agree KC never looked like scoring.
Once again, PREKI!!!!

Drew said...

Just watched the highlights yet again, and the 4-3-3 contiues to leave gaps in that midfield. Numerous, numerous times Auvery wasn't tracking a runner. Saw it when he didn't mark anyone on the throw-in that led to Donovan's second goal, and from the the build up to Angel's goal. This team truly is the worst in the league, and the hard part is they're not getting better. Again the positive is that they're just 9 points from the final Eastern Conference play-off spot.

Dan said...

And as I told you previously Drew, Preki made the playoffs with Chivas with what was basically Bradley's team. He sucked at Toronto, and the other problem is that his teams were in a state of constant injury crisis. 1 year of it you could count to bad luck. 3+ years of it and it's a problem with the way he trains the team.

Anonymous said...

New Stadium- might want to hold up on the name plaque for Vermes' office ... just saying

Moop said...

New stadium - the only thing right with this organization at the moment.

Seriously, I'm finding my solution to issues with the team's logo, colors, ownership, coaching staff, and on-field product is becoming more and more that I'm rooting for other teams. I don't want to be that guy.

Can we have last year back, but with the new stadium?

Drew said...

Dan, point taken; however, TFC were 7-10-7 when he was sacked. Not much worse/better than Vermes' KC over his time as TD and manager. You can't say he didn't make it any worse at TFC than it was before. Also, injuries happen. Bravo's hurt right now, Smith is coming back from injury. Just the rigours of football. His training maybe tough, but that's his style. Much like Vermes' style is to play a 4-3-3 with no-bite in the midfield. At Chivas he may have had Bradley's team or atleast many pieces of it, but he still had to get them to play and win. He went 40-29-21 during his time there, though the end wasn't quite as good. He was trying to turn TFC around and was sacked in the middle of it. If Aron Winter was fired tomorrow would you write him off already, too? Vermes has had plenty of time to help turn this club around (since '06), when can he be written off? If Vermes stays there's a good chance things will continue as is. But if they shake it up, IT could get an injection of life, tactics, training and coaching they currently don't have. Yes, it's a big question mark. Atleast the only way is up for KC right now. If they still have four points on June 9, I'm afraid it might be a good idea to look toward next season. I hope not though. They don't look like they're playing for Vermes on the pitch. They look tired and uninterested during matches, possibly the long road trip; but come on they're professionals.

Dan said...

Yes Drew injuries do happen, but as I said, "1 year of it you could count to bad luck. 3+ years of it and it's a problem with the way he trains the team."

Maybe his training regiment is tough, but if it's causing your players to consistently be injured, then there's a problem that he should probably address and change his tactics a bit.

mrdot said...

I don't know if I buy the Preki=injuries meme that floated around. What I do know is that you're advocating we can Vermes for a guy with roughly the same record of not winning, only more hard-headed and combative. I'm not seeing how this is an improvement.

At any rate, a major shakeup needs to happen. The team has spent a lot of money for talent that should have put them mid-table. Instead we're the league's doormat. This team is awful, and it goes beyond the road-trip. I could stand the losing record if I saw any kind of improvement on the field.

Nathan Martin said...

Disappointed in our lack of ability to sustain any possession in the opponents' half. Probably a combination of personnel and formation, but it's like we're doing wind sprints out there as opposed to playing soccer.

In desperate need of a result before home opener or the cynicism will only grow.

David said...

i'm just happy to see that people are talking about canning vermes at all, let alone who we are going to hire next... he is basically the reason behind our poor form - he drafted all the kids playing poorly right now, and chooses to keep playing them. same old argument, nothing changes with vermes - bad decision after bad decision.

speaking of bad - how bad does michael harrington suck? i'm tired of people praising him. the problem is he's just one of a pretty rough back 4. ugh.

KC WIz said...

I just wanted to say to the idiot on this website who was saying this offseason that you dont need a #10 to be competitive in the MLS, I WIN! We could actually use two #10s like Villareal does with Cani, and Santi Carzola. And then have 2 d mids. The 4-3-3 has to go.

Anonymous said...

And you have no clue on how MLS works and why those guys won't be coming here.

Ignoring the way this league works doesn't make you a winner it makes you an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it funny that this is the true blog website? If you go to SKC official blog there are no articles or blogs about the losses and just BS information about silly things! Of course no one is commenting in any of that stuff.... Fortunately we can vent here and we can talk about the true problem of this team since 2006 Vermes. I believe the talent up front and mid is there but the problem lies in formation and defense. Harrington is not the best out there but if you must point out failures! watch the last game again and watch Chance Mayer's play... awful PS he was our #1 draft pick- paid over 150k... and continues on the team worst of all he continues to play.
Hang in there KC fans- it really cant' get worse... unless we lose the home opener on national television... we will be like the rich kid in the team with all the nice things (cleats, uniform, stadium) but cant keep up

Moop said...

Sadly or thankfully, it's true that if I want any actual information about the team or games I come hear or go to The Backpost or The Full 90.

I wasn't, and still aren't, happy about the team's new logo and colors (or the name if I'm honest). When I posted a comment on the "Sporting" website, I could tell the responses were from Sporting employees trying to deflect criticism of the lackluster marketing push.

I'm used to most teams rotating their forwards somewhat, but I always thought defenses weren't. I wonder how much the "leaky" defense is more of a lack of consistent play time as a unit due to the revolving door of changing the lineup every week?