Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stealing a Point

The offense didn't really show up, but the defense did what it's been doing lately, even without Aurelien Collin, and was able to shut down the Philadelphia offense to earn KC a 0-0 draw. Philadelphia had 26 chances on goal compared to Sporting KC's 8. Of those 26, 7 were on target, KC put 0 on target last night. The offense is certainly struggling to score goals and ever create chances, as there was really only one chance all night that I thought KC even looked possible to score on. But KC has lost at least 1 point due to bad luck this season in Seattle so this was a bit of redemption for that I guess. Now if we could just get the redemption for Omar Bravo's non-PK in the home opener.

Philadelphia pressed from the start, earning two early corners that they were unable to convert from, the best chance on those falling to Carlos Ruiz after the ball had been partially cleared. KC almost stole a goal in the 14th minute after a poor touch by Danny Califf, Kei Kamara stole the ball and raced in on goal by fired his shot wide of the Philly goal. Omar Bravo should have probably scored a short time later, on a lofted ball into the box, Bravo one timed it well over the goal on the volley. Yes it was a difficult shot, but with the time Bravo had to measure it, he has to at least put that chance on frame and test Faryd Mondragon.

After that chance KC's offense virtually dried up, and it became readily apparent on free kicks that Graham Zusi was missed as both Kamara and Teal Bunbury tried to replicate his 45 yard bomb vs Dallas by blasting balls into row Z off of free kicks. It basically became the defense and Jimmy Nielsen show. Nielsen came up with some big saves as the half wore on against Jack McInerney, and a great save on Carlos Ruiz off of a free kick.

At half time, Bunbury was pulled for CJ Sapong, Bunbury's poor run of form continues and this continues to be a growing concern for KC fans that Bunbury just can't seem to get things going right now. One of these days he'll finally break out, but it really needs to be sooner than later because KC is going to need all it's depth in the coming weeks when the schedule really gets fun. The Union continued to press throughout the second half, but Nielsen and blocks by virtually every defender on the field kept them off the board. Their best chance though came in the 71st, when Ruiz hit the cross bar with a header after a cross from Sebastien Le Toux. Nielsen was finally beat, but the post came to his rescue. KC offered little to nothing going forward at all, it basically became a shooting gallery for the Union with Justin Mapp, Le Toux, and others either firing wide or being stopped by Nielsen.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - There's really no one else to choose. Nielsen was by far the man of the match for KC, stopping everything that got through KC's defense. While the performance wasn't the greatest by the rest of the team, getting a result against second place Philly is big.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 8, Myers 7, Cesar 6, Besler 6, Sinovic 6, Sassano 6, Diop 5, Arnaud 5, Kamara 4, Bunbury 3, Bravo 4. Subs Sapong 5, Harrington 4, Auvray 5.


hartley said...

Teal has lost his aggressiveness in a general sense. He's getting pushed around. He needs to stay on his feet and fight.

And he's trying to do too much at the same time. He can't score every time he touches the ball. He needs to look to pass first. I have seen several times where if he laid the ball off to Davy or Luke or Kai or someone behind him a little, they would have the shot.

In fact, last night he again kicks a ball that he should let Davy take. Teal thinks he is clearing but has his back to players outside. He kicks it right to a Union player and gives them another chance to attack.

We also need to take more shots from outside the box. We still seem to be trying to make that perfect pass, that perfect goal. We need to test the keeper, make him work.

Davy needs to take the corners, the free kicks, and more shots on goal — especially when Zusi is not available [on or off the pitch].

Nathan Martin said...

Very odd that this far into the season that I can't tell if Bravo has/will be a bust or not. Just think it's strange that I feel the need to see more from him in order to make that determination. I'd love for him to be successful, but at this point I most desire for him to make a clear impact on the game, either good or bad.

Ben said...

I agree with Nathan. Teal's play is unfortunate for him, but Sapong has stepped up in such a way that Teal is not the real issue for the team.

The real issue is Bravo, the proven skill player who is under performing terribly. He came out swinging with two goals in the first game, but since coming back from injury has hardly put a shot on frame. Last night, it appeared he couldn't dribble or pass either. When will Bravo be Bravo again? The team needs him.

Also needed: Zusi, Collin. Not been particularly missed: Espinoza, Smith, Harrington, Rocastle, Thomas. Obviously need depth though.