Once again Kansas City gave up a first half goal, and once again the Wizards waited until late to pull out an equalizer and salvage their unbeaten run and a point, tying the New England Revolution 1-1 last night. It makes the 4th time in the past 5 league games (and 5th in the last 7) that KC has allowed the first goal early and had to fight back to get a draw. In 3 of those 4 games the equalizer has come in the 89th minute or later. On the Sporting KC Show on 610 this week I had posed that question to Kerry Zavagnin, and he'd said it wasn't a concern of the coaching staff at this time. I disagree and think it is an issue and that issue is growing. Eventually KC isn't going to get those late equalizers.
Kansas City had a nice start early on with Kei Kamara and CJ Sapong having some good chances early on to grab the lead. The Revolution though started to get more of the run of play as the half went on. Early chances for Sharlie Joseph and Rajko Lekic were wide of Jimmy Nielsen's net as Sporting KC's offense sputtered a bit going forward. Lekic was the man who scored the opener in the 38th off a long clearance from Matt Reis. The clearance bounced once at midfield as Roger Espinoza and Daneil Cyrus both tried to head the ball but missed. Lekic raced onto the ball and at the top of the 18 fired a shot low to Nielsen's left to give the Revs the lead. There were calls for offside on the play, but it appears that the rest of the KC back line stepped up expecting Espinoza or Cyrus to get their head on the ball, leaving Lekic behind them, but still onside.
KC came out and pushed the game in the second half, and should have grabbed the equalizer in the first couple minutes. Kamara did extremely well with a good flick to get into space down the wing and played a great cross to the back post for Seth Sinovic. Reis had tried to claim the cross but couldn't, leaving Sinovic with an open net. But Sinovic fired the shot over the bar. The angle was tight, but Sinovic needs to at least put that chance on frame, if he does, with Reis out, that's a goal. As in previous games where KC has trailed, KC pushed as the Revolution sat back a little bit and let KC bring the game. Outside of Sinovic's chance, the best chance fell to Sapong after a nice touch through by Besler. Reis though came up with a good kick save to keep the ball out of the net.
The Wizards continued to push and they got some help from the Revolution and the referee in the 82nd. A headed clearance from KC got touched over AJ Soares by another defender. Sapong raced through collecting the ball and was going into a 1v1 situation with Reis. Soares though was just behind Sapong and made a sliding challenge for the ball, catching Sapong and maybe getting a little of the ball. Terry Vaughn made no hesitation on the play, immediately going to his back pocket and producing the red card sending the rookie off for denying a goal scoring opportunity. With the man advantage KC continued to send numbers forward, and finally in the 89th they were level. A great build up on the play with some good passing and movement, especially by Omar Bravo and Teal Bunbury. Bravo collected a pass and dribbled deep into the box but got himself into trouble and the chance looked missed. But a deflection on a pass had the ball come out to Bunbury who slotted a shot past Reis and into the corner. The goal seemed to lift a huge weight off of Bunbury's shoulders, just in his reaction to the goal, maybe that's the thing that pulls him out of the funk he's been in for the past few months.
WIZARDS Man of the Match - Roger Espinoza - Another good game from the Sporting KC midfielder, Espinoza shut down Benny Feilhaber and Sharlie Joseph. New England was forced to attack over the top or down the wings avoiding the middle.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 6, Besler 5, Cyrus 5, Sinovic 6, Espinoza 7, Cesar 6, Jeferson 5, Kamara 5, Sapong 6, Zusi 5. Subs Bravo 6, Bunbury 6, Diop NR.