Sporting Kansas City got their 9 game home stand started the right way last night against Toronto FC, scoring 3 first half goals and added a fourth in the second to defeat the reds 4-2 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The way the game started though, it looked like the result could have gone the other direction. Only a few minutes into the game Toronto had a great chance to get the opener as TFC's new DP, Danny Koevermans had a ball squared into the middle. From 6 yards out though the Dutchman was stunned when Jimmy Nielsen got down quickly and got enough of a hand on the ball to knock it into the crowd and then over the cross bar for a TFC corner. A few minutes later, Koevermans again had a decent chance after being played in behind the KC defense by Torsten Frings. But Koevermans fired the shot wide of Nielsen's post.
The early part of the game had a lot of back and forth action between the teams, KC had their chances as well with Julio Cesar and Kei Kamara forcing a double save out of Stefan Frei in the 14th minute. Slowly though KC started to control the game and keep TFC in their own end. In the 28th minute, KC grabbed the lead. A corner from Jeferson hit off a TFC player and bounced into the air. Kamara laid out, going parallel to the ground and firing a scissor kick past Frei and into the net to give KC the 1-0 lead. From there the flood gates seemed to open at least for about a 10 minute time frame. In the 34th, KC made it 2-0. Roger Espinoza received a ball on the left hand side, cut back on his defender and lofted a chip to the back post where Kamara beat his defender to the ball and headed it past Frei. In the 37th, KC made it 3, this time Omar Bravo got in on the scoring. Cesar stripped the ball off of Maicon Santos at midfield and the ball found it's way to Jeferson. The Brazilian started dribbling into TFC's end before playing a great through ball to Bravo. Bravo was held on by Andy Iro and raced onto the ball. Bravo rounded Frei and then from the corner of the 6 yard box slotted the ball into the net to make it 3-0 KC.
Toronto came out in the second half much the way they did in the first half, taking the game to KC. Not even 30 seconds into the half, Nielsen had to make a save on Ryan Johnson after KC gave the ball away poorly in their own end. Unlike in the first half though, TFC found the net in the second. Johnson played a nice ball to the back post, where Koevermans had lost Matt Besler and headed the ball past Nielsen to cut the lead to 3-1. The introduction of Graham Zusi a little later though seemed to reignite KC's offense. Zusi helped to set up a few half chances, including a nice strike by Seth Sinovic that Frei could only knock down and then dive on to cover before Teal Bunbury could get to the rebound. Shortly after Sinovic's chance, KC reestablished their 3 goal lead. Zusi was the creator, sending Chance Myers free down the right wing. Myers fired a one time cross into the middle for Bravo who had beaten his man and he fired past Frei at the near post for his 6th goal of the season. Myers and Bravo almost connected again just a minute later, but Bravo's header was right at Frei who held on.
KC started to concede a little more and TFC was able to attack a bit more, which left TFC open to counters. After one counter that ended in a goal kick, TFC found a second. Frei's kick was over the defense, Daneil Cyrus tried to play the ball back to Nielsen to clear, but did not get enough on the pass as Johnson raced past him and chipped the ball over Nielsen to make it a 2 goal game again. While it was a poor play by Cryus, who immediately realized it, major props to Nielsen for immediately grabbing the TnT international to get him to refocus on the game and move past the mistake. Good leadership by the Dane. TFC really struggled to threaten KC's goal too much and KC continued to try to counter. Late on it looked like KC would get a 5th. Kamara raced past midfield with two players on him. He squared to an open Bunbury, but the ball got stuck underneath the out of form American and by the time he controlled the ball the chance was long gone. In stoppage time TFC had one last good chance to make it a 1 goal game. A corner by TFC was not totally cleared and came to Johnson who with his back to goal went for a bike. Nielsen did well to get across his goal and tip it out for a corner, although it did look like it was going towards the post. Still a nice save by Nielsen.
WIZARDS Man of the Match - Roger Espinoza - Not often will a guy that scores 2 goals in a game not be named the man of the match, but Espinoza had a fantastic game last night. Beside setting up Kamara's second, Espinoza did well to frustrate Toronto's central midfield. After the early chances, Frings was not much of a factor at all in the game. Well done by the Honduran.
Honorable Mention - Kei Kamara, Omar Bravo
Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 6, Collin 5, Besler 5, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Espinoza 8, Jeferson 7, Bravo 8, Sapong 6, Kamara 8. Subs Bunbury 4, Zusi 6, Cyrus 5.