Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Streak Continues

Sporting Kansas City extended their unbeaten run to 8 league games, 10 in all competitions as they scored two early goals against the Portland Timbers, saw a wonder goal from Darlington Nagbe, and then held on late to win 2-1 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Early on Portland had some of the better possession, but it was Aurelien Collin who almost found the opener in the 8th minute off a free kick from Graham Zusi, his header going just wide of the post. In the 15th minute though KC grabbed the lead. After some tight work along the sideline near midfield by Graham Zusi, Chance Myers, and Omar Bravo, Bravo slid a pass through to CJ Sapong. Timber defender, Eric Brunner tried to slide in to knock the ball away. Sapong held off defender, Mamadou "Futty" Danso and fired a shot that Troy Perkins was late to react to as it went by him and into the net giving KC the 1-0 lead. Shortly after the first goal, KC doubled the lead. A long throw from Matt Besler into the box was flicked on by Sapong to Collin whose header directed into the far corner and doubled Kansas City's lead inside the first 20 minutes of the game. As the half continued KC possibly could have made it 3-0 as Milos Stojcev missed a decent chance to put the game further out of reach.

Instead it was Portland that found a way back into the game just before stoppage time. A free kick by Jack Jewsbury was punched clear by Jimmy Nielsen. the ball fell to Nagbe, who juggled the ball twice on his right foot before firing a rocket past Nielsen and into the far corner. An absolutely wonderful goal by the Timbers' rookie. You could make small arguments about Futty being in an offside position and trying to play the ball, but that would take away from the blast by Nagbe as Portland deservedly found a way back into the game.

As the second half got started, the teams both seemed to be interested in bringing the game at the other. Half chances from both sides started the second half. In the 50th though, KC should have made it 3-0. Myers did a great job combining with Stojcev down the right and played a great ball into the middle to Bravo, whose one time effort was saved off the line by Perkins keeping the Timbers in the game. The hectic start to the second half continued in the 56th, when Jorge Perlaza got played in on goal against Nielsen, but the Dane got his hand up to knock away the near post shot, keeping KC out in front. The Timbers continued to threaten and try to find an equalizer, Kenny Cooper had an open header but headed right at Nielsen who made the easy save. KC found themselves trying to strike on the counter more as the half went on, a shot by Zusi in the 81st was just tipped over by Perkins. Portland's last great chance fell to the former Wizard, Jack Jewsbury in the 84th after KC had trouble clearing a cross into the box. Jewsbury was about 25 yards out and fired a shot that ended up going just wide of Nielsen's post. Nielsen looked to be a little out of position on the play and had no chance of getting back across the goal for that if it'd been on frame. KC was able to hold on and took all 3 points and continue to move themeselves up the East standings.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - CJ Sapong - The rookie continues to impress greatly and make Peter Vermes look extremely smart for drafting him at the 10 spot. Another goal and an assist for the rookie last night now ties him with Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, and Kei Kamara for the team lead in league goals, the weatlh is definitely getting spread around right now, but Sapong is also doing the little things you want from your center forward, he's holding the ball up, he's winning arial battles and doing well to connect with the other forwards.

Honorable Mention - Chance Myers

Player ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 7, Collin 7, Besler 6, Harrington 6, cesar 6, Espinoza 6, Zusi 6, Bravo 5, Sapong 8, Stojcev 5. Subs Kamara 5, Diop 5, Bunbury NR.


bfos said...

Can some explain Stojcev getting starts over Kamara? I was thinking it had to be injury related, but then Kamara subbed in. Stojcev is the most consistently poor player on the team this side of Bunbury.

FootyChronicles said...

Yes, Stojcev has been poor lately, but I don't think this is really because of what he's doing; Vermes has been putting him in the winger position, when really, he's not made out for that area of the field. He doesn't have much speed, and he's not very athletic. I think if Vermes were to put him in the midfield, he'd do better. Having said that, I don't think he should be starting...but if he does, he should be in the midfield.

Anonymous said...

Agreed guys, Stojcev is a weak link, but as stated, he is not built for the wing. Kamara, surprisingly is not making arguments for himself, he comes in with low energy and although he is a sub he seldom runs on the defensive end (notice last game when Portland almost scores on Jewsbury's shot, he was watching and walking).

PS is the guy that runs this website related to Chance Mayers? if you are giving him a 7 and making him honorable mention, I am going to assume so ..... Collin or any other defender deserves that honor above chance, yikes buddy...

bfos said...

I guess I'm not sure I buy that as a criticism of Kamara. I mean, this is the guy who was possibly the hardest working player on the team last season. And even if so, he's still a noticeable improvement from Stojcev.

I'd say any lack of intensity one might see from Kamara has more to do with the game not calling for it instead of disciplined holding.