Monday, August 22, 2011

Moving Up the Table

Only a few months ago, Sporting KC was sitting around the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and the questions about the team were very loud. Now, after last night's 1-0 win over DC United, Kansas City now sits in second place in the East, 4 points behind first place Columbus, with the Crew still having to travel to KC. While the score line was only 1-0, KC controlled the game against United, keeping them from leapfrogging KC to get into the top 3 in the East.

As KC has been doing lately, they came out hard from the start, pressing the game and trying to create an early goal. They were denied by the post in the 16th minute as Chance Myers played a great cross into the box. Kei Kamara met it with a snap header, beating Joe Willis, but not the post. Shortly after that chance though KC got the goal they'd been looking for. Omar Bravo collected a long ball from Matt Besler and played a ball into the box for CJ Sapong. The United defense beat him to the ball, but could only clear the ball as far as Kamara. Kamara collected the ball cut the ball inside and then fired a shot that rifled past Willis and into the net giving KC the lead. DC had a good chance to pull level later in the half through Blake Brettschneider. Brettschneider fired a shot from the right of Jimmy Nielsen's net. Nielsen did well to get down and knock the ball away keeping the lead for KC.

Late in the first half came a small point of contention in the game. After a play on the sideline, DC rookie, Perry Kitchen shoved Sapong. Kitchen then immediately went to ground like it'd been the one that was shoved. Kitchen was rightly booed for his move, especially after replays of the incident were shown on the video board. Referee Alex Prus gave Kitchen a yellow card for his theatrics.

In the second half, DC brought in Dwayne DeRosario to try to ignite their offense that had been struggling as late. The early returns were good as DeRosario fired a shot from outside the box over the bar as DC tried to get back into the game. After the early flurries though, KC started to take more control. Graham Zusi had the best chance in the 60th minute, collecting a centering pass from Kamara and firing a shot that Willis got just enough of to knock over the bar. Later in the game, as KC looked to hold onto their lead and counter DC got more of the chances and possession, creating some half chances, but while nervous, they weren't overly threatening. KC held off the DC attacks and took home all 3 points getting into 2nd in the East.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Chance Myers - Myers has gone from being called a number 1 pick bust on the level of Tahj Jakins and Steve Shak to being one of the first names I wanted penciled on the lineup sheet and starting to get serious calls that he deserves a call up. His defense has been extremely good, and his crosses are some of the best on the team. The game against DC was another example of that.

Honorable mention - Seth Sinovic, Kei Kamara

Player Ratings
- Nielsen 6, Myers 8, Besler 7, Cesar 7, Sinovic 7, Espinoza 6, Zusi 6, Bravo 6, Kamara 7, Bunbury 5, Sapong 6. Subs Diop 5, Harrington NR


Nathan Martin said...

Only comment is that if that is the starting XI against Dallas, I think they'd be more effective with Bravo out left and Sapong underneath Bunbury. CJ is so special at holding up the ball that quick diagonal runs from Teal, Omar, and Kei could get SKC behind the Dallas backline.

hartley said...

Let's hope that we have at least one change to the starting XI for the match with Dallas. I am hoping we see Jeferson again. Then Bravo goes out left and Bunbury goes back to the bench.

Nathan, you make a good point about CJ holding up the ball, but that's exactly why you probably won't see him underneath the center forward. That's the job of the center forward — to play with his back to goal and hold the ball up while waiting for support.

If Jeferson is not back, I would really like to see Stojcev back in the midfield putting Bravo out left again. Bunbury is showing flashes, but his first touch is like a cement wall. And instead of using that first touch to make passes, he keeps trying to hold the ball up only for himself. Actually, I think Teal is thinking too much on the field. He probably needs to relax and let the game happen

dan said...

What's Stojcev shown on the field to show he deserves any more playing time? The guy is one leg and a peg, and not in the good way like Preki was. Preki was good enough with the right to keep defenders honest, Stojcev isn't.

hartley said...

Dan -- Did you watch the Portland game? Did you not see Stojcev playing one touch ball? One of his problems has been holding the ball too long. But I thought he played quite well, for him, against the Timbers. Yeah, it was only Portland, but he still played a good game. I think he is coming along.

And what player, even at the top levels around the world, doesn't try to play to his strong leg? Bravo does it all the time. Espinoza. Why even a player like Wayne Rooney would rather set the ball to his strong leg to shoot.

Obviously you and I will continue to disagree about much -- except we want to see Sporting win.

Go Sporting!