Sunday, August 28, 2011

Opportunity Lost

Kansas City had a great chance last night to get within 1 point of first place in the Eastern Conference after Seattle took apart Columbus earlier in the day. Unfortunately, once again, KC fell apart late and once again allowed two late goals to turn a win into a loss at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. And it's not like this sort of thing hasn't come close on other game days either. Against RSL, Seattle, and DC, KC let those teams hang around too long during the game, but only in one of those did it come back to bit KC.

Throughout much of the game it was hard to tell that Dallas had been the team that had played 135 minutes only two days earlier up in Toronto. KC tried to come out and do their high pressure that they have done quite successfully lately, but last night Dallas did something no team had previously done at LIVESTRONG, high pressured Kansas City right back, and they were more successful at it than KC was, forcing KC to defend more and not allowing them to get up the field as much. Dallas had a few very good chances to take the lead early on, none better than Maicon Santos heading just wide of the goal off a Dallas corner kick after Santos lost Roger Espinoza on the play. Around the 20th minute, KC started to pick the game up, CJ Sapong forced a good save out of Kevin Hartman off a corner kick. Shortly after that a mistake by the Dallas defense opened the door for KC to take the lead. Bruno Guarda and Ugo Ihemelu were too casual after intercepting a Graham Zusi pass. Kei Kamara stole it right from under them, raced in on goal and fired low past Hartman to give KC the lead. After the goal though it was really Dallas that looked the better team, but they only tested Jimmy Nielsen once or twice over the course of the half.

After half time, KC came back out with more pressure and it looked like Dallas was starting to show the signs of all their travel. Teal Bunbury had a great effort from about 30 yards out that cracked off the cross bar, leaving Hartman with no chance. Throughout the early part of the second half it definitely looked like KC would be the more likely to grab a second and in the 68th they did. A long free kick was headed on by a Dallas defender into the path of Bunbury who ended up squaring the ball back across the goal to an onrushing Omar Bravo who tapped the ball home. You could argue whether Bunbury's pass was really a pass or a shot, but Bravo had the easiest of tap ins to make it 2-0 KC. Only two minutes after the goal though, Dallas was back in the game. A free kick from Daniel Hernandez found it's way through and may have taken a deflection off of Ihemelu on the way through, but it found it's way into the net cutting KC's lead in half.

Right after that play, KC saw the return of Aurelien Collin to the field as he came on for Bravo in the 71st. Shortly after his introduction, the Wizards made things even harder on themselves as Bunbury picked up a second yellow for clipping the back of the heal of the Dallas defender. A yellow in that situation seemed a little harsh, but the linesman on the near side seemed fairly adamant about giving Bunbury a yellow. Either way Bunbury was off and for the final 14 minutes KC played a man down. KC was able to withstand the pressure until very late. KC once again was plagued by poor tackling as Dallas was able to go across Kansas City's entire midfield line. The ball made it out wide to Brek Shea who collected the ball and was given plenty of space by Julio Cesar before firing a cross into the box where Santos headed it back across goal and into the net tying the game. Santos out jumped Seth Sinovic on the play to head the ball in. Then just like in the Seattle game, Dallas attacked again in stoppage time, Shea once again receiving the ball wide, with Chance Myers giving him way too much space. Arguments were made by fans on the sidelines that the ball rolled out of bounds, but the no call was made and Shea played in another nice cross that Bobby Warshaw beat Sinovic and Roger Espinoza to, heading it into the net and giving Dallas the 3-2 lead. KC had one last shot to get a point from the game, but a free kick by Myers into Collin was headed wide of the post.

Another late collapse by KC, the fourth time this season that KC has fallen apart late to give up points. They dropped 2 in Vancouver after having a 3-0 lead, another 1 in Seattle when the Sounders again scored late to win. Three points at home with the late collapse against the Sounders, and 3 against Dallas last night. This is becoming a disturbing trend for Kansas City, and as mentioned earlier it could have happened against Salt Lake and DC as well.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - Another goal for Kamara, the third in four games for the Sierra Leone national teamer. The guy is becoming indispensable for Kansas City. Up until the late collapse I would have given it to Julio Cesar, but his seemingly lazy defending, especially on Shea's game tying cross was too frustrating.

Honorable Mention - Julio Cesar

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 3, Besler 4, Cesar 5, Sinovic 3, Zusi 5, Espinoza 4, Bravo 5, Kamara 6, Bunbury 4, Sapong 4. Subs Collin 3, Harrington NR.


KCRovert said...

I love it... rumors start circling about Kei possibly being traded due to our "glut" of strikers, and he comes alive and starts tearing it up. Keep up the great work Kei!!

hartley said...

I blame this loss on VP. He should have subbed Bunbury and Myers off. Bunbury had a yellow card and had put in a good 60+ minutes. Get him off BEFORE something stupid happens. Myers not only had the yellow card but was showing signs of being gassed.

Bring on Davy, not Collin, for Bunbury, not Bravo. Send Omar out left with CJ in the middle. Keep the defense in the middle going as it has. Bring on Harrington for Myers.

And when will this team and coaching staff learn that our best defense is our offense. Don't start going to the corners, but keeping going at the goal. They should constantly be working for the next goal.

A disappointing loss, but it does show we are not quite ready to take the Cup. We are a playoff team. We are contenders. But we are not quite top of table material.

Go Sporting!