Sunday, August 07, 2011

Poor Tackling Kills Sporting KC Late

Games like last night are the main reason why I don't do write ups the night of the game and why I'd struggle to make this a real job for myself. So many things to be frustrated and disappointed about from that game. And that's even before getting to the end result as well with the 2-1 loss to Seattle. Things didn't start badly though, it looked like a good night for Sporting KC. Like on Wednesday against Real Salt Lake, KC came out hard from the beginning, taking the game to the Sounders. Inside the first 10 minutes, KC forced Kasey Keller to make two fine saves right back to back.

The early pressure once again as KC grabbed the lead off a long throw from Matt Besler. Like against Salt Lake, Besler connected with Kei Kamara, this time though, Kamara had totally lost his man and had a free header that he put into the net without a problem. Kamara dedicated the goal to the mother of Sporting KC defender, Kevin Ellis who passed away yesterday. After the goal, the game continued to open up as it was from end to end. In the 28th minute, Seattle should have equalized through Alvaro Fernandez, who was left unmarked on the back post, but Fernandez put his header wide of the goal. KC could have grabbed a second goal shortly after that. CJ Sapong got played in behind the Seattle defense, then as the defense recovered, Sapong cut back twice, beating his man before a second defender came sliding in knocking the ball away before Sapong got a shot off. Off the ensuing corner KC had another chance as the ball was cleared out to Michael Harrington who played in a nice cross to the back post that Besler headed wide of the goal.

Late in the first half the game really started to pick up and started to set the tone for the second. Fredy Montero and Omar Bravo got into a bit of a tussle on the side line and as Montero was running up the field, he got a shove from Graham Zusi for his efforts, right in front of the Sounders bench and the referee, but no call was made.

In the second half the game continued to remain open as it went back and forth. Just like the Salt Lake game though, the game changed in the 59th minute. Birahim Diop collected a loose ball and played a poor ball towards Bravo. Seattle stepped in front of the ball and attacked again. The two lost possession and Bravo came sliding in for a tackle. Bravo got the ball but followed through taking out Pat Noonan in the process. Jair Marrufo went immediately for his back pocket producing a red card for KC. The tackle has brought plenty of conversation between fans on whether it was a red card or not. I can see why he chose to give the red card for the challenge, but with the way Marrufo had called the game up to that point it was a little surprising. After the red is when things got a little embarrassing for Bravo, as he went over to Noonan to give him a piece of his mind and as Noonan got into Bravo's face, Bravo went down like the Sounders' player had headbutted him. Replays showed that it was close, but doesn't appear that Noonan actually made contact with the Mexican, and Bravo was just trying to get him sent off.

After the red card, the game became very similar to Wednesday's game against Salt Lake, with Seattle attacking in waves against KC. The defense got a huge lift from goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen in the 70th minute as the Dane came up with two huge saves right back to back on the Sounders. First came a diving save on Michael Fucito, knocking the ball wide. The ball fell to Lamar Neagle, who appeared to have an open net to shoot at. But Nielsen quickly got back on his feet and made it across the goal, sticking out his foot and knocking the ball away for a huge save that on the next stoppage of play got him a standing ovation from the entire stadium. Seattle continued to press, but couldn't get many clear shots at goal, and it appeared that KC would hold on for another game while playing a goal down.

In the 88th minute though things started to unravel for KC. First, Luke Sassano picked up what appeared to be a serious knee injury on a challenge with Neagle. The replays seemed to show his knee bending an unnatural way. Sassano came on and finished the game, but wasn't a factor the rest of the way limping the entire time playing more as a forward as well. Still KC looked like they may keep their lead, but in the 89th KC finally wilted. It came after a Teal Bunbury attack where he fired the shot wide. In that situation, Bunbury was likely better off playing the ball wide to Chance Myers to take the ball to the corner. On the ensuing attack from Seattle, the Sounders were level. Mauro Rosales received a through ball into the box just beyond the reach of a sliding Zusi. Then after Rosales had collected the ball, Diop went to ground too early and easily, allowing Rosales to dance around him and slot the ball into the far corner tying the game at 1-1. Things got worse for the Wizards, as for the 3rd time in the last 4 games they allowed the winner in the last few minutes of the game. Rosales again started the play, playing a square ball into the middle for Fucito, who alluded more poor tackling by KC's defense and found Neagle totally wide open on the right side of Nielsen's goal. Neagle fired the ball into the far corner and gave Seattle all 3 points in KC for the 3rd time in 3 years in KC.

The poor tackling and decision making by KC through out the game is the most disappointing about the result. The end of the unbeaten run and the league record without a loss at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park were bound to end eventually, it's just the way that it happened due to silly mistakes that makes this result the most disappointing. Add in the fact that it's the third time in four games this type of result has come against the Sounders, it's gotten old.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - I think it might be safe to say that Kamara has gotten out of his slump. He once again played with great fire and did well to create the goal, taking it well. KC lost that fire a bit when the Sierra Leone international was subbed out.

Honorable Mention - Jimmy Nielsen

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Harrington 5, Besler 5, Cesar 5, Sinovic 5, Diop 4, Jeferson 4, Zusi 5, Kamara 6, Sapong 6, Bravo 4. Subs Sassano 6, Bunbury 4, Myers 4.


Drew said...

Nielsen was good for 89 mins, and KC never seems to play the full 90 against Seattle. I've read some people say Bravo's sending off was controversial, but everything I've see it was a two footed tackle. I thought he embarrassed himself and the club with his "afters" with Noonan. No need for that. Jeferson was quite anonoymous during the game. The team misses Colin's presence at the back. Remember that during the unbeaten run, KC only beat Salt Lake and FCD, all other teams were non-playoff teams. Those two wins were also mid-week wins. I wouldn't say Seattle is an elite team this year, but KC still has a long ways to go.

Moop said...

I think it was easy to tell that the end of the game Saturday was the end of a long week for the team. Three games in eight days is not the easiest thing, especially when you are missing some players. I have been a bit of a critic of C├ęsar and Harrington this year feeling they were quite mistake prone earlier in the season. Given that, they seemed to play pretty well this week. Even in spite of the loss Saturday, I'm happy with the defenses overall performance in the last three games, especially playing three of those with 10 (or 9) men for a sizable portion.

I'm betting if Bravo had had a little more composure after his card, people would have been more likely to argue in favor of him. He made himself and the team look bad.

I wish Rosales would have gotten a card for the six times he crumpled and laid on the ground wanting a foul called.

Reepicheep said...

I'm baffled by the lack of criticism about Vermes subbing choices in general, but especially yesterday. I guess because they haven't been losing no one is saying too much on that subject.

In my view, better subbing could have meant wins in a couple of the 6 recent ties, and I think they could have nailed down a win yesterday had Diop been subbed off for Myers who could have given excellent chasing energy in a stopper like role to finish the game.

There was NO reason to sub Kamara off. He was playing with excellent energy. Sapong didn't need to be subbed either.

Vermes is definitely doing better, but compare his sub choices with Schmid's and consider who knows more about what their doing tactically.

Moop said...

Oh, I totally agree that it wasn't the best subbing.

I've found people don't much appreciate criticisms in that area. I'm not sure why Diop seems to be one of our go-to guys. I was hoping Vermes was going to sub out Diop for Meyers or Sassano, or at the most, sub out Diop, sub in Bunbury, and drop Bravo back.

Obviously that wasn't possible nor did any of that happen in a timely manner. Kamara and Sapaong seem to frequently get subbed out ahead of more obvious choices.

In any case, pretty spot on by Reepicheep and the same for Drew to be honest.

Mike said...

Because I saw no problems with the tactics of the subs. He pulled out a forward for a fresher one to try and run more at the defense on the counter. He pulled out another forward with less than 10 mins to go to go with a more defensive set up to maintain the lead. It's exactly how I would have done it, plain and simple.

hartley said...

Well, it has been hard for Vermes to make good subs lately with what he has left on the bench. We played our best game of the season last week and still didn't have all of our best players on the field.

We don't have Collin, Rocastle, Arnaud. And we didn't have Espinoza.

I must agree I was a bit confused by his taking Kamara off. He still seemed very fresh and dangerous. Sometimes a good offense is a better defense.

I don't think you can put Myers on for Diop. Unfortunately, we didn't really have anyone we could put on for Diop.

I have to disagree with you Mike. Bravo's tackle was not two footed. He plants his right foot and gets the ball with his left. He does jump into the whole thing, but does not slide through at all. It's sort of a hop, jump, plop. And Noonan makes sure there is contact. Good play by him, I guess.

Now what Omar did after the play was, well, stupid. But I will give him this — he showed us clearly that Noonan took a dive and was totally faking. Noonan popped right up and stuck his chest out. And for my money, at that point Noonan should have also been sent off.

One last thing — I have been giving Cesar a hard time. And he has proved me wrong the last two games. I thought his play has been very, very good. And he seems to work better with Harrington than with Myers on that side. I am still having difficulty watching him telegraph 20 yard passes that are getting intercepted every time. He does need to make more of the simple passes to those who can make the better deep passes — Harrington, Myers, Besler, Sinovic, etc.

I (still) BTWWW said...

It was only for the first time mentioned by Drew, but I'm wondering why there has not been more criticism of Jefferson's play. I thought it was crap...constantly turning the ball over by trying to dribble around defenders he couldn't actually beat instead of the quick pass that would have put seattle on their back heels...I hope he is not turning into another Marinelli...

Anonymous said...

I am emboldened by the fact that others seem to see what I see in Jefferson's play (or lack thereof) and the poor substitutions (admittedly an after the fact critique). Jefferson repetedly turned the ball over in the attacking third and hosed the momentum and possession. He fails to make the easy possession pass in favor of dribbling three players and almost intensionaly avoids playing the ball to fellow midfielders. It is almost like saying look at me, I am the only one who can deliver this team. The results say otherwise. This is a team game and success requires that it be played that way. The whole must be greater than the sum of the parts, and that was working well until recently.

Regarding the subs used...I can't understand pulling Kamara even though he did look tired, he was playing pretty well. Sapong should continue to start and Bunbury used only as needed. We didn't need. Sapong plays with a lot more energy and will defend like he cares. He also will look to pass...note blistering wasted run by Myers late in the second half. I understand holding the ball if the run pulled defenders...but that didn't happen. Bravo was embarrassing. That display from a player is bad, but as a captain is unacceptable.

Interesting that for the most part the best most consistent play has come from the lowest paid players on the field. Kinda makes you wonder.