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.