Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sporting KC's Own Z-Man

photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson

With Brisket Bob outside the Members Club last night cutting up brisket each time the Wizards scored last night, the team did not disappoint, scoring 3 times as they defeated the Portland Timbers 3-1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Sporting KC's own Z-Man, Graham Zusi, led the way scoring a brace, and Soony Saad scored a birthday goal on his professional debut.

KC dominated the game early on as they have done the past two games against Salt Lake and Seattle, Chance Myers fired an early shot wide of the post, although Troy Perkins appeared to have the shot covered. KC continued to push and Milos Stojcev had a deflected effort go off the bar leaving Perkins stranded as the deflection took the shot the opposite direction. Finally in the 24th minute, KC got their deserved lead. A poorly cleared header by Rodney Wallace went straight to Zusi about 25 yards out from goal. Zusi took a touch and then let fly, leaving Perkins with no chance as the ball flew past him and into the back of the net giving KC the lead. After the goal some idiots decided that it'd be funny to throw the head of one of the Omar Bravo bobbleheads given away for the game. One of them hit Jimmy Nielsen in the eye causing him to require stitches and force the game to be stopped for a few minutes while he received treatment. Thankfully on both accounts, Nielsen was able to finish the game in goal, and the offending parties were arrested, spent a night in WyCo jail and are banned for life from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Calling them assholes is an insult to assholes, seriously who throws a heavy object like the head of a bobble head at your own player?

KC should have doubled their lead a few minutes later through Teal Bunbury as he got played in behind the Portland defense by Seth Sinovic. Bunbury raced into the box, but took one touch too many, allowing Eric Horst to recover and tackle the ball away before he could get a shot off. In the 40th minute though KC did double their lead, and for the third straight game, it came off of a throw in from Matt Besler. Besler's throw in was flicked on by CJ Sapong to the back post where Bunbury did well to one time it. Perkins had done well to get across the goal and make the initial save, but the rebound fell to Zusi who bundled the ball over the line from a foot out to send KC into the half up.

In the second half, KC continued to attack but not as much as in the first. Early on we had some adventures in goalkeeping, as Nielsen misjudged a long clearance that bounced over his head, but Nielsen got back in time to save the ball on the line. Shortly after that, KC almost grabbed a third as a cross from Chance Myers was headed onto the bar by Kei Kamara. Sapong followed up but missed on his acrobatic effort and finally Portland were able to clear. Jack Jewsbury on his return had a good effort blocked by Julio Cesar before it could get through to Jimmy Nielsen. In the 72nd minute, Saad got probably the best birthday present he could think of, and one of the luckiest goals ever. Sinovic played a ball through for Saad, but it was too far in front of him and Eric Brunner attempted to clear it. The clearance though deflected off of Saad, over Perkins and into the net to give KC the 3-0 lead and Saad his first professional goal. In the 80th minute, Portland got themselves on the board, as Wallace found Bright Dike in the box, Dike's little flick went through the legs of Besler and into the net past a diving Nielsen to make it 3-1. Bunbury had a great chance to restore the 3 goal lead. when he was played in down the line by substitute, Michael Harrington. Bunbury attacked Perkins goal, but instead of either taking a quicker shot, or squaring the ball, Bunbury's final touch was heavy and Perkins was able to beat Bunbury to the ball. KC survived a late flurry from the Timbers and captured another win.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Graham Zusi - A brace for the guy the day before his birthday to go along with Saad's birthday goal. Zusi also did great work helping Roger Espinoza to shut down Jewsbury in the middle of the field for Portland.

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


hartley said...

That was a fantastic game — except for the bobblehead incident.

Hey, Mike, I was wondering how you go about determining your player ratings. No biggie, but I don't see how you can give Harrington a 6 and Sinovic a 5. Seth is doing a fantastic job. And much of what he does is being overlooked. I guess his rating could be hurt by the yellow card. But I still don't see how Harrington rates above him.

It was great to see Saad get his first pro goal. Now if we could only get a goal for Milos. He also played a very good game last night. He didn't hold the balll too long, moved things along, and made himself dangerous at certain moments.

Overall, a really nice game. It's nice to play a team that plays the game without a lot of the extra drama and foul play. Although Kenny Cooper is kind of a diver.

Anonymous said...

I agree with hartley. Nothing against Mikey, but I thought Seth had a great game. Look at the stat link that shows the touches and involvement and he was all over the left side and had some pretty slick moves to boot. I thought Milos had one of his best games to date and played some nice team oriented ball.

Graham was everywhere end to end, and after a few early passes that were off he controlled the game.

And another it my imagination or do we play better soccer when the DP's are "resting"? I'm just saying.

bfos said...

Bunbury appears to be getting worse with each minute played. Sad.

Mike said...

Oversite hartley, meant to give him a 6, but hit 5 by accident in a rush to get the post out before I left for work. It's corrected now.

Drew said...

Saad got the most fotunate 1st career goal he could hope to get. Zusi has shown he is a fantastic player now that he is fit and Vermes has given him time.

Is Jeferson hurt and I missed it? I don't recall seeing him in the highlights or on teamsheets as of late. If he's just out of the team, and Zusi's out playing him than doesn't it seem like a bit of a waste of money to pay DP money to him? It's a only a loan deal and they needed to cover in midfield, but it seems a waste if Zusi is out playing him. To be honest, Jeferson didn't show me much when I saw him in action. Zusi's skill wasn't as polished, but he has that x-factor. Collin, Zusi, Sapong and Nielsen should be getting the highest paid contracts with the club as they have been the backbone to this team all season.

hartley said...

Drew — This from Sporting's web site article previewing the match with the Timbers.


I would agree with anyone that says Jeferson has shown only a few flashes of exceptional skill. But then, he really hasn't been with the team very long. Many of us have been disappointed and critical of Stojcev as well. But I think some players need time to adjust to a new team, a new league, a new country.

Milos is starting to show he fits with the team and the system. And I think given time, we shall see the same from Jeferson.

hartley said...

Ooops. That quote didn't come over. Let me try again. Here's what the article said.

Designated Player Jeferson is listed as questionable with a right quad strain suffered against Seattle.

Drew said...

Cheers, I hadn't seen that.