Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Top of the East

photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson

Sporting Kansas City had a big opportunity to get themselves into a more favorable playoff position on Saturday when the 3rd place Houston Dynamo came to town. The Wizards grabbed the opportunity and took full advantage of it defeating the Dynamo 3-0 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. KC set out from the offset and took the game to the Dynamo, controlling play extremely well early on. There was a potential moment of controversy for KC early on in the game as Jimmy Nielsen appeared he may have controlled the ball outside the box with his hand, but no call was made. Shortly after that KC likely should have taken the lead through Omar Bravo in the 7th. Julio Cesar played a great ball over the top to Bravo, it appeared Bravo may have controlled the ball with his hand, but no call was made. Bravo though had his shot well saved by Tally Hall in the Dynamo net. KC continued to dominate play, Jeferson had a good chance but shot right at Hall. In the 9th minute though KC grabbed the lead. Graham Zusi played a long ball over the top, more so to clear the ball and keep it in play. Teal Bunbury though out raced Dynamo defender, Andre Hainault. Hainault caught Bunbury's heal, but Bunbury stayed on his feet and fired a shot that Hall got a hand too, but he couldn't keep out as it rolled into the net giving KC the lead.

KC continued to come at the Dynamo and had a few really good chances to grab a second goal. In the 17th minute Omar Bravo got played in down the wing by Chance Myers, no one got into the box quick enough though and Bravo's cross went through untouched. Jeferson had another good chance to a second firing a blast from 25 yards out that missed going in by inches. The Dynamo finally seemed to wake up and got into the game a bit finally around the 25th minute, Brad Davis had a good shot blocked by the KC back line. At this point the game really started to become more of a back and forth game as KC themselves once again almost found a second. Myers played a nice cross into the box to CJ Sapong at the back post. Sapong laid out vertically almost getting the ball into the net, but it pushed just wide of the post. Right after Sapong's chance, the Dynamo had their best chance of the half as Carlos Costly was able to turn Cesar just outside the box. Costly dribbled into the box and fired a shot that beat Jimmy Nielsen, but not his post as the ball bounced back into play.

The game started to get a little chippy in the 33rd minute ahead of a free kick. Sapong matched up with Hainault, as the two were tussling, Sapong got away and Hainault stuck out a leg and tripped the Wizards forward. Referee Mark Geiger pulled both players aside and had a talk with them as fans booed the replay on the big screen. The teams continued to trade chances, as Zusi fired a shot just over the bar right before Costly flicked a header just ovr the bar at the back post off a Davis free kick. In the 40th KC had their best chance to grab a second and probably should have as Roger Espinoza played a great ball over the top again to Bravo. This time he had Seth Sinovic making a back post run. But Sinovic put the ball over the bar from about 5 yards out as the ball seemed to bounce up on him a bit on the turf.

Early on in the second half the Dynamo were controlling the ball and again Costly had a good chance, this time turning Matt Besler and firing a shot just wide of Nielsen's post. The game continued to be back and forth as it had been in the late going of the first half. That changed in the 64th minute when Costly picked up a red card for a stupid tackle on Myers. Myers received a ball all alone on the wing deep in KC's end. Costly came sliding in and caught Myers leg after Myers had cleared the ball up field. Geiger made no hesitation going for his back pocket and sending off the Honduran. It was a poor challenge, that rightly deserved the sending off it got, the third for Houston this season against KC.

It took almost 10 minute, but KC finally took advantage of the man advantage. After Cesar and Myers collided in their defensive third going for the ball. Myers was able to recover well and tried to clear the ball, the ball ended up coming back to Cesar. Cesar played a long ball over the top towards ESpinoza and Bunbury. Espinoza slipped but the ball made it through as he raced past his defender. Bunbury raced into the box and once again beat Hall who could only get a hand on it as KC doubled the lead. With the two goal lead KC really started to bring the game looking for a third. Bravo almost got the third off of a Zusi free kick. Instead of taking the shot, Zusi slotted the ball to the outside of the wall for Bravo who turned and fired a shot that Hall could only knock away for a corner.

The third goal came shortly after that though, as Zusi played a great through ball to substitute, Kei Kamara. Kamara looked up and instead of taking a shot from a tough angle with Hall in a good position, squared the ball across goal to Sapong who fired the ball into the net making it 3-0. KC sat back a little after that absorbing the pressure, but being down to 10 men, the Dynamo didn't offer much in the form of pressure. Nielsen was forced to make one save, tipping a cross from Corey Ashe over the bar for a corner. Other than that, the final 10 minutes of the game were fairly uneventful as KC closed out their long home stand in style with the 3-0 win putting them into first place.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Teal Bunbury - Really this award could go to any number of players, Graham Zusi, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar could also have easily gotten the man of the match for the game today. But Bunbury's two goals were both well taken finishes and the type of goals that Bunbury's known for. If Bunbury's form is on the up and up, the rest of the league was put on notice yesterday, because KC has a legitimate shot at having 3 different goal scorers this year hit double digits, Bunbury's now on 7, while Bravo and Kamara are both currently on 8 goals. Definitely an offense that is hard to plan for.

Honorable Mention - Graham Zusi, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar

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


Anonymous said...

Are you not much of a fan of Besler?

This isn't a criticism, but a serious question. I thought he's played well this season, but seems to get low grades for his performance.

In any case, just curious.

Mike said...

I'm a big fan of Besler, I think he's been having a great season. I don't think I've been grading him any harder than any other player on the team. I just thought Cesar and Myers were better on the back line yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

Like I said, just curious.

bfos said...

We finally get some calls. We've been getting the shaft at home, but this game was a bit of a make-up. Nielsen should have been sent off again, Bravo got away with a handling, and Costly's sending off was harsh (we would have been enraged to have another player sent off for such a tackle).

Mike said...

From people that were down near that end of the field, the ball didn't touch Nielsen's arm.

Harsh red on Costly? The red card was every bit legit, late, leg off the ground, studs right into Myers ankle. The VAST majority of Houston fans have said it's legit. I wouldn't have been enraged on that, it was every bit the red the guy deserved. If Myers leg was planted it's a broken leg for Myers.

bfos said...

You're probably right. But, in a league where it seems that the inconsistent officiating would whistle that tackle for just a foul as often as a card, I felt lucky to get that call.