Monday, May 28, 2012

Back to Winning

Sporting KC finally ended their long winless run and got a win May for the first time since 2009.  KC's last win in the month of May happened on May 16th, 2009, in Utah against Real Salt Lake.  A span of 14 games in the month of May since KC last won.  It wasn't without some stress at the end again for KC as they almost losta 2 goal lead again against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Early on, the first chance fell to San Jose in the first minute as Marvin Chavez forced a good save out of Jimmy Nielsen after he'd cut inside on Chance Myers.  KC started to control after the early chance and in the 5th minute a great spell of possession by KC was capitalized on with a goal.  KC worked the ball from one side of the field, to the other, and back again looking for a way through the San Jose defense.  A deflected pass from Teal Bunbury found Graham Zusi who raced at the San Jose defense before laying the ball out wide to Kei Kamara.  Kamara one timed a cross into the box, where CJ Sapong had made a great run to the back post and knocked the ball past Jon Busch and into the net for a 1-0 lead.  With Bobby Convey out of the lineup, KC had a big athletic front line with Bunbury, Kamara, and Sapong.  And with San Jose's lack of height in the back, KC played more crosses in from each side. 

In the 20th minute, KC was dealt a cruel blow.  Seth Sinovic, who had only just returned after missing time breaking his right hand, went over the LED boards on the end line.  When he came back up he had a deep cut on his left hand.  Sinovic left the game with the injury and it was later reported that Sinovic ended up with 20 stitches in his hand from the cut.  Shortly after Sinovic's injury, Bunbury almost made it 2-0.  Kamara and Zusi combined for a 1-2 at midfield and then Kamara got past two San Jose defenders.  Kamara raced down the field and played a ball in to Bunbury.  Bunbury's first attempt was blocked, but the ball came back to him and he fired it just wide of the goal.  San Jose struggled to create chances, but did force a good save out of Nielsen in the 31st through Steven Beitashour.  After a throw from San Jose was partially cleared, Beitashour settled and volleyed from about 25 yards out.  Nielsen though made a nice diving save pushing the ball wide of the goal.  KC really should have made it 2-0 in the 36th minute.  A long throw from Matt Besler was headed back to the back side of the goal.  Kamara won the ball off of Chavez with a great sliding tackle and played a ball back into the box that made it's way through to Aurelien Collin about 3 yards out from goal.  Collin though appeared to be surprised the ball made it through to him.  He stumbled and didn't make good contact with the ball as Busch collected.

Only a few minutes later, KC did grab the 2-0 lead.  Myers collected the ball on his side of the field and while trying to find an open man started making his way into the middle.  Myers eventually played the ball to Michael Harrington, who had replaced Sinovic.  Harrington played a great ball into the box, where Kamara got in front of his man and headed the ball into the net to double the lead.

KC continued to push in the second half.  Zusi had a good opportunity early on off a Myers cross, but he put his effort wide of the goal.  The game really started to open up though as San Jose looked for a way back into the game while KC looked to strike on the counter.  After a cross was punched by Nielsen, Chavaz tried to chip Nielsen, but the Dane was able to grab the ball.  Finally in the 72nd minute, the goal that looked to be coming came.  Simon Dawkins collected a pass just outside Sporting's box and curled a shot into the corner out of the reach of Nielsen.  And all of the sudden things started to feel a lot like last week's game in Colorado. 

KC still created chances though unlike against Colorado.  It looked like KC had a free kick coming in a good position after Ike Opara appeared to shoulder Zusi down just outside the box.  Referee Baldomero Toledo appeared set to let play continue, but his linesman raised his flag for a foul.  After a discussion where it looked like KC would get a free kick, Toledo overruled his linesman and restarted play with a drop ball.  The play seemed to piss Zusi off as he played the next 5 minutes with a renewed fire and was unlucky to not make it 3-1 off a great pass from Kamara.  Kamara curled a teasing ball into the box towards Bunbury and Zusi.  Zusi reached the ball and fired on goal, but Busch saved the shot to keep it 2-1.  Sapong put the rebound over the goal.

Things got interesting in stoppage time in front of the Cauldron.  Busch was trying to get a play restarted quickly and get a ball from one of the ball boys.  From reports of people that were right behind the goal, behind the ball boy, he was taking his time giving the ball back to Busch, apparently in a bit of gamesmanship.  Busch ran up to him telling him to give him the ball, then grabbed the ball out of his hands.  Busch then apparently swatted at the ball boy, hitting him in the arm.  After the final whistle blew to end the game and give KC the win, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, Greg Cotton, made his way on a jog to the goal area.  There with security and police, the ball boy was escorted to midfield.  I expect the league disciplinary committee will be contacting Busch about an upcoming fine and suspension.  Based on the history of what mistreatment of a ball kid has gotten, I'd expect at least 3 games.  But unlike the verbal abuse that got Colin Clarke a 3 game suspension, I could see Busch getting more for actually making contact with the kid.

Wizards man of the match - Kei Kamara - A goal and an assist for Kamara in his last game before departing for international duty.  Kamara was all over the place and had a fantastic game.

Honorable mention - Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 6, Collin 5, Besler 6, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Espinoza 5, Zusi 7, Sapong 7, Bunbury 7, Kamara 8.  Subs Harrington 6, Olum 5, Nagamura NR.


Anonymous said...

Bunbury as honorable mention?

Compared to Kamara, Zusi, and Sapong, he was lazy. At one point someone (actually, I want to say Zusi or Sapong) lofted one down field headed straight for Bunbury and the eighteen-yard box. Bunbury pulled up choosing to let it drop. Kamara came flying from the opposite wing and lept to try and collect the ball - and do someone else's job.

Just saying.

mouf said...

Teal found open lanes, made some great runs, and linked up well

running like a chicken with your head cut off isnt hustling, its running like a chicken with your head cut off.

hartley said...

Anything known about Cesar's departure from the field immediately upon being subbed off? He didn't look happy about being replaced. And to be honest, he was out of position when San Jose made the play to score the goal.