Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sporting KC Split Points in Seattle

In what turned into a physical affair from both sides, Seattle and Sporting KC found enough time for each team to score a world class goal and then each settled for a point.  With this game being the second of 4 in 10 days, Peter Vermes made some surprising changes to his starting lineup.  Michael Harrington entered the game for Seth Sinovic, and he handed first MLS starts to Soony Saad and Peterson Joseph, finally he handed an MLS debut to Michael Thomas. 

From the start, even with reserves on the field KC set out with their typical early high pressure.  The early pressure once again paid off for Kansas City in the 8th minute.  A long throw into the box by Jacob Peterson was held in by Aurelien Collin.  Collin then headed the ball back to Peterson who took the shot first time.  The shot took a deflection on it's way in and went past Andrew Weber and into the net giving KC the early 1-0 lead.  The goal seemed to serve as a wake up call though as Seattle started to attack KC in waves.  The only thing that kept Seattle honest early on was Eddie Johnson returning to the offside form he showed with KC while he was here.  In the 15th minute though Seattle did find an equalizer.  Mauro Rosales played a good free kick into the box and Patrick Ianni laid out with a great scissor kick beating Jimmy Nielsen and tying the game at one. Michael Harrington lost Ianni on the play and there was absolutely nothing Nielsen could have done with that.

KC almost had an immediate response to the goal in the 19th when Roger Espinoza threaded a nice ball into the box for Soony Saad.  With almost no angle, Saad tried to get a shot off and he beat Weber but the ball hit off the cross bar and bounced back into play.  Seattle though controlled much of play throughout the rest of the first half with KC mainly trying to hit counters, Alex Caskey had a knuckling effort punched away by Nielsen, and Johnson missed an effort just wide of the post.

Seattle continued to push in the second half and probably should have taken the lead early in the half, when  Montero was played in behind KC's defense in the 58th had another good opportunity after a poor cross from Harrington, but Nielsen came sliding out and knocked the ball off Montero and out.  Caskey had another good chance to find a goal, when he was played in behind KC's defense by Rosales, but Nielsen cut down the angle well enough that the shot got pushed wide of the goal. It seemed to be a lot of one way traffic for Seattle going forward, but KC had some decent spells of possession but were never really able to test Weber that much, even with the insertion of Graham Zusi, Kei Kamara, and CJ Sapong as substitutes.  In the 88th Montero was unlucky not to have the winner.  He turned Collin enough to get a yard of space and fired a shot at Nielsen's near post.  The shot seemed to catch Nielsen a bit by surprise but he got down and got a touch to it.  The touch turned the ball onto Nielsen's far post.  The ball then bounced into the middle of the box where it seemed to hang just begging to be poked in by a Seattle player, but Lawrence Olum was first to react and knock the ball away. 

Immediately after that play the physicality seemed to start to bubble over as Sapong raced Zach Scott for the ball, Sapong got shoulder charged into the boards, earning Scott the 4th yellow card of the game.  Things really bubbled over in stoppage time.  KC and Seattle are used to late drama in their meetings but instead of a goal we got a red card.  Espinoza won the ball off Alvaro Fernandez with a tackle that was a little from behind.  Fernandez took exception to the challenge and as Espinoza played the ball away Fernandez came in with a scissor tackle.  Jair Marrufo did not hesitate going to his back pocket to produce the red card.  The game ended shortly after that as both teams settled for the point.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - Nielsen was the most consistent player of the night, some other players had strong performances at times but also fell flat at times, Espinoza for example was fantastic defensively, but his passing was off save for the pass to Saad.  Nielsen came up with the big saves he had to make and there was nothing he really could do on the goal.

Honorable Mention - Jacob Peterson

Player Ratings - Nielsen 8, Myers 5, Collin 6, Olum 6, Harrington 3, Espinoza 6, Thomas 6, Joseph 6, Peterson 7, Bunbury 5, Saad 5. Subs Zusi 6, Kamara 6, Sapong NR.


hartley said...

The shot that Olum ended up clearing off the line was deflected by a sliding Collin. That's what threw Jimmy off a little. Great that he could still deflect it enough that it didn't go in the net.

I think Teal should be rated at least a 6. He worked his butt off. And he wasn't really given much service. His hustle and toughness continue to be very good. And I was very glad to see him give Parke a bit of his own back.

Roger was off, but I attribute that to the thinking he might have to do more than usual and the trust factor with PJ and Thomas.

The ref was awful. That particular ref is almost always awful. Alonso elbowed two different players in the head and didn't even see yellow. He just got back from a suspension and should have been sent off. He's a tough and good player but as usual the Seattle players seem to think they are entitled.

I am very glad we were able to escape Seattle with a point. Schmid's teams are notoriously dirty. They will use every trick in the book. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the league looks the other way. But c'mon. Sigi did this stuff in L.A. and Columbus too. It gets pretty old.

KCallDay6 said...

I really feel like if you go back and watch the match again you'd feel slightly differently about Espinoza. Not that you're assessment was totally wrong but, because my gf is a big fan of his, I noticed several of his through balls to the forwards were on point.

bfos said...

I also thought Espinoza had a uncharacteristically bad game. All game long he was carelessly running himself beyond the play leaving acres of space from which Seattle was able to create dangerous chances.

I was nervous that Collin was going to end up with a second yellow, but he was everywhere for us. He was my best player for Sporting.

MOUF said...

Espinoza had to do M. Thomas and P. Josephs work the whole first half. I dont know how you could rate Thomas or HX anywhere near 6