Photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson
Sporting KC did what needed to be done last night against bottom of the table Toronto. KC rode two first half goals to a victory over TFC in their first game under their new manager, Paul Mariner. KC got off to their traditional fast start with their high pressure system. In the first few minutes, KC created a few chances, the best of the early chances fell to Julio Cesar in the 11th minute. A long throw from Jacob Peterson was flicked on to the back post by CJ Sapong. Cesar came running on to meet it and pushed the ball back towards the post, but his shot from about 3 yards out went just wide of the goal. The high pressure paid off in the 18th minute when KC opened the scoring. Chance Myers picked out Peterson on an overlapping run. Peterson made it down the wing and sent a low cross into the box. Sapong lost his marker and met the cross at the penalty spot and one timed it into the top corner past Milos Kocic to give KC the lead.
Toronto held on through the rest of KC's early pressure and slowly started to find their way into the game and creating chances. Eric Avila in the 30th minute had a fantastic chance to equalizer. But a team doesn't get to be 1-9 without a little bit of bad luck, and it continued for TFC as Avila beat Jimmy Nielsen, but the ball hit the post, bounced along the line and hit the other post before Aurelien Collin made it back to clear the ball away. Toronto was made to pay for that miss 4 minutes later. Graham Zusi played in a corner kick to the back post. Cesar had made the back post run and struck the ball on the volley. Kocic had no chance as the ball flew past him and into the net. A gorgeous striker from the Brazilian midfielder, that should definitely be up for goal of the year. Danny Koevermans almost pulled one back again for Toronto, but his header off a cross from Ryan Johnson was palmed away by Nielsen.
KC came out to start the second half and immediately put the pressure on again. A long ball after the kick off was headed on by Sapong into the path of Teal Bunbury who one timed the shot on goal, but Kocic made the save and knocked the rebound away. Immediately after that Zusi had a great chance as he played a ball out wide to Bunbury. Bunbury returned the ball to Zusi with a cross, but Zusi couldn't get enough height on his jump to get over the ball to head it down and the header went over the bar. The game started to open up as both teams started to create some chances with Peterson making a nice turn and shot but it was right at Kocic. At the other end Koevermans really should have done better when he was played in behind KC's defense, but Nielsen came up with the big kick save to keep the shutout. While Toronto had the late game possession more, KC held out and got all 3 points and sent Toronto to another loss.
Wizards Man of the Match - Julio Cesar - Not just for his wonderful strike for the goal, but also did a good job of helping to control the midfield for KC.
Honorable Mention - Jimmy Nielsen
Player Ratings - Nielsen 8, Myers 7, Collin 6, Olum 6, Sinovic 6, Cesar 8, Espinoza 7, Zusi 7, Sapong 7, Bunbury 7, Peterson 7. Subs Saad 5, Joseph NR, Warzycha NR.