With the busy schedule that Sporting KC in the middle of currently it's no surprise that the lineup that KC put out tonight was less than the full squad. It gave rest to a number of players that needed it, and gave game time to those that hadn't been getting a lot. The starting lineup for KC against Montpellier featured a number of players who have played little part in KC's league season so far this year as they rested the likes of Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, Matt Besler, and Seth Sinovic, with Kevin Ellis, Korede Aiyegbusi, Dom Dwyer, and others stepped in to get some action against the French champs.
The first part of the game was surprisingly well matched as KC's reserves did a decent job of working the ball against many of MHSC's first team. In fact the best early chance fell to KC. After Peterson Joseph did a good job of getting open, he played a nice cutting pass to Soony Saad. Saad got by his defender to the end line and played a ball on the ground back across the box, but no KC player could get to the ball and it went through the box. As the half continued though, Montpellier started to get more of the ball, really starting to show their class. Forward Gaetan Charbonnier started to really cause some problems for the center back tandem of Lawrence Olum and Konrad Warzycha, he did an excellent job on one cross of bringing it down with his chest and turning on goal, but Eric Kronberg came up with a big save to keep it 0-0. The goal was coming though and in the 39th it finally came. Charbonnier was able to get to the ball first on a cross by Marco Estrada and his flick header went past Kronberg and into the net. A really well worked goal by the French. Kronberg was called on a few times to make some decent saves to keep the game close and he showed well.
The second half saw Montpellier make 9 changes to their lineup as they have a more important game in New York on Saturday, the French Champions Trophy match against Lyon. With Montpellier having more reserves out, KC was able to get more of the ball. Unfortunately KC was able to do very little with much of their possession, continuing to work the ball down the wing and look for crosses even though the forward line of Aiyegbusi, Dwyer, and Soony Saad were all close to a head shorter than some of the Montpellier center backs. Instead of the crosses, KC should have been looking more for the cutting runs like what led to the chance Saad created in the first half. In the 72nd minute after some more good build up, Montpellier grabbed a second. Emanuel Herrera was played into the box behind KC's defense. Kronberg came off his line and pushed Herrera wide, but Herrera did well to round the keeper and from an acute angle slid the ball into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
After the goal KC continued to possess and actually had some decent spells with Joseph, Aiyegbusi, and substitute CJ Sapong doing well. Unfortunately KC still struggled to get shots off and still got no shots on goal. Finally in second half stoppage time the third goal came. After sustained possession for KC, Montpellier broke on the counter. A shot came in from just outside the box that Kronberg did quite well to get down and make a save on. Unfortunately the first to react to the rebound was Herrera who buried the rebound into the net to give him a brace on the night.
Overall, disappointing to lose 3-0, but Montpellier was just in a completely different class in this game. They pass the ball extremely well and were quite fun to watch.
Wizards Man of the Match - Neven Markovic - The recent signing, in his first game with the club showed extremely well at left back and center back. Going forward he still has a few things to learn, but in defense he did a very good job of standing up the attacks on the left side of defense. He committed a few fouls, probably in a league game would have picked up a yellow, but overall a good performance.
Honorable Mention - Eric Kronberg