Sunday, July 15, 2012

Role Reversal

It seems like the M.O. for Sporting KC this year has been to employ the high pressure on their opponents, create giveaways and create a number of chances in the game, while limiting the chances that their opponents get.  Last night though, Sporting KC reversed that role a little bit.  KC still employed some high pressure, but an early goal for Jacob Peterson allowed Sporting KC to sit back a little bit and basically told the Crew "OK come and beat us."  The Crew created plenty of chances, but couldn't find the net, and KC grabbed a second on the counter to seal a 2-0 win as they seemed to relax a little bit more in this one after the high on Wednesday.

In typical fashion for KC, they came out with the high pressure against the Crew and forced a number of early giveaways.  In only the 3rd minute off a Crew throw in, KC almost grabbed the lead as Peterson Joseph found Soony Saad in the box.  Saad couldn't control the first effort, but off a sliding tackle the ball came back to him.  He played the ball wide to Kei Kamara who blasted his shot wide of the net.  KC continued to pressure and in the 6th minute grabbed the lead.  Kamara started the play by intercepting a pass and racing down the right.  He laid the ball back to Joseph who took a few dribbles and then with the outside of his foot, dinked a pass through to Peterson who put his shot past Andy Gruenebaum to give KC the early 1-0 lead.

Shortly after the 1-0 lead, KC almost doubled it on another mistake by the Crew.  On an errant back pass to Gruenebaum, Kamara gave chase and when Gruenebaum tried to clear, it deflected off Kamara and went just wide of the net, as Gruenebaum avoided pulling a Kasey Keller.  Columbus though started to control the game at that point, as KC seemed content to let Columbus come at them and try to beat them.  Columbus definitely did that, and should have equalized or then taken the lead on a few occasions.  The first of those good chances came in the 24th minute, when KC failed to deal with a free kick from the Crew.  Josh Williams chased the ball down and flicked it back into the path of Emilio Renteria at the corner of the 6.  But Renteria fired the ball wide of the post from close range and KC remained in the lead.  A few minutes later, it was Justin Meram's turn to test Jimmy Nielsen.  Played in on Nielsen by Tony Tchani, Meram's shot was right at Nielsen who knocked the ball away.  The ball was only partially cleared, but KC was able to clear the rebound without another dangerous opportunity for Columbus.

Into the second half, Columbus continued to push for an equalizer and almost had it inside the first few minutes.  Eddie Gaven beat Seth Sinovic on the by line and cross into the middle for Meram.  Meram beat Chance Myers in the air and beat Nielsen, but couldn't be the cross bar, as his header went off the underside of the cross bar to Aurelien Collin who headed the ball back into the hands of Nielsen.  Things started to get quite chippy, as Peterson Joseph and Paulo Nagamura both picked up yellows for bad tackles, but Renteria was probably lucky to stay on the field.  After Nagamura fouled Renteria, Renteria stood up got in Nagamura's face and made a headbutting motion, making contact with Nagamura's forehead.  It didn't look like much contact, and Nagamura didn't try to sell it like he'd been shot, but Renteria did pick up a yellow for his efforts.  That play could very well be reviewed by the disciplinary committee and it wouldn't surprise me if Renteria is given a fine/suspension for that play.

Renteria in the 75th almost got Columbus back in the game again as he got a chance behind KC's defense but Nielsen again came up big.  The rebound fell to Tchani, who with the open net put his effort wide of the goal.  In the 82nd minute, KC made Columbus pay for the misses.  Once again it was Kamara starting the play by picking off a poor pass out of the back.  Kamara led a 2v3 break with Teal Bunbury.  After Kamara got the second defender to commit to him, Kamara squared the ball to Bunbury. Bunbury took a touch and then slotted the ball into the corner, sealing the game for KC and another 3 points for Sporting.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - Started both of KC's goals last night with some heads up play and interrupting Columbus' passing out of their defense.  A strong performance out of the Sierra Leone international.

Honorable Mention - Jimmy Nielsen

Player Ratings - Nielsen 8, Myers 6, Collin 7, Besler 7, Sinovic 6, Nagamura 6, Espinoza 6, Joseph 6, Kamara 8, Saad 5, Peterson 6.  Subs Sapong 5, Bunbury 7, Thomas 6.

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