Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sporting End Road Trip on a Low

After winning the first 2 games of their 3 game road trip, Sporting KC had to be pretty confident heading into their first game of the road trip in Houston against the Dynamo, even though the Dynamo were unbeaten at their new stadium.  The long trip, the tired/injured legs, and some stupidity though all conspired against Sporting as they fell 2-1 to the Dynamo to close out the road trip.

From the start, KC's midfield seemed to be a step behind that of the Dynamo.  Michael Thomas and Paulo Nagamura seemed to struggle really enforce their will on the game.  Peterson Joseph on the other hand seemed to be doing ok when he could get the ball, but was making some questionable decisions on the defensive side of the ball.  In the 16th minute, when Teal Bunbury was played in behind the Houston defense, but got pushed wide of the goal, the play started as Joseph appeared to foul Warren Creavalle to win the ball.  The Dynamo though were controlling the game, and in the 25th minute, took a deserved lead.  In a stretch where the Dynamo completed 23 passes, in the end, Will Bruin found Calen Carr in the box unmarked and Carr made no mistake, turning and shooting all in one motion as the ball slid past Jimmy Nielsen and into the far corner giving the Dynamo the lead.  The Dynamo passing cut through KC's defense, leaving KC with only Aurelien Collin and Michael Harrington in the box to cover and Harrington didn't get over in time to mark Carr as Collin went to defend Bruin.

KC didn't look to really be into the game for much of the half, but in the 41st minute were handed a life line.  Kei Kamara got played down the right wing where he played a great cross into the box towards Jacob Peterson.  Peterson though was dragged down by Andre Hainault in the box and to the penalty spot we went.  It looked like Bunbury was wanting to take the PK, but Kamara seemed to win out and stepped up to take the PK.  Kamara froze Tally Hall on the ensuing PK as the Dynamo keeper didn't even move as Kamara blasted the PK into the net.  KC was level going into the half, which had to be a big boost after some of the poor play in the first half.  Unfortunately the entire mindset of half time changed in stoppage time.  Carr received the ball down the left side, barely in KC's half of the field, Joseph came in with a sliding tackle, going through Carr, not getting the ball.  Immediately the referee blew the whistle and after a minute produced a red card for the Haitian international.  On replays it was clearly a stupid and reckless challenge, as Joseph slid completely through Carr to get to the ball.

The second half became strictly about survival, and getting out of Houston with a point.  Peter Vermes subbed in CJ Sapong for Teal Bunbury at the half.  A move that surprised me a bit considering how the midfield had been overrun before KC had one sent off.  I would have thought the insertion of Julio Cesar would have been a good move to help slow the game down for KC.  The Dynamo in the second half, attacked in waves.  Luckily for KC they struggled getting the final ball and putting a shot on goal.  Carr couldn't get the ball out from under his feet after Bruin played him the ball from the end line.  Their best chance came off the foot of one of KC's players, as Seth Sinovic deflected a Brad Davis free kick.  The deflection forced Nielsen to push the ball onto the post to keep it out of the net.  In the 79th, all of the Dynamo's pressure paid off, as Carr continued to play like an all star against KC's back line.  Carr played the ball out wide to Davis who crossed into the middle.  Carr had continued his run and made just enough contact with the ball as he fell over to push the ball towards net.  Nielsen couldn't get across his goal fast enough and the ball rolled in giving the Dynamo a 2-1 lead.  After the goal KC tried to push the game more, looking for the equalizer and had some dangerous half chances off the head of Peterson and through Kamara, but KC couldn't find an equalizer, and to be honest it wasn't really deserved as Houston out played KC for much of the game.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jacob Peterson - Peterson continues to be in extremely good form in the last month.  He set up KC's PK by getting fouled in the box and was a threat on the rare instances that KC was able to get forward.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 4, Harrington 5, Collin 5, Besler 4, Sinovic 5, Nagamura 3, Thomas, 4, Joseph 2, Kamara 5, Bunbury 5, Peterson 5.  Subs Sapong 4, Myers 4, Convey NR.


Nathan W Martin said...

The Sapong sub was with the optimistic view that maybe he could help hold the ball up against multiple defenders. Giving the team at least a bit of time on the ball and more importantly some defensive rest.

Cesar is at his best when SKC has the opposition pinned back and he is stationed on either side of the centerline where he can defensively plug holes and restart the offense. Not a likely scenario down a man and then there's the fact that Teal has a very rough first touch (see: no chance of holding the ball up) and so Kei would be the only real option which wouldn't "slow down" the game at all.

I think we can fully agree on one thing, the game showed how much better Espinoza is at his destroyer role than any other player on the roster: Thomas, Nagamura, Cesar, Olum, etc...

Host Pay Per Head said...

It isn't a perfect number but it is quite good and I hope that they can keep it up.