Last night at Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City played their second friendly of the season against Stoke City of the English Premier League. With a team made up mainly of the Swope Park Rangers, Sport held their own against the Premier League side drawing 1-1 in what would probably be considered a fair result.
The first half saw both teams have their stretches of possession, but it was KC that seemed to be creating the better of the chances. Despite Stoke's size advantage on set plays, KC's best chance early on came off a corner when Kevin Ellis got up to knock a header on goal, but right at Asmir Begovic. KC's general style of playing in crosses wasn't working as well with the size of the Stoke back four, which forced KC to play the ball more on the ground and that led to the best chance for either team in the first half when Soony Saad let loose from about 25 yards out but ended up striking the post and the ball bounced back into play. Stoke's attack in the first half left a little to be desired as the Potters were unable to put a single shot on goal in the first half, they're best chance was when Peter Crouch headed the ball onto the bar but over the net. Crouch though was offside on the play.
In the second half, Stoke started to attack more and KC began to get pinned back in their own end of the field a bit more. Still in the early goings of the half Stoke struggled to make much of their possession in KC's end. Stoke got their first shot on goal in the 52nd when Jonathan Walters got behind the defense and was 1v1 with Eric Kronberg, but Kronberg was quick off his line and smothered the shot to keep the scores level. Stoke continued to press and Crouch should have done better when he was gifted the ball about 20 yards out from goal by Ellis. Crouch though shot right at Kronberg who collected the shot. A minute after Crouch's chance, Cameron Jerome had a good chance to put the first goal in but a nice diving save by Kronberg kept the score at 0-0. The game looked destined to finish scoreless like last year's game against Newcastle until 83rd minute. Substitute Michael Tonge received the ball on the end line and cut past Konrad Warzycha. Warzycha grabbed some jersey as he went by to slow Tonge down. The Stoke forward felt the contact and went to ground extremely easily, but the referee pointed to the spot. Tonge stepped up and sent Kronberg the wrong way and Stoke had the lead.
KC looked to be headed to another home defeat as the game headed into stoppage time with Stoke's defense handling KC's attack. Then in the 2nd minute of stoppage time after Stoke had possessed the ball, the ball was played back to Begovic, who was about 20 yards out from goal. He looked to clear the ball up field but didn't get enough height on it and the ball went directly into the head of Kyle Miller who was standing about 40 yards from goal. Miller barely even moved towards the ball, but when it hit his head it looped back towards Stoke's goal and into the net tying the game at 1-1.
The goal was the craziest, flukiest goal I've even seen in person or on YouTube, absolutely crazy. Still in the end, a 1-1 draw was a fair result for the two teams. Both had chances but neither looked extremely impressive, although Kronberg, Saad, and Neven Markovic were impressive.
Wizards Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - Big saves by Kronberg in the second half kept KC in the game. He's starting to get back into form that he was for parts of last year. He's going to want to get starting time sooner or later, and with Nielsen I'm not sure that's going to happen here.