Sunday, March 31, 2013

Complete Performance

Last night was the Sporting Kansas City team that people had hoped to see from the start of the season.  There was possession, the attack flowed, and there were plenty of chances.  And in the end KC got the result they deserved, handing the Montreal Impact their first loss of the season and ending their own goalless drought while keeping their shutout streak going.

From the start KC came out and dominated play and in the 5th minute were rewarded with a goal.  A poor pass by the Impact was picked off by Seth Sinovic, who's first touch found Benny Feilhaber.  Feilhaber turned up field and threaded a through ball for Claudio Bieler.  The Argentine cut inside and then first a shot into the far corner to give Kansas City the early 1-0 lead.  In the 11th minute it looked like KC had doubled the lead.  A Graham Zusi free kick found the head of Aurelien Collin who flicked the ball onto the post and into the net, but Collin was judged to have been offside.  Stills show that the play was extremely close, but it remained 1-0.  Sporting kept up the high pressure and forced the Impact into a few mistakes.  One in the 23rd should have led to a second goal.  Sinovic won a clearance by Troy Perkins and fed the ball to Zusi.  Zusi cut inside his man and then played the ball to an open Bieler who was around the penalty spot, but Bieler skied the effort with only Perkins to beat.  Bieler had another opportunity to score before the half ended winning the ball off the foot of an Impact defender and racing on goal.  Bieler though didn't have the speed to get him away from the closing defenders and ended up having to shoot from outside the box and it went right into the arms of Perkins.

The second half continued to show Sporting take the game to Montreal as the Impact were unable to get Patrice Bernier really involved in the game.  Sporting's wingbacks were even involved in the opportunities as both Chance Myers and Sinovic had opportunities that they put just wide or high of the goal. As the half wore on, you started to worry that if KC didn't grab the second soon the Impact would sneak one in and grab a point.  That almost happened in the 60th minute as a long ball into KC's box was headed down to Marco Di Vaio who got good contact on it from the top of the box, but Jimmy Nielsen was there to make the save. In the 71st Bieler again had a great opportunity receiving the ball in the box he cut inside his defender and curled a shot towards the far post, but it curled just wide, keeping the score at 1-0. Finally in the 80th minute KC found their second.  Again it was Feilhaber who was the creator, playing a nice through ball for Zusi to run onto.  Zusi shrugged off a foul from Montreal defender Karl Ouimette and then chipped the ball over Perkins who was going to ground and the ball rolled into the net securing the points for Kansas City. Fantastic work by Zusi and the goal was well deserved after the performance he put in.

Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - There are a number of candidates I could go with this one, Zusi played fantastic and was beating men 1v1 left and right all night.  Or I could go with Oriorl Rosell and his job in neutralizing Bernier all night so that the Canadian couldn't get involved in the game.  Instead I'm going to go with Feilhaber.  This was the Feilhaber KC fans were hoping to get regularly when the team traded for his rights.  He played fantastic passes on both goals and was a menace on the field as well.  Hopefully it was just a case of him needing to settle in and we'll now see more of this.

Honorable mention: Graham Zusi, Oriol Rosell

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 7, Collin 7, Besler 7, Sinovic 6, Rosell 8, Nagamura 8, Feilhaber 8, Zusi 8, Bieler 6, Sapong 6.  Subs Joseph NR, Olum NR, Saad NR.


Nathan Martin said...

Sapong certainly pinched centrally with the help of Nagamura's defensive pressuring on his side. It's what many of us have suggested.

Myers made a big difference.

Finally, I am not on twitter so I am asking a favor. Some of fans around me were disappointed that the team only went to acknowledge the Members' Stand after the game as opposed to last year when they would make their way around the stadium. If you could tactfully, politely pass along the hint to the appropriate people that the other fans would enjoy seeing them after the game, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this. It is much appreciated.

hartley said...

Well, I am glad to be wrong. But I did get the score correct -- just the wrong team.

It was great to see the entire team playing together. The back was solid and with Myers getting forward, the attack had that extra punch it had been missing. Of course, a lot of that punch was due to a midfield finally looking to be on the same page with Nagamura and Feilhaber showing that urgent pressing defense from the start. And Rosell was everywhere he needed to be in front of the back line.

I actually missed the first goal even though I was at home watching the game. That early goal made all the difference. It was so great to see Benny push it forward.

I hope this kind of team performance becomes a consistent sight. Go Sporting!

Hallie said...

I wish I was there to see the game.