Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sporting Pay for Poor Start

For the second straight game, Sporting KC didn't come out of the locker room ready to play and fell behind early.  Unlike last week against Philadelphia though, Toronto FC made KC pay for the poor scoring 2 goals and holding off KC's attack in the second half to win their home opener 2-1. 

Sporting got off to a horrible start and it was their own fault.  Kansas City was in possession in their own half of the field in the 3rd minute.  Matt Besler received a pass from Aurelien Collin.  Besler tried to play the ball back to Collin, but the pass was too short and Collin had started moving away.  This allowed TFC forward Robert Earnshaw to race in and pick the ball off.  Then 1v1 with Jimmy Nielsen, Earnshaw fired the ball into the net to make it 1-0.  Toronto kept pushing the game while Sporting didn't wake up, and in the 20th minute won a penalty kick.  John Bostock brought the ball down the wing against Seth Sinovic.  He cut into the middle and Paulo Nagamura came over to try to help.  Bostock cut between the two defenders with both sticking a leg out to try to win the ball. Bostock went down and the referee pointed to the spot.  Toronto's new signing certainly made a meal out of the contact going down like he'd been shot, but the call as a whole was correct.  Earnshaw stepped up and put the ball to Nielsen's right to make it 2-0 Toronto.  Unlike last week against Philadelphia, KC wasn't able to really get going before the half time break and went in down 2-0.

KC made one change at half time, bringing on CJ Sapong at half time for Bobby Convey.  KC was able to look more dangerous in the second half with Sapong's bigger body giving Sporting a target.  In the 61st minute KC almost pulled a goal back off a corner kick.  Graham Zusi found Sapong unmarked on the back post.  Sapong got a powerful header on goal, but Joe Bendik got a touch on the ball and pushed it onto the cross bar and the rebound was cleared out.  In the 77th minute KC did get one back.  Off a restart just outside KC's own box, Nielsen played the ball up field.  Sapong flicked the ball on and into the path of Claudio Bieler who one timed his shot past Bendik and into the net to cut the lead to 2-1. KC continued to push trying to find an equalizer.  Bieler forced a good save out of Bendik in the 88th minute after a partial clearance.  As the game entered stoppage time Sporting kept pushing and Zusi fired a shot from distance that went just wide of the post.  Toronto held on though and took all 3 points as KC couldn't recover from the slow start this week.

Wizards Man of the Match - CJ Sapong - There wasn't a lot for KC in this game, the defense was poor and there was little in the attack.  But much of KC's attack in the second half came from the addition of Sapong at half time.  Up until that point Bieler was isolated up top.  The insertion of Sapong got Bieler more involved.  If Sapong isn't starting next week against Chicago I'll be disappointed.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 4, Collin 4, Besler 3, Sinovic 3, Nagamura 4, Rosell 4, Feilhaber 4, Zusi 4, Bieler 5, Convey 3. Subs Sapong 6, Saad NR


Nathan Martin said...

Agreed. The loss allows PV to do the right thing, what was always the right thing, and start Sapong.

Frankly, Convey may be good enough to make the bench, but he isn't good enough to be the first option off the bench, in my book.

bfos said...

Two terrible games in a row for Besler. I hope he's not following in Tim Ream's national team footsteps.

hartley said...

I was thinking that we need to regain speed and height in the wing areas. We can't have both wings be the size and speed of Convey and Zusi obviously. Sapong is going to have to start. Now, that could mean Convey sits. Or could mean Zusi moves to midfield and either Benny or Nagamura sits.

I love Zusi on the field. But he does not provide great speed on the outside -- going forward or back. This is limiting Myers as well. Chance has to stay home more because he doesn't have a Kamara-like speedster to cover back if he gets far forward.

I would really like to see Sapong on one wing and Myers on the other. I am now wishing we hadn't traded Harrington away. We could push Myers forward and keep Zusi in his best position as midfielder.

And honestly, at this point I would like to see Benny coming off the bench. I don't think he's in shape for our game quite yet. Either that or he doesn't get our game yet. He isn't using his speed to press up. He isn't getting into the holes like Zusi does. And so, he isn't getting the ball and begin able to make some probing passes. He isn't showing urgency unless we are a goal down. He ins't seeing that our game is all about urgency all the time. Leave it all out on the field and go, go, go all the time.

I think things in the back will get worked out. Seems Besler and Collin are not on the same page right now. And both Jimmy and Uri need to help them get there.