Sunday, April 21, 2013

At Least it was Better than Last Year's Cross Coast Trip

Sporting KC's undefeated run and shutout streak ended in grand fashion for KC last night in Los Angeles against the LA Galaxy.  Two counter attacking goals by the Galaxy were enough to send KC home from their coast to coast road trip with a 2-0 loss to the defender champs.

KC came out and started the same 11 that took the field three days earlier against the New York Red Bulls. The Galaxy came out quickly from the start and Jimmy Nielsen was forced into a nice save off a volley from Mike Magee in the 11th.  KC had a fantastic chance to take the lead in the 20th off the foot of Graham Zusi.  From a free kick Zusi touched the free kick to Benny Feilhaber who stopped the ball and Zusi let a rip.  The shot hit the cross bar and bounced back into play towards Matt Besler who flicked the ball on towards Chance Myers who was offside.  LA thought continued to push the game and Robbie Keane almost had a goal as he got played in behind KC's defense, but Nielsen was quickely off his line and forced Keane to push the shot into more of a cross and Sporting cleared it. Shortly after that chance though the Galaxy grabbed the lead.  Off a counter attack, Marcelo Sarvas fed the ball wide to Landon Donovan.  Donovan got a bit of space and squared the ball into the middle for Sarvas who touched the ball into the net.  No one had followed Sarvas' run from midfield and the midfielder easily beat Nielsen.  The start of the play though was a cause for debate, as Sarvas had used a hand to control the ball after a tackle from Oriol Rosell.

The second half saw Kansas City come out and push the game looking to find an equalizer.  Peter Vermes subbed in Peterson Joseph for Rosell to try and spark the offense.  All the possession for KC during that stretch didn't give KC many good chances. Then in the 74th KC got caught on the counter again.  Off a corner Paulo Nagamura slipped, allowing Keane to out race him to the ball and lead a break away.  Seth Sinovic tried to recover but couldn't.  Keane got Nielsen to commit and then laid the ball across to Donovan who put the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0. KC looked to respond immediately, a ball into the middle was touched on to Benny Feilhaber who beat Carlo Cudicini but Feilhabaer was offside.  KC continued to push and leave themselves exposed in the back. In the 88th they were lucky not to concede again.  Joseph lost the ball after a challenge and the ball was played to Keane who was 1v1 with Nielsen.  Nielsen though didn't fall for Keane's fact and collected the ball as Keane tried to dribble by him. LA easily held on and was able to take all 3 points without much fight from Sporting.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - Without Nielsen coming up with some nice saves (the 1v1 vs Keane especially) this game is a lot worse.  Nielsen had little he could do on either goal, his defense and midfield left him out to dry.

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


Nathan Martin said...

The swarm was exposed with timely cutting passes to the weak side.

The slippage, especially after half time, have me wondering whether or not the team packed the right cleats for both games.

Finally, Nagamura's position on the road as the point of the midfield pressure consequently means that the offense runs through him far too much: I'd literally rather have any other (field) player on the ball before Nagamura.

Tim said...

Don't players tend to take a couple pairs of cleats with them on the road? I didn't re-watch the game and count them up, but it seemed like K.C. players slipped on the turf six or seven times (or more). For whatever reason Vermes seemed to not want to chalk it up to tired legs, which I think would be totally acceptable given the turnaround and travel distance for last week's games.

I ask the following, genuinely wanting a knowledgeable response. Did it seem like Meyers was playing a lot higher and out of position against L.A.? I thought I regularly saw Sinovic, Besler, and Collin holding a decent line with Meyers pushed way up for some reason. I only ask as it also seemed like the majority of L.A.'s attacks came down the right, with Collin having to fill in the gap, followed by either a shot or quick pass to the middle. I could be wrong, but the MLS heat map seemed to back up that observation.