Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grudge Match as Advertised

Sporting Kansas City had an opportunity to move up the table today in the Eastern Conference against an undermanned Houston side that was missing both of their starting center backs.  Unfortunately for Kansas City, they were back to many of their old tricks, out shooting their opponent, but not able to find the net.  Kansas City out shot the Dynamo 17-12 and 5-1 in shots on goal, but KC could only manage one goal, while the Dynamo took advantage of their single shot on goal and KC ended up with a 1-1 draw.

The Dynamo actually had a fantastic chance to take the lead in the 7th minute off the foot of Brad Davis from a free kick.  Just outside the box, Davis played a ball right into the middle of the box.  Will Bruin got a glancing header on it, but not enough to put it on frame and the shot went just wide of the post.  KC had the better of play throughout the first half, but struggled to create opportunities. They had a decent chance off a free kick from just outside the box that Mechack Jerome blasted just over the bar.  Their best opportunity of the first half came in the 36th minute off a Matt Besler throw in.  Besler launched a ball that went all the way to the back post.  There Graham Zusi had lost his man and fired a header on goal.  Tally Hall though got down very well and saved the shot at the lower corner of the post. 

The game looked to take a disastrous turn for KC in the 39th minute.  The Dynamo worked the ball down KC's left and then the ball was played into the middle for Davis.  Davis had a direct path towards the net if not for a great tackle by Oriol Rosell. Referee Drew Fischer saw the play totally different though and pointed to the penalty spot, much to the shock of KC and the fans.  Sporting will hear from the league for mass confrontation over the play, and it'd be hard to blame them as replays showed the Rosell made a perfect tackle to win the ball.  After a few KC players had gone over to confront the assistant referee to have him talk to the center, Fischer and his linesman conversed.  After this conversation, Fischer overturned his call and gave a drop ball.

KC came back down the field after the play was restarted and almost found the opener.  Some nice one touch passing through the midfield found the ball at the feet of Paulo Nagamura.  Nagamura fired a shot/cross towards the far post, but Jacob Peterson was a step slow on his slide and the ball rolled wide of the post.  Into stoppage time of the first half the Dynamo grabbed the lead.  A free kick from the left was flicked on into the path of Will Bruin who was posted up on Ike Opara.  Bruin laid the ball into the path of an on rushing Davis who wasn't followed by Nagamura or Matt Besler.  Davis fired near post on Jimmy Nielsen beating him to make it 1-0.  Nielsen for some reason got caught moving to his far post, which left his near post totally exposed for Davis to fire in.

KC pushed the game from the start of the second half, looking to find an equalizer.  They had a great opportunity in the 52nd.  A Besler long throw was knocked around in the box until it fell to Claudio Bieler.  Bieler's shot though was blocked out for a corner.  In the 68th minute, KC found their equalizer. After some nice passing around the field, Bieler squared a ball in the middle for Kei Kamara.  Kamara cut back towards Bieler and then fired a shot across his body and into the corner to make it 1-1.  KC continued to pressure looking to take the lead against the Dynamo.  In the 76th Hall was forced to make another big save. Off a Zusi free kick the ball was played into the box where it was flicked on by Kamara.  Hall through got a hand up and deflected the shot over the bar for a corner.  KC kept throwing numbers forward but couldn't find a way past Hall to give KC the lead.  Then in stoppage time the Dynamo almost grabbed a winner.  After a corner, the Dynamo broke out on a counter.  The ball was played to Jason Johnson who got in behind KC's defense.  With only Nielsen to beat, Johnson looked set to force Nielsen to keep the game level.  But a great sliding challenge by a recovering Nagamura knocked the ball out for a corner and preserved the draw.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara
- Came on as a sub before the hour mark and stamped his authority on the game.  He's struggled to really make an impact since coming back from Norwich, but he was a catalyst that really helped KC force the tempo and change things up.  He brought a level of spontaneity that the team lacked.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Sinvoic 5, Opara 4, Besler 5, Jerome 5, Rosell 5, Nagamura 6, Joseph 5, Zusi 6, Bieler 6, Peterson 5.  Subs Myers 5, Kamara 7, Olum NR.

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

I suppose Kamara is considered the "man of the match" because he scored, but the "move of the match" was to move Zusi into the midfield.

I think now is the time for a lively, fact-filled debate as to why Bieler's impact appears subdued.

My impression is that we'd agree: the formation isolates him and allows the opposition's center backs to shadow him on both sides.

The question(s) is could he do more within the system to make himself more available and/or what tweaks could provide more service to his feet.

Given the PV 4-3-3 with Nagamura at the point, I honestly don't know if Bieler could do more or not. It's hard to tell.