Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sporting Ends Houston's Unbeaten Streak

Coming into last Sunday and the start of Sporting KC's 3 games in 8 days streak, I figured that taking 6 out of 9 points from the 3 games would have been acceptable.  You had home games against the struggling Chivas and Seattle and a trip to Houston where the Dynamo are unbeaten in 36 games. The Chivas game went to plan with a 4-0 win.  Then a rough game against Seattle at home that KC lost 1-0.  So heading into the game against the Dynamo tonight, Sporting had 3 of the 6 I was expecting with the toughest game ahead. KC though came out with a good game plan, got some luck and pulled out a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo, ending their unbeaten run at home that had lasted for 22 months.

From the start KC actually came out with some intention from the start and actually had some good possession early on against the Dynamo, but lacked in creating chances. In the 10th minute KC got the first good look of the game off a long throw.  The thrown was partially cleared to Oriol Rosell who fired a volley on goal but it was right at Tally Hall.  Hall knocked the shot down and covered up the rebound. The Dynamo started to come alive and created some half chances but didn't test Jimmy Nielsen early on.  KC continued to get some looks themselves, with Claudio Bieler forcing another save out of Tally Hall. While it wouldn't affect them the rest of the night tonight, in the 24th minute Sporting KC was dealt a blow towards next week.  Aurelien Collin picked up his 5th yellow card of the season and will sit out the game next weekend in DC. With Matt Besler still recovering from his knee injury that could lead to an Ike Opara/Lawrence Olum center back pairing. Things for the DC game took another hit in the 40th when Rosell picked up his 5th yellow of the season, meaning he'll miss the game as well, leaving KC a little light defensively.  KC made it through the half though and the two teams were level heading into the half time break.

In the second half Kansas City continued to hang with the Dynamo and were creating the better of the chances.  Graham Zusi and Peterson Joseph combined well in the 52nd minute, the only thing lacking was Zusi's shot which he put wide from just outside the box. Shortly after KC had another really good chance off a short free kick, Seth Sinovic fired a shot from long range that Hall did well to hold onto. KC continued to pressure and in the 73rd it paid off.  A long throw by Sinovic was flicked on by Collin.  Collin's header went past Hall and was headed into the net.  Houston defender, Corey Ashe raced back and got his head on it but couldn't keep the ball out and Kansas City went up 1-0. Off a turnover immediately after the kick off KC almost doubled the lead.  Houston turned the ball over quickly and KC sent a long ball over the top to Claudio Bieler.  Bieler ended up collecting the ball and firing a shot just wide of Hall's post. After that the Dynamo really took over the game and pinned KC in their own end.  In the 80th the Dynamo had a great opportunity to equalize off a corner.  Brad Davis played the ball to the back post for substitute, Jason Johnson. Johnson headed the ball back across goal towards the back post.  Nielsen was beaten, but Paulo Nagamura hadn't moved too far off the post yet (like a good player should when covering the post) and headed the ball off the line keeping KC in front. The Dynamo kept pushing the game and won a number of free kicks as KC seemed to commit foul after foul in their defensive half of the field giving Davis plenty of chances to swing balls into the box.  KC though stepped up and cleared the chances.  In the 84th off another Davis corner the ball got partially cleared but Andrew Driver fired a shot just wide.  While the Dynamo controlled the game, KC tried to strike on the counter with Zusi, CJ Sapong, and Kei Kamara.  KC got some opportunities, but Houston was quick to recover and KC at times was content to use it to kill more clock. As the game entered stoppage time, Houston was playing everything into the box. A Hall free kick was played into the path to Davis who had a look on goal, but Opara shut the angle down and Davis didn't get a good shot off and Nielsen collected.  KC held on and collected 3 points to get to the 6 of 9 I was expecting, not the way I did, but they got it done and moved into a tie for second in the East.

Wizards Man of the Match - Aurelien Collin - It was a little hectic early on for him and the yellow will see him miss the DC game, but Collin was solid tonight.  Everything into the area he was cutting out, and he got the vital goal to win it. 

Honorable Mention - Ike Opara

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Jerome 7, Collin 8, Opara 8, Sinovic 7, Rosell 5, Nagamura 6, Joseph 6, Peterson 6, Bieler 6, Zusi 6. Subs Kamara 6, Olum 6, Sapong NR.

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