Sunday, June 02, 2013

Home Woes Continue for Sporting

Since the team rebranded to Sporting, there has been very little adversity for Sporting to deal with.  Sure there was the extended road trip to start the 2011 season that caused a number of problems for Kansas City, but for the most part the team has been successful and been able to get results. They are facing some adversity now though after another poor performance at home saw KC fall 2-1 to the Montreal Impact.  The loss dropped KC four points behind the Impact for first in the East with the Impact having 3 games in hand.  It was also KC's 3rd loss at home in the last 5 games.  Of those 15 points available in those 5 home games, KC has picked up a total of 4. They've also won just two of their last eight league games.  A pathetic number for a team expecting to compete for silverware this season.

The game was open from the start as both teams tried to find an early goal.  It was Montreal that had the best chance early on.  Off a quick counter, Marco Di Vaio picked out Felipe Martins in the box unmarked.  Jimmy Nielsen though did well to knock the ball away for a corner and keep the game scoreless. Sporting controlled possession but the Impact looked extremely dangerous on the counter.  In the 39th minute the Impact almost again grab the lead on a counter.  A through ball to Di Vaio was flicked on into the path of Felipe who was in behind KC's defense. He got Nielsen to commit and fired a shot towards the near post.  The ball though hit the bar and bounced right back to Nielsen.  KC's keeper though didn't hold it and Felipe squared the ball to Di Vaio.  With the open net though Di Vaio pushed his shot wide keeping the game scoreless.  Into stoppage time in the first half there came some controversy.  A ball was played over the top to Claudio Bieler.  KC's designated player was up against Italian Alessandro Nesta. While the two were battling for the ball, Nesta grab Bieler's jersey by the collar.  The assistant referee immediately raised his flag for a foul and then made his way to his spot for penalty kicks.  Watching replays of the foul Bieler didn't appear to be in the box when the contact started, although he did fall into the box. Bieler stepped up and fired the PK to Troy Perkins right and into the net putting KC on top.

During half time, Montreal's coach, Marco Schallibaum ended up getting his marching orders for something that happened inside.  The Impact didn't suffer long without their coach though.  Right after the second half started a foul down near the corner gave the Impact a dangerous free kick.  The initial ball was headed clear by Bieler but right into the path of Sanna Nyassi who chested the ball down and fired it into the corner and tied the game. That goal as well was not without it's own questions.  Di Vaio was in an offside position when Nyassi fired in his shot.  And while Di Vaio didn't touch it, he did jump over the ball, and was shielding Nielsen.  So while he didn't touch the ball he was involved in the play by the letter of the law should have been called. The Impact continued to push the game and in the 53rd grabbed the lead thanks to some confusion on KC's part.  After KC failed to get the ball clear, Felipe went up with a bike attempt on Oriol Rosell and knocked the ball towards Seth Sinovic and Peterson Joseph.  The two KC players collided and the ball fell to Collen Warner who turned and fired the ball past Nielsen and into the net. Like the other two goals there was questions asked of it as Felipe could have been called for a dangerous play for his bike attempt with Rosell.  But it wasn't called and Montrela had a deserved lead.

KC started to push more trying to find themselves and equalizer and almost did in the 65th off a long throw in.  The throw from Sinovic was headed back towards the back post where Benny Feilhaber chested it down and then biked it, but Perkins made a nice save tipping the ball away. Things got even more interesting in the 74th minute.  Bieler and Nesta had been going at it all night, including the earlier PK. The two players battled for the ball.  Nesta won it and was fouled by Bieler at that time. Nesta then got up and head butted Bieler.  When viewing replays you can see why he got upset as it appears that Bieler flicked his foot towards Nesta. For the head butt, Nesta got his marching orders and KC ended up a man.  But Bieler will likely hear from the disciplinary committee for his actions as well. Up a man for the final 16 minutes though KC struggled to really test the Impact.  While they raked up the shots they didn't do enough to really test Perkins in Montreal's net.  For their part the Impact continued to attack some on their own, trying to hit on the counter.  Their best chance for an equalizer arguably came just before the final whistle when Bieler played a square ball across the box for Kei Kamara who fired his shot just wide of the goal.

Wizards Man of the Match - Jacob Peterson - Really this was a tough one to pick because no one played well.  But Peterson worked his butt off yesterday.  Which is more than I can say for a few others.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 4, Jerome 4, Opara 4, Collin 4, Sinovic 3, Nagamura 4, Rosell 4, Joseph 3, Peterson 5, Bieler 5, Kamara 4. Subs Feilhaber 5, Sapong 4, Gardner NR.

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