Sunday, July 07, 2013

Early Goals Stand Up as Sporting Beat Chicago

The Chicago Fire were unbeaten in 9 games in all competitions, they hadn't lost since acquiring Mike Magee from LA, so they had confidence on their side. KC had struggled for consistency heading into the game, while they were unbeaten in their last three, they'd only won one of those games. KC though got two early goals from Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi and held off Chicago to take a 2-1 win at Toyota Park, only KC's fourth win at Chicago since they came into the league in 1998.

Sporting KC got off to a dream start in the 6th minute.  A long throw in by Matt Besler was knocked back into the path of Benny Feilhaber at the top of the box.  Feilhaber one timed his shot on goal. It hit off the inside of the post and into the net just inside the opposite corner of the goal. Things got even better for Kansas City in the 8th. After some high pressure in Chicago's end, the Fire gave the ball away to Seth Sinovic.  Sinovic played the ball to Graham Zusi near the corner of the box.  Kei Kamara made a run towards the six yard box as Zusi played a ball towards the middle of the box.  The ball though floated over Kamara and over Chicago goalkeeper, Paolo Tornaghi and into the net doubling KC's lead.

The Fire almost responded immediately off a corner.  KC partially cleared it but only as far as Chris Rolfe at the top of the box.  Rolfe let fly with a shot that took a bit of a deflection.  Jimmy Nielsen did well though to bat the ball away and out for a corner. The Fire really took over the game after KC's second goal and should have pulled a goal back in the 18th.  A long ball over the top saw Rolfe split the KC defense and get in behind.  One v one with Nielsen though, Rolfe pushed his effort wide of the goal, keeping it 2-0 KC. Chicago's constant pressure eventually paid off and the Fire found a goal in the 38th. Again it came when a player got in behind KC's defense.  This time it was a Jeff Larentowicz header that allowed Mike Magee to get behind KC's back line. A touch by Rolfe would have left Magee offside, but replays were inconclusive to whether Rolfe got a touch.  It didn't matter as the flag went up and Magee got in behind KC's defense. Magee slotted the ball past Nielsen and made it 2-1.

Early in the second half Kansas City made their first substitution, bringing on Soony Saad for Benny Feilhaber. This move dropped Zusi back into KC's midfield.  With Zusi there, KC really started to win the possession game game and control the game against the Fire. With the possession though KC couldn't capitalize on it. KC's best chance arguably came shortly after the change in the 59th.  After Zusi and Saad worked down the left, Zusi played the ball in the middle to Claudio Bieler.  Bieler passed up the shot to get it to Kamara who had a better shot. Kamara's shot though was blocked by Austin Berry.  The deflection was eventually played back to Oriol Rosell who also had his shot blocked by Bieler. While KC wasn't creating many great chances with the possession, they were keeping the Fire from mounting much of an attempt at a comeback. The Fire finally recorded another shot on goal in the 87th after some work on KC's right, but Dilly Duka's shot was easy for Nielsen to claim.

Into stoppage time Chicago continued to try to find the equalizer.  Off a long through KC was able to clear their lines. Eventually Teal Bunbury collected the ball and picked out Dom Dwyer near midfield. Dwyer was tackled from behind by Daniel Paladini.  Baldomero Toledo immediately went to the back pocket and sent the Fire midfielder off. Even with 10 men, the Fire pressured the game and with a late corner and throw in deep, Tornaghi came forward giving the Fire another body in the box. Those chances came to nothing though as KC walked away with all three points.

Wizards Man of the Match - Graham Zusi - Zusi's "shross" as Taylor Twellman called it proved to be the game winner for KC. Zusi really took over the game when he moved into the midfield though. KC's possession skyrocketed once he moved there.  And he was a major asset at both ends of the field for Sporting, breaking up plays and pressuring in the defensive third of the field as well.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 6, Collin 4, Besler 4, Sinovic 5, Olum 5, Rosell 6, Feilhaber 6, Kamara 3, Bieler 4, Zusi 8. Subs Saad 6, Bunbury 5, Dwyer NR.

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

Wacky thought: try Collin in the Cesar spot.