Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sporting Climb into First Place

Sporting Kansas City continued their current unbeaten run with an impressive performance against an undermanned and underwhelming Toronto FC side. Kansas City got two goals from forward Soony Saad and another from Claudio Bieler to help them win 3-0, but it could have been much worse.

From the opening whistle, Sporting KC pressured Toronto and tried to take the game to them. They created a number of chances in the early going but couldn't beat Joe Bendik. While KC was controlling play, it was actually Toronto that had the best chance early on.  In the 18th minute, on a counter, Robert Earnshaw picked out former KC midfielder, Bobby Convey on the right.  He cut into the middle and then played a ball to the left side for Jeremy Brockie.  With a bunch of space and no defenders in between him and Jimmy Nielsen. Brockie's first shot was right at Nielsen, Nielsen knocked it away but right back at Brockie.  On the second attempt Brockie almost put it between Nielsen's legs, but the Dane grabbed it on it's way through keeping the game scoreless. Only 3 minutes after that chance KC grabbed the lead.  Seth Sinovic brought the ball down the left before playing a ball into the middle about 25 yards out from goal to Saad.  Saad turned and fired a shot on net.  The low shot beat Bendik to his near post give Sporting the 1-0 lead. KC should have doubled the lead in the 32nd minute.  Toronto was passing the ball around in their half of the field. Sporting was pressuring their defenders and Bieler forced a turnover.  Saad played the ball over the top to Benny Feilhaber who was in on goal against Bendik.  Bendik though made a nice save with his foot to keep the score 1-0.

Early in the second half, Sporting had another 1v1 opportunity.  This one fell to the guy Sporting wants those opportunities to fall to.  A long clearance by Nielsen was flicked on by Kei Kamara into the path of Bieler who was in behind Toronto's defense.  Bendik though again came up with a bit save deflecting his shot wide with his foot. A nice save, but an opportunity you expect Bieler to finish. It wasn't long after that opportunity that Saad made it 2-0 though. Saad started the play on the left, cutting inside and picking out Graham Zusi in the middle of the field.  Zusi turned and fired a shot on goal that Bendik pushed away.  The rebound though fell right into the path of Saad who made no mistake doubling KC's lead. Not long after Saad's goal, in the 56th minute Toronto's problems got worse. Toronto gave the ball away around midfield. Saad looked to play the ball back to Aurelien Collin.  Right as Saad was getting ride of the ball, Toronto midfielder, Reggie Lambe slid in late on the KC forward, catching the back of Saad's heal.  Kevin Stott had no hesitation reaching into his pocked and pulling out the red card putting Toronto down to 10. KC too advantage of the man advantage in the 63rd minute. Again it was Saad that started the play.  After receiving the the ball on the wing, Saad beat a guy on the line before racing towards goal.  He then laid the ball off the Kamara.  Kamara one touched a pass into the middle for Feilhaber who also one touched it to the back post for Bieler who was all alone. And with no one in front of him, Bieler made no mistake making it 3-0 and immediately turned to Feilhaber to thank him for the ball. KC continued to control being up a man, and they thought they'd made it 4-0 in the 76th.  Off a corner kick Bieler had a header blocked. The ball fell back to his feet and his second shot was knocked away by Bendik and then partially cleared.  Collin though headed the ball into the net.  Unfortunately on Bieler's second shot, Kamara was right by Bendik and tried to knock the ball in after he saved it.  Kamara was in an offside position causing the referee to raise his flag and rule out Collin's 4th of the season. Right before the final whistle KC had one other good opportunity to make it four.  Dom Dwyer raced into the box and got some space on his defender.  He fired a shot that beat Bendik, but didn't beat the post.  Seconds later the final whistle blew.

Wizards Man of the Match - Soony Saad - Saad had the brace and helped to set up the third goal.  He also could have had an assist if Feilhaber had finished off the 1v1 opportunity in the first half.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 7, Collin 6, Besler 6, Sinovic 7, Rosell 7, Feilhaber 7, Zusi 7, Saad 9, Bieler 7, Kamara 7. Subs Dwyer 7, Peterson NR, Bunbury NR.

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