Last night's game between Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake lived up to expectations in many regards. It was a close game decided by a lone goal. As recent history between the two teams has shown, it was a physical game, seeing 7 yellows, 1 red, and 26 fouls between the two teams.
The game started early as just after the kick off, Kei Kamara was down on the ground and Chris Wingert earned himself a yellow. Replays of the foul showed Wingert go into the jump leading with his shoulder and connecting with Kamara's head/jaw. The play could easily been a red card for serious foul play. One has to think the Disciplinary Committee will at least take a look at it, if not give Wingert a suspension for the play. Salt Lake controlled the play for the majority of the first half, but really failed to create much in the way of chances. One of the reasons for this was a number of offside calls in the first half. Robbie Findley and Joao Plata caused the Sporting back line all kinds of problems in the first half with their speed. The best chance came in the 16th minute when a long ball by Plata found Luis Gil on the back side. Jimmy Nielsen thought he'd get to it first, but Gil beat him to the ball. He crossed the ball to Findley at the back post who headed it into the middle, but no one from RSL was there to put the ball into the net. RSL had another good opportunity later in the half as a cross towards the back post was just tipped away by Nielsen into the path of Chance Myers who cleared it for a corner kick. KC's best chance of the first half came in stoppage time of the first half. Graham Zusi did a great job of beating Wingert down the line before playing a ball into the middle for Soony Saad. Saad though didn't get set well enough and muffed his effort wide for a goal kick.
Early in the second half KC had a good chance to make it 1-0. After dancing at the top of the box, Saad cut a bit outside, losing his marker before firing a shot towards the corner. RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinela though made a nice save tipping it around the post for a corner. Off the ensuing corner again KC had a good chance as Ike Opara met the long corner but his header on goal was cleared off the line by Plata to keep the game scoreless. In the 55th minute, RSL grabbed the lead. After a foul about 35 yards from goal, Javier Morales lofted a ball into the box. Nielsen came to claim it, but could only get his finger tips to it. The ball fell right to Findley who headed the ball into the open net to make it 1-0. Things though turned for RSL in the 66th minute. Saad received the ball out wide and touched the ball past Wingert and went past him. Wingert pulled back on Saad's jersey and the forward went down. The sideline official flagged the foul and tapped his chest pocket indicating a yellow card was warrented on the play. It was Wingert's second yellow, and the defender found himself headed to the locker room early. Just like RSL's goal, KC took advantage of the set piece. After the initial effort was partially cleared out, Kamara played the ball back into the box. It was knocked into the middle where Aurelien Collin made a sliding effort, but had it saved by Attinella. He then batted the ball back to the top of the six yard box, where Claudio Bieler headed the ball back towards goal, Saad, back to goal turned on a half bike and volleyed the shot into the net tying the game at one a piece. Up a man, KC pushed the man, but really couldn't create much in the way of chances. In the 88th a long ball into the box was collected by Opara who passed the ball back to Benny Feilhaber, but Feilhaber's one time effort was right at Attinella. RSL came back down the other end and almost found a goal themselves, Olmes Garcia caught Collin diving in and then fired a shot from near the corner of the box but Nielsen did well diving to make the save and not give up a big rebound. Late into stoppage time the game went and in the 97th minute, KC won a corner kick. Zusi played the ball towards the middle of the box where Opara out jumped his mark and headed the ball past Attinella for the winner.
Wizards Man of the Match - Ike Opara - Was strong enough defensively filling in for Matt Besler who was with the US national team. Had one shot saved off the line, and had another that proved to be the game winner for KC.
Player Ratings: Nielsen 5, Myers 6, Collin 5, Opara 6, Sinovic 6, Rosell 5, Joseph 5, Zusi 5, Kamara 5, Bieler 4, Saad 6. Subs Olum 6, Feilhaber 4, Dwyer NR.