Sporting Kansas City got their CONCACAF Champions League campaign started on the right foot in Nicaragua last night as they defeated Real Esteli 2-0. Kansas City controlled the majority of the game against the Nicaraguan side causing the Esteli back line to give the ball away multiple times. Early pressure from Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad led to a free kick just outside the box early on. Benny Feilhaber got the free kick over the wall but didn't get enough power on it to beat Justo Lorente in the Esteli net. KC continued to pressure the Esteli midfield and back line causing a number of turnovers in the middle of the field. After the early control by KC though, Esteli looked to come alive for a little bit, causing KC some trouble defensively, but Eric Kronberg made a nice save and did well to cut out crosses both on the ground and in the air to keep the game scoreless. In the 31st minute, Kansas City deservedly took the lead. After a foul in Esteli's end of the field, Feilhaber floated in a lofted set piece towards the back post. Ike Opara got up well over his defender and tried to direct a header back towards the near post for Aurelien Collin. The header though looped over Lorente's head and into the net giving KC a 1-0 lead.
The second half saw Kansas City continue to control the game as they looked for a second goal. The Esteli back line looked completely over matched against KC's front three of Saad, Dwyer, and Jacob Peterson as the three were able to pass around the back line and create a number of chances. Esteli created very little of their own at the other end though. Their best chance probably came from a corner after their leading scorer, Rudel Calero, entered the game. The corner though was put wide of KC's net keeping the game 1-0 KC. The way the game was going, Kansas City was going to find a second, Feilhaber put a shot just over the bar after a short free kick, and Saad stung the hands of the keeper with an effort from the top of the box. Finally in the 76th minute, KC doubled their lead. A long ball over the top by Aurelien Collin found Dwyer. Dwyer started to dribble at the lone defender in front of him. The defender surprisingly backed off more as Dwyer dribbled at him and eventually fell over as Dwyer started to make his move past him. This allowed Dwyer to get into the box and place a nice shot into the far corner past Lorente to give KC the 2-0 lead and seal the game. KC always looked the more impressive side and the final result was a good representation of the game.
Wizards Man of the Match - Oriol Rosell - Really there are a number of people that the man of the match award could go to. Rosell though put a lock down on the middle of the field last night. With Lawrence Olum sitting behind him, Rosell was allowed more freedom around the field and he took it, breaking up plays and winning the ball all night.
Honorable mention: Benny Feilhaber, Soony Saad, Dom Dwyer
Player Ratings - Kronberg 6, Sinovic 6, Collin 7, Opara 7, Jerome 6, Rosell 8, Olum 7, Feilhaber 8, Saad 8, Dwyer 8, Peterson 7. Subs Joseph 6, Bunbury NR, Sapong NR