I've run out of ways to describe my frustrations with Kansas City's home form. On home form alone, Sporting KC sits in 13th place in regards to home points per game, the team's road form has been what has really carried this team. And that's now becoming the story of the team's Champions League run. The team won their first two games in the competition, both on the road, 2-0 and had themselves sitting very pretty. But then last night at Sporting Park, the old home woes came back. Sporting controlled possession and had a number of shots, but couldn't score more than one goal as they had to settle for a draw with Real Esteli.
Sporting came out from the start and dominated possession. The shot selection early on though was not that great as they didn't get many of their efforts on goal. And early on Esteli looked dangerous on the counter, a good play by Josh Gardner kept it from being 1-0 early on in the game. Soony Saad forced a save from Esteli keeper Justo Lorente that he kept in front of him and covered the rebound. Lorente was on his game as well as later in the first half he made a diving save on a shot by Claudio Bieler and another by Saad. Esteli was also sitting back with numbers behind the ball and many of KC's efforts were blocked. It just seemed a matter of time before Sporting found net.
In the second half though it was Esteli that found the net first. Eric Kronberg tipped a shot by Esteli over the bar to give Esteli a corner. Arguments can be made on whether Kronberg should have caught that instead of tipping it over and both sides are justified, it looked like Kronberg got caught a little too far off his line and to make sure it didn't go in he tipped it over the bar. On the ensuing corner though Rudel Calero got over Matt Besler and headed the ball past Kronberg and into the net making it 1-0 Esteli. KC came back down the field and almost responded immediately. Off a corner Graham Zusi found CJ Sapong whose header was well saved by Lorente. KC really pushed the game down a goal creating a number of chances but having them saved, blocked, or wide of the goal. Back to back free kicks saw Zusi put his effort into the wall and Dom Dwyer curl one wide of the post. In the mean time, KC fans got to see what happens when a Central American team is leading on the road. The stretcher was brought out a number of times as Esteli players dropped every couple minutes. Finally in the 78th minute, KC got a goal. Zusi played a corner on the ground to the near post to Jacob Peterson. Peterson touched the ball past Lorente and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. KC continued to push to try to find a winner. Lorente again was there to stop them. A nice shot by Benny Feilhaber was well saved to keep the game level. The best chance for KC though was probably on the last play of the game. On a simple back pass, Lorente miss hit his clearance off the side of his foot right to Peterson. Peterson raced to the ball and was lining up his shot for the corner. Peterson though put the effort just wide of the post. Seconds later the final whistle blew. Sporting now will wait to see where things stand after Esteli and Olimpia play next Tuesday. KC currently sit four points ahead of the Hondurans. Their final group game is the 23rd of October again at Sporting Park against Olimpia.
Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - Feilhaber did a good job of running the offense tonight from the midfield, it's not his fault that the finishing at the end of it was not enough for KC to grab a goal or two in the first half.
Player Ratings - Kronberg 5, Gardner 5, Besler 5, Opara 5, Sinovic 5, Rosell 6, Joseph 4, Feilhaber 6, Saad 5, Bieler 4, Zusi 6. Subs Sapong 5, Dwyer, 5, Peterson 5.