Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sporting Put the Pressure on New York

Sporting KC got a goal from an unlikely source today and put the pressure on New York tomorrow. Lawrence Olum was the unlikely hero for Sporting KC, scoring the winner for KC in stoppage time to give KC a 2-1 win over the Union at PPL Park.

The first half of the game was an extremely chippy affair, with both teams committing a number of fouls. KC had the first really good opportunity in the 14th minute. After some passing around the back, Aurelien Collin played the ball over the top to Dom Dwyer. Dwyer took the ball down off his chest, settled the ball, turned and fired a shot that just missed Zach MacMath's near post. KC had another great opportunity in the 23rd minute. Off a free kick, Graham Zusi played a ball to the top of the box. The ball took a bounce and fell to Jacob Peterson all alone in front of goal. Peterson one timed the shot, but with the entire goal to shoot at, he hit it right at MacMath who easily made the save. Philadelphia had chances of their own as the wind definitely played a role in the chances. A cross by the Union had to be palmed away by Jimmy Nielsen as it floated in on goal.

In the second half it did not take long for KC to grab a lead. Off a Matt Besler long throw, Olum flicked the ball on to the back post where Antoine Hoppenot had lost Zusi. The US international scored the second headed goal of his competitive career, both in less than a month and KC went up 1-0. With the lead, Philadelphia had to push the game more, which left them more exposed in the back. In the 70th minute, KC could have doubled the lead. Dwyer picked out Zusi who was racing in past the Union defense. He squared the ball for Soony Saad, but his shot from the top of the box was knocked away by MacMath to keep the game 1-0. Shortly after that opportunity, the Union had a good opportunity. A cross into the back post found Sebastien Le Toux coming into the box, but his one time volley was high and wide of Nielsen's goal. The Union continued to pressure and in the 76th minute, Sporting needed Seth Sinovic to come up with a save on the line after a long throw. The throw came in to Jack McInerney whose shot was on goal but Sinovic was there to head the ball away. The Union continued to threaten and KC seemed to sink deeper and deeper in their own end. It felt only a matter of time before the Union equalizer. After KC couldn't get enough on a clearance, a ball was floated over the top for McInerney who inside the box one timed a shot past Neilsen and into the net leveling the game. With the game level the Union pushed for a winner, but it was Sporting that looked better on the counter. Just into stoppage time, KC should have taken the lead as Bunbury and Peterson had a 2v1 on Philadelphia. Bunbury got the defender to commit to him and played the ball across to an open Peterson who again shot the ball at MacMath who made the easy save. A minute later Sporting grabbed the winner. A long ball from Nielsen over the top found Peterson in the corner. His cross to the back post took a bit of a deflection, but still found Bunbury at the back post. Instead of shooting the ball, Bunbury laid the ball back into the path of Olum who slotted the ball past MacMath and into the net giving KC the lead. KC was able to kill the rest of the clock and put KC back on top of the league, requiring New York to beat Chicago tomorrow to win the Supporters' Shield.

Wizards Man of the Match - Lawrence Olum - The hero in stoppage time with the winner had a strong game overall. He helped shut down the Philadelphia midfield, and also picked up an assist on Zusi's opener.

Honorable mention - Seth Sinovic.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Myers 5, Collin 5, Besler 6, Sinovic 7, Rosell 6, Olum 8, Zusi 7, Saad 6, Dwyer 5, Peterson 5. Subs Opara 5, Gardner 5, Bunbury 6.

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