KC headed into Estadio Azul with a 1-0 aggregate advantage against Cruz Azul, but were taken apart tonight by a much better Mexican team. Sporting held the lead heading into the break but were thoroughly embarrassed in the second half as they bowed out of the Champion's League.
KC suffered from the Galaxy's defensive disease at the beginning of the game as Joao Rojas cut inside on Josh Gardner, played the ball into the box to Mariano Pavone who turned Kevin Ellis and fired past Eric Kronberg. In the sixth minute, KC should probably have equalized. A cross field ball towards Jacob Peterson was deflected by a Cruz Azul defender but right into the path of Peterson who raced in alone on goal. He fired a shot, but it was right at Jesus Corona who made the save. Cruz Azul continued to pressure and Marco Fabian was incorrectly ruled offside after getting behind Ellis. In the 23rd minute though there was no offside call to rescue KC as Fabian timed his run very well and got behind Ellis. He dribbled into the box and fired a shot that Kronberg got down and saved, but gave upu a rebound right into the middle where Pavone knocked the ball home to make it 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate in favor of the Mexican side. Cruz Azul continued to pressure and a free header on a corner could have made it 3-0, but it was right at Kronberg who held the ball. KC started to get a little of the ball as the game continued on and in the 43rd won a corner. Graham Zusi played the ball short to Benny Feilhaber who cut inside his defender and then fired a shot that beat Corona to the near post and gave KC the lead on the away goal rule.
Cruz Azul came out in the second half and continued to pressure the game, with the game at altitude it was only a matter of time before tired legs started to take over for KC. In the 55th minute Cruz Azul hit again. Again it was Fabian setting the play up, racing by first half sub Mechack Jerome and squaring into the middle for Pavone who one timed a shot past Kronberg as Ike Opara fell down to make it 3-1 on the night. The pressure continued, especially down KC's right wing as Fabian had his way with Jerome. In the 66th minute Cruz Azul put the game to bed as Fabian again burned Jerome down the line. He cut inside along the end line and as Kronberg came out to commit he laid the ball back. The initial effort was blocked on the line by Matt Besler, but Mauro Formica got the rebound and fired home to make it 4-1 on the night. And four minute later the route was on as Cruz Azul combined well in the midfield leading to Christian Gimenez getting behind KC's defense and firing in a shot off the far post to make it 5-1. KC looked gassed while Cruz Azul looked fresh and had a couple opportunities to make the scoreline worse. In the end, the referee called the game basically right at 90 minutes and KC bowed out of the competition rather embarrassingly. Cruz Azul killed KC down the flanks all night and the altitude finally got to him.
It's not a bad thing to lose to a team like Cruz Azul, who has to be considered the favorites for the tournament, it's how KC ended up losing that's embarrassing. This game will end up in the same breath as the 7-0 loss to Chicago on July 4th, 2001, or the 6-1 loss at Morelia in the 2002 CONCACAF Champions Cup, or the 6-0 loss to Dallas in Curt Onalfo's last match in charge of the club.
Wizards Man of the Match - Benny Feilhaber - Cause he scored the goal, the lone bright spot.
Player Ratings - Kronberg 3, Gardner 3, Opara 2, Besler 3, Ellis 2, Rosell 3, Nagamura 3, Feilhaber 4, Zusi 3, Bieler 3, Peterson 3. Subs Jerome 1, Dwyer 2, Sapong 3