Monday, March 31, 2014

Sporting Win in Colorado at the Death

After allowing two goals in stoppage time this season, Sporting KC reversed their fortunes on Saturday in Colorado, getting a winner from Dom Dwyer in stoppage time to give KC a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids. The two teams traded blows throughout the second half that saw KC grab the lead before two PKs by the Rapids (their fourth and fifth of the season) put them on top. Only a minute after they went up though KC was level before the Dwyer winner.

The first half of the game though lacked the appeal the second half gave, although there were some opportunities for each team. The first really good look came for KC in the 18th minute as a Matt Besler throw in was met by Ike Opara around the penalty spot, but Opara's header went just wide of the post. The Rapids came back down the field and had their own opportunity as Drew Moor put a free header over the bar to keep it 0-0. Colorado again in the 22nd should have taken the lead as Vicente Sanchez raced down the wing before getting Eric Kronberg to commit and laying a ball into the middle for Nick Labrocca. Labrocca though scuffed his shot and Matt Besler was able to clear it off the line. Colorado got themselves another good opportunity in the 29th after winning a free kick. Kronberg got caught with the ball at his feet as Sanchez came sliding in on the tackle. Sanchez did not get immediately back up and with his legs around Kronberg, KC's goalkeeper couldn't move. In the end the referee called a foul on Kronberg and gave him a yellow, although I'm not sure how dangerous play wasn't called on Sanchez first as he tried to play the ball on the ground. Dillon Powers fired the shot on goal but Kronberg made the save and then covered the rebound. Kronberg again was called upon to make a good save after Edson Buddle raced at the KC defense and fired a shot on goal.

Early in the second half, KC jumped out in front. After winning the ball at midfield, the ball came to Paulo Nagamura who played a great ball down the line to Sal Zizzo. After two Rapids players committed to the ball, Zizzo slid the ball across the face of goal to an unmarked Graham Zusi who tapped the ball home for a 1-0 lead. The Rapids almost equalized immediately as Kronberg was forced to make a save on a header off a free kick. Shortly after though the Rapids won their first penalty kick of the day. Sanchez fired in a shot from outside the box that Kronberg couldn't hold. The ball bounced over to the side of the goal where Jared Watts and Opara were. As Watts and Opara both went for the ball, Opara ended up getting hit in the shin by a cleat. Opara fell to the ground in pain, right on top of the ball and referee Jose Carlos Rivero called Opara for a hand ball. Opara ended up staying down and had to be subbed out. In the meantime, Sanchez stepped up and put the PK to Kronberg's right. The goalkeeper got a piece of it but couldn't keep it out. KC almost grabbed the lead back in the 68th off a Benny Feilhaber free kick, but he curled his effort just wide of the near post. The Rapids picked up the pressure and in the 77th minute won another penalty. Shane O'Neill nutmegged Feilhaber and dribbled into the box where Feilhaber committed a rash challenge and again a PK was awarded. Sanchez again went to Kronberg's right, but the KC goalkeeper had gone the opposite way and the Rapids led 2-1.

The lead lasted less than a minute though as KC quickly struck the other direction. A cross by Zusi was headed back into the middle by Zizzo into the path of Feilhaber. Feilhaber missed on his first attempt but got back on his feet and knocked the ball into hte net to make it 2-2. In the 85th things got worse for the Rapids as Marvell Wynne picked up his second yellow card of the match for a tackle on Zusi which saw him sent off. With the man advantage, KC took control of the game. Dwyer just missed with a turning, curling shot off a throw in from Besler. KC took advantage of the man advantage in the second minute of stoppage time. Receiving the ball near the corner of the box, Dwyer dribbled towards goal on Moor. Getting a bit of space Dwyer let fly with a hard left footed strike that beat John Berner to give KC the lead 3-2 in stoppage time. KC controlled the last few minutes of stoppage time to walk out with all three points.

Wizards Man of the Match - Graham Zusi - Involved in all three of the goals, scoring one and setting up the other two. If Zusi can round into form like Feilhaber has, KC will be very dangerous.

Honorable Mention: Sal Zizzo

Player Ratings: Kronberg 5, Ellis 5, Opara 5, Besler 5, Sinovic 5, Rosell 5, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 8, Bieler 4, Zizzo 7. Subs Collin 6, Olum 5, Dwyer 7.

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