Sunday, May 18, 2014

Early PKs Doom KC

A makeshift back line, including a 17 year old making his MLS debut made a number of early mistakes and it ended up costing Sporting Kansas City as they fell 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.

Sporting came out with a different look, going away from their traditional 4-3-3 and instead coming out in a 3-5-2 with Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic and teenager, Erik Palmer-Brown in defense. KC struggled greatly early on as they settled into the new formation. In the sixth minute a through ball was played by Harry Shipp in to Quincy Amarikwa who was just held onside by Sinovic. Eric Kronberg came off his line and went towards the ball, missing the ball and appearing to catch Amarikwa. Referee Jose Carlos Rivera pointed to the spot. Replays didn't show much contact between Kronberg and Amarikwa, but it didn't matter as Mike Magee stepped up and sent Kronberg the wrong way giving the Fire a 1-0 lead. Things got worst for Sporting in the 15th minute. After receiving a flicked on throw in down the line, Benji Joya raced down the line towards the box. Palmer-Brown raced over to cut off the attack, knocking Joya off the ball. The ball though knocked off Palmer-Brown back to Joya. As the Fire midfielder was getting around Palmer-Brown, the center back pushed Joya to the ground. Unlike the first PK call, there was no room for debate and again Magee stepped up and put the PK past Kronberg making it 2-0. Down 2-0, KC finally started to come out and play and almost pulled one back immediately. A nice ball over the top by Igor Juliao found Dom Dwyer, but his effort beat Sean Johnson but not the post as KC stayed down 2-0. Sporting settled into the new formation and the game started to settle down as KC looked to find a ay back in.

The second half saw KC continue to have the better of possession as they pushed for a way into the game. In the 51st Claudio Bieler had a good opportunity as Paulo Nagamura played him in on goal, but he ended up firing his effort into the side netting as Johnson had the near post covered. The 64th minute KC's defensive issues got worse, as Palmer-Brown picked up a second yellow fouling Amarikwa after a poor giveaway by Toni Dovale. That leaves KC heading into Friday's game with Toronto with all five of their center backs out. The red card left Sporting inserting Kevin Ellis into the game as a center back alongside Myers as Sporting switched to a 4-4-1. Down a man though it was Sporting that responded better. In the 68th KC found a lifeline as Benny Feilhaber connected with Dwyer on a nice free kick. Dwyer headed the ball past Johnson and made it 2-1. Then just like against Philadelphia, KC almost conceded immediately after the goal as the Fire came down and Dilly Duka fired a shot on goal that Kronberg had to beat away to keep the score 2-1. KC continued to push numbers forward looking for an equalizer but ended up leaving themselves exposed in the back which almost allowed the Fire to seal the game. Some confusion between Myers and Ellis in the 76th allowed Magee in on goal with a chance for the hattrick. Kronberg though was quick off his line getting an initial touch as Magee tried to round him. Kronberg then knocked the rebound off Magee's foot for a corner. The Fire continued to attempt to hit on the counter as KC tried to find an equalizer. Meanwhile KC was trying to get their own PK at the other end. Ellis went down after a small shove on a cross and Alex Martinez went down under a challenge from Jeff Larentowicz. Neither one drew a call and on replay appeared that it would have been dubious calls. Late in the game, Duka had a great opportunity on a break away. Duka's attempt to chip Kronberg went right into the keeper's hands. Late on Shipp had a chance to seal it, turning Myers before firing a shot that Kronberg got down well to save. In the end KC ran out of time to find an equalizer on the road as the Fire won their second game in a row.

Wizards Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - I'm still not sure the first PK was really a PK and throughout the game Kronberg came up with some big saves to keep KC alive in the game.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 6, Myers 5, Palmer-Brown 4, Sinovic 5, Juliao 5, Nagamura 5, Feilhaber 5, Dovale 4, Peterson 5, Bieler 3, Dwyer 5. Subs Ellis 5, Martinez 5, Saad NR.

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