Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sporting Put Montreal to the Sword Again

The Montreal Impact are not a good soccer team. Two weeks ago Sporting KC dominated them on their way to a 4-0 win at Sporting Park. This week the two teams met in Montreal for their second meeting of the season. And like the first one, KC dominated the game. This time though KC took it to a different level. KC was helped by an early red card to Impact midfielder, Collen Warner, but they completed over 700 passes, the first team to do so since the league started tracking the stats. The completed 92% of those passes and held possession for over 78% of the game. At one point KC apparently strung 52 passes together. KC was led by Oriol Rosell, who completed 160 of his 166 pases, another record for a single game. Meanwhile, Montreal completed just 173 passes, only 145 when excluding their throw-ins. Just shows how dominating KC and Rosel's performance was.

KC had the better of play from the start of the game, controlling posession, but in the first bit they really didn't create anything in the way of chances. Their first good opportunity came in the 16th minute off a Matt Besler long throw. The ball got redirected on goal by Jacob Peterson, but Troy Perkins made the initial save, the rebound fell to Rosell and Warner in front of the goal. The ball hit off the two players as Warner went to ground. As the ball rolled towards the goal, Warner hit the ball with his arm at least three times as Rosell and then Dom Dwyer tried to turn the ball in. The ball bounced into the air and Perkins tried to grab it but knocked the ball into his own net. Before that happened though referee Jair Marrufo blew the play dead and pointed to the penalty spot. Marrufo also gave Warner a red card, sending the midfielder off and putting the Impact down to 10 men after just 17 minutes. Dwyer stepped up and buried the penalty kick even though Perkins went the right way. With the man advantage KC really picked up the pressure and the possession. In the 27th , Perkins had to be alert to deny Jacob Peterson. Benny Feilhaber again played a fantastic ball into Graham Zusi, splitting two defenders. Zusi then played another nice ball in to Peterson. The forward's first touch nutmegged a defender but before Peterson could get onto the ball, Perkins raced out and covered the ball. In the 30th KC had another good opportunity as Chance Myers almost picked out Dwyer on a cross but Perkins cut the cross out and the rebound was cleared. Although Dwyer turned out to be offside on he play. With all the possession though KC hadn't been able to put the Impact to the sword yet and really open the game up. Finally in the 34th they doubled their advantage. Zusi picked out Myers on the wing where he slid a lot ball into the box that went all the way through to Paulo Nagamura at the far post. He hit a bouncing shot that fooled Perkins and went into the far corner to make it 2-0. The shot ended up being scuffed more than anything and caused Perkins to go the complete wrong direction. Zusi really should have made it 3-0 a short time later after receiving the ball near the top of the box, he got himself some space, but passed up a good shot with his right to try to get a better shot on his left. But before he got the shot off the ball was knocked away for a corner. In the 43rd minute the Impact almost got themselves something against the run of play. It all came from Justin Mapp who received the ball out wide and cut into the middle on Seth Sinovic. He kept going into the middle of the field before firing a shot from outside the box that in the end was very tame for Eric Kronberg.

The second half saw Kansas City continue to pressure the Impact, looking to add to their lead. They almost got help in the 51st. Seth Sinovic was picked out by Zusi on an overlapping run. As Sinovic tried to play the ball into the middle, it took a deflection off an Impact defender and was headed towards goal before Perkins ended up blocking it away with his leg. The best opportunity came in the 55th minute though as Zusi was able to slid into the box unmarked at the back post.  Peterson was able to pick out Zusi with a nice ball, but Zusi got caught between two minds of hitting it first time and bringing the ball down. Zusi ended up bringing it down and by the time he did, Perkins had taken the opportunity away from him. The opportunity kept coming for KC, Dwyer fired a shot just over the bar after a short free kick in the 58th minute. The 63rd minute saw KC finally grab a third. Substitute Toni Dovale received the ball in the middle of the field and played a nice cutting ball behind the Impact back line. Dwyer raced onto the ball as his mark had gone to cut down Dovale. From just inside the box Dwyer fired the ball into the corner to make it 3-0 and really seal the game. From there KC spent more time just possessing the ball and killing the clock. The did have some opportunities though, Claudio Bieler had a volleyed effort blocked shortly after coming on. Then in the 83rd it really should have been 4-0. After some good possession down the right, Soony Saad fired a low cross to the back post where an unmarked Seth Sinovic was. Sinovic though from six yards out fired the ball over the goal from six yards out in an effort that was harder to miss than make. In the 86th the Impact had their one good effort of the second half as Mapp again cut inside his man and let fly from around the top of the box, but the effort was wide of Kronberg's goal. KC was able to kill the game off and walk out of Montreal as the sole leaders of the Eastern Conference.

Wizards Man of the Match - Oriol Rosell - In a game where KC passed the Impact to death, Rosell was the lead in that situation as I mentioned earlier. And Rosell's passing weren't all just square or back passes either. He really took advantage of the space left after Warner's sending off.

Honorable Mention - Dom Dwyer

Player Ratings - Kronberg 7, Sinovic 6, Collin 7, Besler 7, Myers 8, Rosell 8, Nagamura 7, Feilhaber 7, Peterson 7, Dwyer 8, Zusi 6. Subs Dovale 7, Bieler 6, Saad 6.

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