Saturday, June 28, 2014

Smash and Grab

It wasn't a pretty game, not even close. Sporting KC, dressing only 16 players for the game, was able to take all three points on the road at Providence Park beating the Portland Timbers 1-0 in a classic smash and grab operation.

Portland had the better of play throughout most of the game. Early on Portland's chances didn't amount to good shots for the Timbers. Eric Kronberg was up to the early task making a save on a deflected shot by Will Johnson. The Timbers thought they'd scored in the 14th minute when Fanendo Adi headed home a cross by Darlinton Nabe, but the Timbers DP was offside. KC got little going when they they got forward, not really testing Donovan Ricketts in the early part of the game. In the 24th minute though KC got a deep throw-in in the Timbers end. Seth Sinovic launched the ball into the box. It went over the head of Aurelein Collin into the path of Kevin Ellis who got his foot on the ball knocking it into the path of Lawrence Olum. Olum one timed his shot past Ricketts and into the net to give KC the 1-0 lead. Portland continued to push forward, now trying to find an equalizer. Nagbe put a header just wide of Kronberg's post. The Timbers continued to press the game, but couldn't find an equalizer in the first half as KC went in with the lead.

The second half saw the Timbers continue to be the more aggressive side, pushing numbers forward and trying to break down KC's defense. KC though found space the other way on the counter. In the 63rd they almost punished the Timbers for it. After clearing a free kick, Dom Dwyer got sent free the other way, getting in behind the Portland defense. Diego Chara did a good job recovering and winning the ball away from Dwyer. His clearance though was blocked inside the box by Soony Saad. Saad pushed the ball past Chara and tried to fire a shot past Ricketts, but the Jamaican made the save. The Timbers continued to push, with Diego Valeri finding space after turning Collin but Kronberg was again there to make the save. KC's defense played fantastically in front of Kronberg, keeping Adi in check and not giving the Timbers many open looks on goal. Adi looked to win a penalty kick late on, but Collin appeared to win position on him before he went to ground looking for the foul. KC continued to be strong defensively and closed the game out, winning 1-0.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Ellis - Was a beast in the center of defense, cutting out chances and playing extremely well for KC. The home grown player has probably been the biggest revelation with KC's current injury issues. He's been given the opportunity and he's realy ran with it.

Honorable Mention: Aurelien Collin, Eric Kronberg

Player Ratings - Kronberg 7, Juliao 5, Collin 7, Ellis 8, Sinovic 7, Olum 6, Nagamura 6, Saad 5, Zizzo 5, Dwyer 4, Peterson 5. Subs Sapong 5, Martinez 5.

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