Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sporting Top the Galaxy

Sporting Kansas City extended their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, moving four points clear of the idle DC United with a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy at Sporting Park. Kansas City rode a strong start to the game to help them extend their unbeaten run to six, end their four game winless run at home, and end he Galaxy's eight game unbeaten run.

Kansas City started the game with some very early pressure against the Galaxy and pushed the game early on. In just the sith minute, Igor Juliao forced a good save out of Jaime Penedo as he raced forward after a quick switch. Throughout the first half, KC did a lot of attacking down their left, LA's right, trying to take advantage of the match up with Tommy Meyer who has spent more time as a center back than a wide player. Soony Saad, on KC's left was a focal point of KC's attack, in the 10th minute he won a free kick after beating Meyer on that side. Benny Feilhaber stepped up curled the free kick over the wall and into the net in the 11th minute to give Sporting the 1-0 lead against the Galaxy, Feilhaber's second in as many games and third of the season. KC continued to attack down their left, specifically with Saad, causing lots of issues for the Galaxy back line. Saad in the 32nd forced another save out of Penedo. With all the chances that KC had in the first half you had to wonder if they'd pay for only scoring the one goal.

Early in the second half the Galaxy almost did make them pay. Some good work down the Galaxy's right found Landon Donovan 1v1 with Aurelien Collin. Donovan tried to square the ball into the middle, but Matt Besler cut it out. The ball only went as far as Baggio Husidic, whose shot skimmed the outside of Andy Gruenebaum's near post. The start of the second half became very open as KC had a great chance to double their lead. Graham Zusi won a ball in the Galaxy half of the field, dribbled into the box and then squared a ball into the middle of the box, but there was no one there for KC to tap the ball home. The Galaxy came back the other way immediately and almost found the equalizer. After some good work by Robbie Keane he played a ball in to Marcelo Sarvas, Sarvas played the ball to Gyasi Zardes who was 1v1 with Gruenebaum, but KC's goalkeeper was quick off his line and blocked the effort. Both teams looked for chances and the Galaxy almost struck on the counter in the 54th minute. A turn over by Feilhaber in KC's offensive end led to a 2v1 break for the Galaxy on Juliao. Juninho fed the ball across to Keane who fired a shot over the goal as Gruenebaum raced out. Keane wanted a call after the play, but referee Allen Chapman gave a goal kick. Shortly after that, KC doubled their lead. A Zusi corner was partially punched by Penedo. Collin collected the ball, instead of laying it back to an open Saad, Collin lofted a cross back into the box where Jacob Peterson headed the ball on goal. Penedo again made the save, tipping it onto the cross bar, but the ball fell to Lawrence Olum who headed the ball into the net to make it 2-0 KC. The Galaxy continued to press, but the offside flag played a roll a number of times as Keane and Zardes both got called off on good opportunities. When Keane was onside, KC got help from the cross bar. A long ball saw Keane find space behind KC's defense, but he fired his effort into the cross bar and over. In the 79th though the Galaxy fond a way back into the game. A short corner by the Galaxy was partially cleared, but Husidic headed the ball back into the area, it was flicked on by Bradford Jamieson into the path of Keane who slotted a shot past Gruenebaum and into the net as Feilhaber attempted to clear it. Freeze frames of the play show that Keane was JUST in front of Feilhaber and offside, but in a situation like that it would have been quite difficult to catch that in real time. The Galaxy tried to find an equalizer, but Sporting had chances of their own, Collin had a chance off a corner but it was cleared out. Then in the 89th minute, Zusi picked out Dom Dwyer all alone in the box, but his header was right at Penedo. The Galaxy had the pressure late on but really didn't test Gruenebaum and KC extended their unbeaten run.

Wizards Man of the Match - Lawrence Olum - Did a good job of breaking up the Galaxy's midfield. Most of their most dangerous chances came from balls over the top that avoided KC's midfield entirely. He also picked up the game winning goal.

Player Ratings - Gruenebaum 6, Juliao 6, Collin 6, Besler 7, Sinovic 7, Olum 8, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 6, Saad 7, Dwyer 5, Dovale 5. Peterson 5, Sapong 5, Ellis NR.

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