Saturday, August 02, 2014

SKC Remain Unbeaten But Drop Points at Home

Sporting KC pushed their unbeaten run to eight games last night, but couldn't extend their four game winning streak, settling for a draw against the Philadelphia Union. Kansas City controlled the game, getting 70% possession, but the same old home problems cropped up, an inability to finish chances, and opponents getting one of theirs to go in. KC jumped to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings, but has played three more games than second place Seattle (1 point behind) and two more than third place DC (2 points behind), so both teams have chances to catch and pass KC.

KC came out and had the better of play at the start. It took a goal line clearance by Brian Carroll to deny Dom Dwyer his 15th goals of the season in the 11th minute. Off a Graham Zusi corner, Dwyer beat Zac MacMath to the ball and put his header on goal, but Caroll headed the ball off the line. KC continued to push the game, but really didn't create much in the way of chances. Zusi caught MacMath leaning the wrong way at one point, but fired his shot wide of the near post. The Union created some chances of their own. In the 41st minute off a free kick, Vicente Nogueira tested Andy Gruenebaum with a curling effort towards the back post. Gruenebaum though did well, palming the ball away. Just before half time Kansas City again should have taken the lead. After KC tried to build up an attack through the middle with the ball deflecting off players, the ball finally fell to Zusi who picked out Mikey Lopez who'd made a good run out of midfield. One on one with MacMath, Lopez though fired his shot right at MacMath who made a kick save. The Union counted the other direction and Gruenebaum was called upon to make a good save on Sheanon Williams who found space alone to the left side of Gruenebaum's box.

In the second half the Union continued to find chances on the counter. In just the 48th minute, Danny Cruz sprung Carroll on a break. On a one on one situation with Gruenebaum, Carroll tried to slot his ball into the corner, but Gruenebaum did a good job of getting low and pushing the ball away where a recovering Aurelein Collin cleared it for a throw in. In the 54th minute, Kansas City grabbed their lead. After some build up on the left, the ball was switched across the field towards Toni Dovale. The Union won the first ball, but Dovale collected the second ball and slid a ball into the box for Zusi who slotted his shot into the corner to make it 1-0. Seconds later KC almost doubled the lead. After collecting the ball on the left, Zusi played the ball up the field towards Dwyer. Dwyer controlled the ball before sliding a ball back to Zusi one on one with MacMath. Zusi though pushed this effort just wide of the far post. After the goal the Union picked up the attack and pushed the game on Kansas City. In the 71st they found an equalizer. After some quick movement up the field the ball was played out wide to Raymon Gaddis who played a cross into the middle for recent substitute, Brian Brown who headed the ball past Gruenebaum and into the goal leveling the game. On the play, Kevin Ellis looked to get caught leaning the wrong way, possibly thinking that Jorge Claros was going to get a touch on the cross, leaving Brown with plenty of space to put the header on goal. Sporting renewed their efforts to try to find a second goal. Igor Juliao played a nice ball into the middle that Dwyer tried to turn on goal but pushed over the goal. Dwyer though was offside on the play so even if he'd turned it on goal it would not have counted. KC continued to push late on, but could not find a second goal as both teams settled for a point.

Wizards Man of the Match - Andy Gruenebaum - Came up with a number of big saves to keep KC in the game. A few big ones too. Gruenebaum has filled in very well replacing Eric Kronberg and has started to bring back the Gruenebaum vs Kronberg argument from earlier in the season.

Honorable Mention - Graham Zusi

Player Ratings - Gruenebaum 8, Juliao 6, Collin 6, Ellis 5, Peterson 5, Claros 6, Lopez 5, Feilhaber 5, Zusi 6, Dwyer 5, Dovale 6. Subs Saad 5, Sapong 5, Steuble NR

No comments: