Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sporting's Playoff Possibilities Slimmed

The post season possibilities just got smaller for Sporting Kansas City after tonight's game against the Philadelphia Union. With the 2-1 loss by Kansas City, KC can no longer finish in first or second in the East. The best that Kansas City can do now is to finish in third place. Depending on results tomorrow and next week, KC could still finish as low as fifth place.

The first half of the game, for the most part lacked in the way of serious chances for either side. But both sides had some half chances. In the 16th minute, KC had a good opportunity as Dom Dwyer got played in wide behind Philadelphia's defense. Dwyer beat Zac MacMath to the ball and crossed a ball into the middle, but there was no Kansas City player in the middle of the box to turn the cross home. The Union on the other hand, found their best opportunities on the counter, attacking KC's back line with pace. In the 29th minute they almost took advantage. Andrew Wenger beat Igor Juliao to a loose ball and raced into the KC half of the field. Wenger got defenders to commit before squaring the ball into the middle for Cristian Maidana who had Eric Kronberg 1v1. Maidana fired the ball right at Kronberg though who covered the ball and kept it scoreless. Just before half time another counter by the Union led to the games first goal. Lawrence Olum was caught in possession on a KC attack and the Union countered the other way. The ball got played wide for Vincent Nogueira who dribbled into the middle before laying the ball off to Brian Brown. Brown played the ball wide for Maidana. Maidana played the ball back into the midle where Brown had lost his mark and easily put the ball into the back of the net giving the Union the lead as the teams headed into half time.

The second half saw the Union start out looking for a second, but unable to convert as Noguiera curled a shot just wide of Kronberg's far post. The early miss proved costly for Philadelphia as shortly after, Soony Saad received a ball neither the top of the box with space. Saad dribbled into the box and tried to round MacMath but was brought down in the box. Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot immediately, giving KC a penalty kick. Dwyer stepped up and sent MacMath the wrong way for his 22nd of the season and 23rd in all competitions as KC was level. With the game level though KC couldn't really take advantage, really failing to create much in the way of chances against the Philadelphia back line. And in the 71st minute, KC paid for the lack of chances and Sheanon Williams picked out Maidana with a nice diagonal ball into the box. As Aurelien Collin went to pressure Maidana slide the ball into the middle for substitute Pedro Ribeiro who was completely unmarked. The forward had he time to take a touch before pushing his shot past Kronberg and into the net to make it 2-1 Union. KC again went searching for an equalizer but the chances weren't materializing. In the 88th KC had their best chance to find another equalizer as Jacob Peterson who was playing center forward was played into the box behind the Union defense. Peterson got some space and squared the ball back to the top of the six for Paulo Nagamura who had made a run into the box. Nagamura though put his effort from six yards out over the bar. KC couldn't create anything in the way of chances the rest of the way as Sporting suffered a big defeat this late in the season, their second of the year against the Union as KC ended with just one point out of a possible nine this year against Philadelphia.

Wizards Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - Recorded four saves for Sporting KC in his return to the starting 11 with the injury to Andy Gruenebaum. Not much that Kronberg could have done with either of the goals as he was hung out to dry by his defense.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 6, Juliao 4, Collin 3, Ellis 4, Sinovic 4, Olum 3, Nagamura 5, Feilhaber 4, Zizzo 3, Dwyer 5, Saad 4. Subs Peterson 4, Medranda 4, Dovale NR.

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