With 2014 coming to an end, here's a look at my 2014 moments of the year.
Game of the Year
3/16/2014 vs Baltimore Blast
Start here in the game.
Not going with a Sporting KC game this year for the game of the year. Instead that honor goes to the Missouri Comets and the mini-game, game three against the Baltimore Blast that clinched the MISL championship for the Comets. The game took place immediately after Game 2, which the Comets had lost 19-4, and were thoroughly dominated by the defending champion Blast. The 15 minute mini game featured some good defense by both teams. The Blast took the lead 2-0 with just over six and a half minutes to play. The Comets equalized almost a minute later from a bicycle kick from Lucas Rodriguez.
The final five minutes became a hectic scramble of goals. First the Blast retook the lead with a goal at the back post. Then with just over a minute and a half left, and Vahid Assadpour on as the sixth attacker, the Comets found an equalizer as Stefan St. Louis knocked home a Rodriguez cross at the back post to tie the game at 4-4. Then with under a minute left, The Comets found a winner. A long ball up the field to Leo Gibson was touched into the path of Brian Harris who had made a run up the boards. Gibson's touch to Harris was perfect and the defender was able to fire the ball into the far corner to give the Comets the 6-4 lead. They were able to kill the last 54 seconds and claim their first (and last) MISL title.
Goal of the Year
Grhaam Zusi vs Chicago Fire 10/10/14
We didn't see a lot of this this year from Zusi. Running at defenders and shooting from distance, but we got it here. Collecting a pass from Kevin Ellis, Zusi fires from distance into the far corner to give KC a 1-0 lead over the Chicago Fire.
Assist of the Year
Lauren Holiday vs Seattle Reign 8/31/14
A fantastic play to secure a title, Lauren Holiday set up Amy Rodriguez in the NWSL final against the Seattle Reign. Receiving the ball, Holiday proceeded to turn and race towards goal. Over the course of that 25 yard run, Holiday was able to turn her two markers a number of times before getting into the box and laying off a nice ball to Rodriguez who made no mistake, firing home to give FCKC a 2-0.
Single Game Performance of the Year
Oriol Rosell vs Montreal Impact 5/10/14
Probably Sporting KC's best game of the season, KC won 3-0 over the Impact, and really completely dominated them the entire game. And at the center of it all, was KC's Spanish midfielder, Rosell. Rosell didn't score any goals, in fact he only had 1 shot, which coincidently led to the team's first goal as Collen Warner kept the ball out of the goal with his hand. But it was his passing that did it. Behind Rosell, KC passed the Impact to death, completing 739 of their 803 passing attempts and holding possession for over 78% of the game, all of those are MLS records, with quite a bit of distance to second place. The 92% passing accuracy is the second highest in league history (all since Opta started tracking MLS stats in 2011). Rosell himself set records for passing attempts (166) and completed passes (160, 96.4% completion percentage) in a game. his 160 completed passes were only 13 less than the entire Montreal Impact had as a team on that day. A dominating performance by him even if it doesn't show in the stats.
Low Point of the Year
2-1 Loss to New York 9/6/2014
This moment is not for this loss itself, but for this loss and the three games before it as well. Over that stretch from August 23rd through September 6th, Sporting went 0-4, conceding 11 goals while scoring just 3. This stretch was what really saw KC fall from grace as the season really hit it's tailspin. The first two of those games, a 3-0 loss to DC and a 3-1 loss to Houston were both at Sporting Park and two of the worse performances the team has put in at the new stadium. The 3-0 loss to DC was the worst in team history at Sporting Park. KC then followed those two up by losing both games of a East Coast road trip, losing 3-1 in New England and then the 2-1 loss in New York. KC did come out a week after this and romp Chivas USA 4-0, but it ended up being false hope for the rest of the season.
Non-Sporting KC, KC player moment of the year
6/16/14 Graham Zusi vs Ghana
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first minute, the US had been holding onto that lead for dear life against Ghana in their opening match of the 2014 World Cup. In the 82nd minute though Ghana equalized. It was only four minutes later though when the US reestablished their lead. Zusi, a substitute for Alejandro Bedoya, played a corner in to substitute, John Brooks (who'd come on at half time for Matt Besler). Brooks powered his header into the net giving the US a 2-1 lead and eventual win over the team that had knocked them out of the prior two World Cups.
KC Soccer Player of the Year
The MISL finals MVP last year in the Comets victory over the Baltimore Blast, Harris has continued his superb form in the 2014-2015 season in the MASL. As the Comets have started the season 9-0, Harris has chipped in 15 goals and 6 assists for 21 points on the season. Many of those coming from big runs forward and blasts from long range.
Sporting KC Player of the Year
Setting the single season scoring record for the club is definitely a big deal, KC has never been a club that's been known to have one dedicated goal scorer. They haven't been a club that has scored a lot of goals really since the Ron Newman days. But Dwyer had a season that many won't forget soon. At the half way point of the year I was ready to give the award to Benny Feilhaber, but the second half of the season, with Oriol Rosell gone, Feilhaber was forced to drop deeper in the field to help distribute, and his contribution to the team fell from there.
FCKC Player of the Year
I'd said in my wishes for 2014 that I wanted Rodriguez to become the goal scorer the Blues needed to take the pressure off of Lauren Holiday, and she certainly did that, finishing second in the league in goals with 13. Rodriguez played herself back onto the national team after missing the 2013 season after giving birth. Now if only Jill Ellis would get her on the field more.