Sunday, May 03, 2015

Melia Helps KC Secure All Three Points in His KC Debut

Before the game between Sporting KC and Chicago even kicked off there was some surprise regarding the game. Peter Vermes sat Luis Marin, who started the first eight games of the season in favor of back up Tim Melia. It was one of three changes that Vermes made from the draw in Houston, along with the forced change after Servndo Carrasco's suspension seeing Soni Mustivar start and the decision to not have Marcel de Jong in the 18 for the game seeing Seth Sinovic return to the starting 11.

Melia, making his first start since he was a member of Chivas USA was tested multiple times by the Fire in the first half. Early a cross drifted towards goal and Melia had to tip the ball away to keep it from going into the net. While KC controlled the possession early on, it was the Fire that created the better chances as Melia made a number of saves in the first half. Guly do Pardo forced another good save out of Melia as he pushed the ball wide on a shot from outside the box after do Pardo got some space on Mustivar. In the 18th minute, the Fire won a corner, Melia was able to punch the ball clear to the top of the box. The Fire picked up the rebound and it got cycled around to Chris Ritter who played a good cross to the back post for Eric Gehrig who put his header on goal, but Melia made the initial save and jumped on the rebound before Jeff Larentowicz. As the half wore on, KC started to make more of their possession and really should have taken the lead not once but twice. The first came from some fantastic work by Benny Feilhaber, who had been a threat all half. Losing his man inside the Fire box, Feilhaber was able to get a chip towards the middle of the six yard box for Dom Dwyer who had been Larentowicz, but with only Sean Johnson to beat, Dwyer put his header high and wide of the goal. Shortly after KC had another effort, this one off a set piece as Feilhaber played a nice ball into the back post for Kevin Ellis who got his head on it but couldn't direct the ball down enough to get it to go into the net. KC was able to find plenty of space to work between Chicago's back four and their defensive midfield pairing of Ritter and Matt Polster but couldn't take advantage of all that space.

The second half started with Kansas City continuing to control the play but unable to create really good chances. Krisztian Nemeth had a great chance after another great ball by Feilhaber, a little chip over the Chicago defense, but Nemeth couldn't control it. Sinovic forced a decent save out of Johnson in the 50th, but really should have done better after being payed in alone in to the box. Melia when he was called upon played well as well. Melia did well coming off his line when he needed to, quickly getting off his line to punch a ball away in the 59th minute after a chip by Harry Shipp. KC got lucky a little bit in the 62nd minute as Sinovic pulled back on the shirt of David Accam as he attempted to race away from the KC defender. Accam stopped and Sinovic let go and ran past him but referee Jose Carlos Rivero allowed play to continue and didn't come back and give Sinovic what would have been his second yellow.The two teams traded possession for much of the half with neither side really being able to capitalize on the possession. Finally in the 75th, KC found the back of the net. KC passed the ball around the back before working down the left into the middle where Graham Zusi switched he field entirely to Jalil Anibaba wide open on the right. Anibaba played the ball into the middle for substitute Paulo Nagamura who headed the ball into the far post past Johnson and into the net to make it 1-0 KC. Chicago tried to respond immediately with Accam getting a look on goal, but Melia again made the save. Chicago really struggled though to create chances after that though, and were put into an even bigger hole in the 89th minute when Accam was giving his marching orders for an arm to the face of Anibaba as he tried to hold off the KC right back. After a quick conversation with his fourth official, Rivero produced the red card sending the Chicago DP off. With a man advantage KC was able to kill the rest of the game off for their third win of the season.

Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Sporting's back up keeper came in for Luis Marin and made his claim to start a potential goalkeeping controversy. Melia was smart when coming off his line, did well to punch when he needed to and saved the shots he needed to save. Strong performance from the former Chivas goalkeeper in earning his first MLS win.

Honorable Mention: Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura

Player Ratings - Melia 7, Anibaba 5, Besler 6, Ellis 4, Sinovic 4, Mustivar 5, Espinoza 4, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 5, Dwyer 4, Nemeth 4. Subs Nagamura 7, Dia 5, Peterson NR.

1 comment:

Mat Meiers said...

spot on with the ratings