Thursday, May 21, 2015

Undermanned Sporting Quell the Revolution

Sporting KC came from a goal down, and then ran over the New England Revolution on their way to a 4-2 win over their Eastern Conference opponent last night at Sporting Park. While Sporting was undermanned for the game due to injury, New England opted to rest a number of starters ahead of a big game this weekend against DC.

New England actually came out as the more aggressive side, taking the game to KC from the opening whistle, Diego Fagundez had a header go off the post in just the third minute, but the Revolution midfielder was judged to have been offside. In the ninth minute, Fagundez had another good chance as he found himself with space running down the middle and latched onto a cross from London Woodberry, but his one timer was wide of Tim Melia's post. The early pressured paid off in the 11th minute when Benny Feilhaber gave the ball away at midfield while trying to thread a pass through. Kelyn Rowe intercepted the pass and immediately played a through ball for Juan Agudelo who got behind Kevin Ellis. Agudelo raced to the top of the box, cut past a sliding Ellis and got a shot off right as Matt Besler challenged him that beat Melia and gave the Revolution the deserved early lead. KC really should have been level in the 18th minute after Besler played Jacob Peterson in with a nice ball over the top. Peterson had Revolution goalkeeper, Brad Knighton come and challenge him, leaving the goal wide open as Peterson played the ball back to an on coming Feilhaber. Instead of shooting, Feilhaber touched the ball off to Dom Dwyer who had his effort blocked, a big missed early chance for KC to tie things up. KC thought they should have had a penalty in the 27th as Paulo Nagamura tried to get onto a loose ball in the box, getting knocked away by Revolution midfielder, Scott Caldwell, but referee Allen Chapman made no call and play continued. A couple minutes later though KC was finally level. Some good possession down the right eventually found the ball at the feet of Krisztian Nemeth near the corner of the box. Nemeth played a nice little chip into the middle of the box for Dwyer who was marked by Jermaine Jones. The American international missed on the header as Dwyer popped the ball up with his chest, turned and fired the ball into the opposite corner to tie the game at 1-1.

With the goal KC continued to press forward, controlling much of the game as they kept the Revolution pinned back in their end. In the 39th KC grabbed the lead off a free kick, as Feilhaber curled a ball right into the box where Nemeth was completely unmarked and his flick header beat Knighton to make it 2-1 KC. Three minutes later, KC won a chance to make it three as they were awarded a penalty kick. Dwyer had run onto a long ball played into the box with Revolution defender, Jose Goncalves on his back, Dwyer reaches the ball, first and cuts it back attempting to get Goncalves to run past him. The Revolution defender pulls back on his shoulder as he does, but Dwyer stays on his feet and dribbles away from goal a bit. As the "advantage" on the play is lost, Chapman calls the play back and gave the penalty for the shoulder tug on Goncalves. Feilhaber stepped up and buried the penalty kick to make it 3-1 ahead of the half time break.

As the second half started KC quickly won the ball off the Revolution and Feilhaber played a ball over the top for Jacob Peterson who raced down the wing, knocking Kevin Alston off the ball and immediately squaring it to an open Nemeth who slotted the ball into the corner to make it 4-1 KC less than 30 seconds into the second half. KC kept working and almost got a fifth in the 55th minute after a quick throw from Nemeth found Feilhaber who dribbled the ball into the box and laid it back for Peterson, but his shot went just wide of the near post. The Revolution got themselves a life line in the 64th minute after a good ball down KC's left side, Charlie Davies played the ball back towards the penalty spot for an unmarked Caldwell who beat Melia and made it 4-2 in KC's favor. No one in the midfield had tracked the run of Caldwell who had plenty of time to get his head up and put the ball away.

With the goal the Revolution started to take momentum back as they won a number of free kicks and corner kicks deep in KC's end. Many of them didn't test Melia in goal, but they gave the Revolution a number of good looks at goal that KC has to avoid. They've given away way too many set pieces and way too many goals from set pieces this year. The Revolution's best of their free kicks came in the 82nd when substitute Chris Tierney curled a free kick that bounced right in front of Melia who had to get down and push it away and out for a corner. KC was able to create a couple chances on the counter, the best coming in the 84th when Nemeth picked out an open Connor Hallisey as he raced down the right side. Getting into the box though Hallisey just couldn't beat Knighton who knocked the ball out for a corner. The goal wasn't needed though as KC was able to cruise to the 4-2 win.

Wizards Man of the Match - Krisztian Nemeth
- Two goals and an assist for the Hungarian, a good night at the office, was all over the place, and should have had another assist on the Hallisey chance late on.

Honorable Mention - Benny Feilhaber

Player Ratings - Melia 5, Dia 5, Besler 5, Ellis 5, Anibaba 5, Mustivar 6, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 8, Peterson 7, Dwyer 7, Nemeth 8. Subs Hallisey 5, Carrasco NR, Abdul-Salaam NR.

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