Saturday, August 08, 2015

Short Handed Sporting KC Take All Three Points in Toronto

Down Dom Dwyer and Roger Espinoza heading into this weekend's game against Toronto FC, KC was already undermanned, but things got worst during warm ups when Graham Zusi went down with a calf injury that required him to be pulled from the lineup. On top of being down three regular starters was the rest of the lineup featuring Jacob Peterson lined up at center forward and Jimmy Medranda playing at left back for KC.

So from the start today it seemed like KC was ready to concede a bit in their game against Toronto FC. But as the first half started it was almost anything but. KC came out and was the much more aggressive side from the start and created some dangerous chances in front of goal with Krisztian Nemeth, Connor Hallisey, and Paulo Nagamura all having chances within 10 seconds of each other in the first half. KC's two wingbacks, Medranda and Chance Myers also almost combined for an impressive goal as Medranda juggled the ball a few times before lofting a cross to the back post where Myers volleyed it first time but just wide of the far post. Then in the 20th minute, Kansas City was awarded a penalty kick. After Hallisey failed to control Benny Feilhaber's corner played to him at the top of the box, Medranda picked it up and lofted a cross into the box for Kevin Ellis who was grabbed slightly by a TFC defender and went down. Mark Geiger pointed to the spot and Feilhaber stepped up and coolly put the ball right down the middle as Joe Bendik dove to his left putting KC up 1-0. The lead though lasted less than a minute as from the kick off TFC attacked KC's goal and some great passing between Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, and Sebastian Giovinco carved KC's defense a part and was finished calmly by Bradley to level the game at 1-1. The score only remained level for seven minutes as KC regained the lead in the 29th minute off a free kick from Feilhaber. The MVP candidate drove the free kick towards the top of the box where Nemeth flicked the ball on with the back of his head towards goal. The ball looped over Bendik's head and he could only get a hand on it as it sailed into the net to give KC a 2-1 lead. KC continued to be the side that controlled the game for the rest of the first half but was unable to find another goal.

While KC dominated the first half with their high pressure and Jacob Peterson's pressure on the center backs, it was Toronto that was much more aggressive side. TFC though struggled to create clear chances on on goal, and when they did, Tim Melia was there to make the save. Their best opportunity came in the 80th minute of a corner kick as Eriq Zavaleta had a shot blocked and partially cleared to Jackson who curled a shot towards the far post but Melia came up with a good save to palm the ball away, the rebound fell to Ahmed Kantari, but Melia was quickly up from his first save and knocked the ball away from Kantari's feet for a second save in quick succession. The ball got knocked away to Giovinco who played another ball into the box for Jozy Altidore who found himself unmarked at the back post, but Altidore put his header wide of the far post with that entire side of the goal left begging. TFC kept pushing, but was unable to find a goal to level the game back up again, and they were made to pay for their wasteful chances in the 87th when KC hit on the counter. Feilhaber picked out substitute Saad Abdul-Salaam in the TFC half of the field, he played the ball to an on coming Amobi Okugo who continued the field switch to Peterson, sliding the ball into the box. Peterson took a touch and fired the ball into the far corner past Bendik to make it 3-1 to KC as they closed the door on TFC's comeback chance.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Ellis - The home grown center back did a fantastic job today shutting down Giovinco for most of the day today. His performance today against the Italian midfielder is likely to become a blue print for many teams going forward when they face off against Toronto.

Honorable Mention: Benny Feilhaber

Player Ratings: Melia 7, Myers 6, Ellis 8, Besler 7, Medranda 7, Mustivar 7, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 7, Hallisey 5, Peterson 6, Nemeth 6. Subs Okugo 6, Abdul-Salaam 6, Dia NR.

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