Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sporting Can't Hold Lead, Fall Late

Sporting's rough week kept going last night in Columbus as Sporting KC fell for the second time in a row for the first time this season, twice giving up a lead to the Crew before giving up a late winner. Another potential issue that came out of the loss is the fact that in a little over a week, KC has allowed 11 goals, KC's defense is starting to leak a lot of goals.

KC started off the game well enough, putting the Crew on their back foot pressing. The pressure paid off in the 14th minute as KC was able to get on the board first. A long ball by Kevin Ellis was headed into the path of Saad Abdul-Salaam by Dom Dwyer. Abdul-Salaam dribbled into the box and played a ball across the box for Marcel de Jong who fired a shot into the roof of the net to give KC a 1-0 lead. KC kept up pressure and the Crew were finding their best opportunities in the first half on the counter. One of those counters led to the Crew's opener as well. Tony Tchani started the play after a KC turn over in midfield. Tchani played the ball wide to Crew right back, Harrison Afful who quickly touched the ball past Jimmy Medranda and raced down the field. Afful crossed it to the top of the box for Federico Higuain who one timed a shot that beat Tim Melia but hit off the cross bar. The ball stayed in play and Kei Kamara tried to win a header over Abdul-Salaam, but they both missed, Kamara though recovered the loose ball and played it across the face of goal where Ethan Finlay chested the ball into the net. As shown on the replay though the goal should have been waived off as when Higuain took his initial shot that went off the bar, Kamara was in an offside position. No call was made though and the Crew were level as the two teams headed into half time.

The second half saw the Crew be the more dominate side as they looked for a second goal. Kamara forced a good save out of Melia in the 62nd with a bouncing shot that Melia had to tip over the bar. Less than a minute later though, against the run of play, KC jumped back on top. Off the corner kick, KC was able to get it clear and play Graham Zusi through on a counter. Zusi raced down the field and into the Crew box where he cut back on Michael Parkhurst and curled a shot into the far corner out of the reach of Steven Clark to make it 2-1 KC. The Crew continued to pressure looking to find a second equalizer, but it wasn't until the 80th minute that they broke through. Off a Higuain free kick, the ball was flicked on by Tyson Wahl to the back post where Tchani met it and knocked it past Melia and into the net to level the game for a second time. The Crew completed the come back and took all three points in the 88th minute. A long ball over the top found Higuain unmarked making a run into the box. Higuain fired a shot on goal that Melia did well to save the shot but the ball went right into the path of Jack McInerney who was unmarked in the box. With the goal open, McInerney knocked the ball in to make it 3-2 to the Crew. KC tried to find a late equalizer of their own, but they were unable to as the Crew walked out with all three points.

Wizards Man of the Match - Graham Zusi - In his first start since his return from injury Zusi caused a number of problems for the Crew coming out of midfield. And his goal is arguably the goal of the week this week, just a touch of class. Hopefully this is a turning point for him in what has been a less than successful season for him considering his prior seasons.

Player Ratings - Melia 4, Abdul-Salaam 4, Ellis 4, Besler 5, Medranda 4, Lopez 5, Nagamura 5, Zusi 6, de Jong 5, Dwyer 4, Peterson 4. Subs Dia 4, Myers 4, Nemeth NR.

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