Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sporting Full Backs Beat Colorado, Rangers Get Late Draw

Both Sporting Kansas City and the Swope Park Rangers have continued their undefeated run in the Desert Diamond Cup as Sporting defeated the Colorado Rapids 4-1 while the Rangers got a goal in the 90th minute to get a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew.

The Rangers were the first of the field on the night, taking on the MLS Cup finalists, the Crew. The Rangers though held their own in the early going creating some chances of their own, but the Crew took the lead in the 35th minute when Federico Higuain put away a rebound after a save by Jon Kempin. The Rangers though quickly responded with Tomas Granitto finding the back of the net. The Rangers were able to keep the Crew's starting lineup at bay. 

In the second half the Crew retook the lead on a goal by Ethan Finlay. The Rangers had their chances to tie again, but it wasn't until second half stoppage time. Off a corner by Alex Molano, the ball ended up in the net. Original reports gave the goal to Oumar Ballo, but later was given to Mark Anthony Gonzalez. The Rangers will close out play at the Desert Diamond Cup against FC Tucson on Saturday.

After the Rangers were done, Sporting took the field against the Rapids, a team the Rangers had defeated 3-1 last week in the competition. The Rapids came out and were the stronger side to start the game, putting pressure one what would be considered Sporting's second team for the most part. On KC's first real push forward into the Rapids' end though Sporting won a penalty kick as Saad Abdul-Salaam was knocked over in the box by Dominique Badji. Paulo Nagamura stepped up and sent Zac MacMath the wrong way to put Sporting up 1-0 in the 16th minute. Only three minutes later, KC had won themselves a second penalty. This time it was on the opposite side of the box and KC's left back, Amadou Dia that was brought down, leading to another penalty. This time MacMath guessed right, but like Nagamura has regularly done in shootouts, he put the ball into the side netting putting KC up 2-0. Shortly after that the Rapids started to gain control back and pressure Alec Kann in the KC net. Kann though was up to the task making some fine saves. The first half wasn't all good news for KC though as defender Ike Opara went down with another injury in his own box. This time he was clutching his hamstring and had to be helped off the field and was immediately replaced. An unfortunate injury in a long string of unfortunate injuries for the defender.

KC started the second half the same way they finished it except for Benny Feilhaber entering the game for Kenny Cooper. Sporting was the stronger side as the second half rolled on. Just after the hour mark KC made more changes, bringing on what would be considered more of the first team lineup. Shortly after the changes, KC won their third penalty kick of the game as this time it was Chance Myers getting fouled in the box. Dom Dwyer stepped up this time and fired his penalty into the roof of the net to make it 3-0. Sporting wasn't done there, and neither were their full backs as four minutes after Dwyer's goal, Myers played a cross to the back post where Seth Sinovic was unmarked and he calmly one timed a shot back across the goal and just inside the far post to make it 4-0 Kansas City. Colorado was able to find themselves one goal as Dennis Castillo got around Sinovic and laid a ball back to Zach Pfeffer who slotted a ball inside Tim Melia's near post as he was shuffling back towards the middle of the goal. Sporting will close out the Desert Diamond Cup against Houston on Saturday, the first time Brad Davis will meet up against his former team.

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