Sunday, March 06, 2016

Sporting Top Seattle in Season Opener

Sporting Kansas City opened the season with a win for the first time since 2013 thanks to a Nuno Coelho goal and a red card to Oniel Fisher. Kansas City took advantage of a first half red card by Fisher to alleviate the pressure on their back line that Seattle was putting them under for much of the first half and finally found the break through thanks to a long distance shot by Coelho that went under the arms of Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei and into the net.

Seattle came out on the front foot in the game, pinning Kansas City back in their own end allowing them very little going forward. In just the eighth minute the Sounders had the first good chance as Jordan Morris got played in on goal after Seattle did a good job of switching fields, but after dribbling into the box, Morris skied his effort over the bar. A few minutes later, Seattle won a free kick near the top of the box. Clint Dempsey stepped up and curled the ball over the wall and towards goal, but Tim Melia did well to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. On the ensuing corner, Chad Marshall beat his man and put his header off the cross bar. Melia was able to come up with the rebound off the bar and KC was finally able to clear their lines after two dangerous efforts from Seattle. KC's best chance of the first half came shortly after when Connor Hallisey got played in on goal on a cross field ball. Hallisey though looked to take his shot too quickly, firing first time when he probably had time to take a touch and it was easily handled by the goalkeeper.

Seattle was forcing a lot of the first half  play to go down KC's left side, through Hallisey and the second year man struggled at times against Seattle and against their right back, Fisher. That all changed in the 41st minute though. Hallisey caused a turnover near midfield and raced down the line to catch up to the ball. Him and Brad Evans both slid for the ball, but Hallisey is the one that was able to get back to his feet first and go back inside. Fisher came sliding in with both feet out, getting the ball, but also getting Hallisey. Referee, Alan Kelly did not hesitate, immediately going to his back pocket and producing the red card for the two footed tackle by Fisher.

The second half saw KC attempt to control possession with the man advantage, but it was Seattle that was able to create the best chance early in the half as in the 53rd minute Andreas Ivanschitz fired a shot from distance that Melia could only parry onto his cross bar. Nelson Valdez following the play tried for a bicycle kick but put his effort over the goal from inside the six, although he was offside on the play. KC started to come into the game more as the half progressed, Roger Espinoza had an effort saved as it was headed into the net by Evans in the 63rd. Two minutes later, Espinoza had another good chance as he moved around a couple defenders, but this time fired just wide of the post to keep the scores level. In the 73rd minute all the possession for KC finally paid off. After a long string of passes by KC, Jordi Quintilla played a simple square ball to Coelho who took a touch forward and fired a shot from about 30 yards out. Coelho's shot squeezed in underneath Frei on the wet surface and went into the far corner to put KC on top 1-0. Seattle had a few chances over the final 17 minutes but were unable to find the net as Sporting KC walked out of Seattle with only their second road win in the series, a series that has seen every win decided by a single goal by either team.

-Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Came up with big saves when Kansas City needed him to with superb saves on Dempsey and Ivanschitz. Controlled his box and controlled the back line giving them the shutout.

Honorable Mention - Nuno Coelho, Matt Besler

Player Ratings - Melia 8, Dia 5, Besler 6, Coleho 8, Myers 5, Mustivar 6, Espinoza 6, Quintilla 6, Hallisey 5, Dwyer 4, Zusi 5. Subs Medranda NR.

No comments: