Sunday, April 24, 2016

Referee No Call Takes Center Stage in KC Loss to San Jose

Sporting Kansas City fell for the fourth time in the last five games and now have a .500 record after falling 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes in San Jose. The loss is the 16th straight winless trip Kansas City has made to San Jose since the year 2000, this time it was a Chris Wondolowski goal that was the only difference in the game, but it certainly wasn't the only talking point as a seemingly clear penalty kick was missed at the opposite end of the field minutes before Wondolowski's goal from the spot.

Kansas City came out from the gate very hard with some high pressure that caused the Earthquakes all kinds of trouble. Giveaways in their defensive third led to a number of good chances for Kansas City with Benny Feilhaber forcing a good save from David Bingham on a chip early on. Later in the half Dom Dwyer had a golden chance to put KC on top as Feilhaber lofted a ball into the box for him, Dwyer made good connection with a header but Bingham got a hand to it and was able to touch it around the post and out of play. KC certainly looked like the better side, but the high pressure left KC open on the counter and a poor play by Matt Besler almost cost them as a giveaway led to a three on one situation with Nuno Coelho, but the Portuguese defender did a good job of breaking up the play as the Quakes tried to square the ball to an open player. KC's defense at times struggled with the Quakes as a ball played back across the box was allowed to just slowly roll through while KC defenders seemed to watch. Luckily the shot ended up deflecting wide of KC's post.

KC continued the pressure in the early going of the second half and was able to continue to find success going forward except for that final ball, and then the controversy started in the 55th minute. Dom Dwyer got played in behind the San Jose defense as he played right on the shoulder of Victor Bernardez. As Dwyer made it into the box baring down on Bingham, Dwyer had his ankle/calf caught bringing him down, but referee Jair Marrufo and his assistant Philippe Briere didn't seem to even look twice at it as Dwyer threw his hands in the air wondering where the call was. The non-call seemed to go to Kansas City's head as from there the Earthquakes started to get more of the game and then in the 57th minute won a penalty kick of their own. After Besler had done a good job of knocking the ball away from Wondolowski, Simon Dawkins collected the ball inside the box. Tim Melia came off his line and brought Dawkins down as Dawkins attempted to round Melia. This time Marrufo correctly pointed to the spot and Wondolowski stepped up and buried the penalty to put the Earthquakes in front.

Now down a goal KC pushed forward looking to find an equalizer. KC was able to hold the Earthquakes in deep but struggled to create clear chances as the Earthquakes crowded the box and area in front of goal. KC's best chance late on fell to Brad Davis on a set piece but his effort went just over the bar. KC falls to 4-4 on the season and now heads to Vancouver for a midweek game against a Whitecaps side that has found some scoring since the two teams last met.

Wizards Man of the Match - Nuno Coelho - Bailed out Besler big time in the first half with some smart defensive play. Overall he did a very good job of maintaining position on his mark and keeping them from getting clear looks on goal.

Player Ratings -
Melia 5, Dia 4, Coelho 7, Besler 5, Abdul-Salaam 5, Olum 5, Espinoza 5, Feilhaber 6, Davis 4, Dwyer 5, Zusi 4. Subs Opara 5, Rubio NR.

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