Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sporting Up Performance But Still Fall on the Road

Sporting KC came out and played much better on the road tonight in Dallas than they had at home on Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids, but it wasn't enough as Sporting fell for the third time in four matches. KC scored first but couldn't make the lead hold up and couldn't find an equalizer late with a flurry of chances to fall 2-1.

Kansas City started the game off well as Kansas City almost too the lead in the 14th minute. A long ball over the top found Brad Davis, who got a nice deflection off of Ryan Hollingshead to keep it in his path. The touch carried the ball towards goal where Davis squared the ball to Dom Dwyer, but before he could get a shot off Zach Loyd made a great sliding tackle to knock the ball away and ending the chance. Dwyer had another opportunity minutes later off a free kick. Dwyer got on the end of it and pushed an effort towards goal, Chris Seitz made the save and the ball came back to Dwyer as he was falling over, Dwyer got the ball past Seitz towards the goal line but then the ball hit his arm, keeping the ball in front of him as he headed the ball across the line from his stomach. The play was called back due to the handball on Dwyer though. Throughout the first half a lot of Dallas' best efforts came through Fabian Castillo, mainly coming down the right side of KC's defense. He made Saad Abdul-Salaam and Nuno Coelho both look silly in the 20th minute when he cut between the two of them before knocking a ball across the face of goal that no one for Dallas got on the end of. Two minutes later, Kansas City grabbed the lead at the other end of a Benny Feilhaber corner. The ball went near post towards Coelho, but no one got a head or hand to it and the ball bounced towards the back post where Lawrence Olum had lost Hollingshead and was able to knock the ball into the net. After the goal Dallas really started to press the game on KC, but would have to wait until the 35th minute to find the equalizer as Sporting's defense made a number of mistakes to set it up. On a long ball by Kellyn Acosta, Matt Besler tried to step in front of Maximiliano Urruti to win the ball, half way into his step up realized he wasn't going to get there. Urruti then beat Amadou Dia to the ball and then touched the ball ahead to Michael Barrios. Barrios seemed to be offside when Urruti touched it, but no call was made. Barrios controlled the ball and then fired a shot from a tight angle that Tim Melia got plenty of hand/body on but couldn't keep it out as Dallas tied the game. Dallas really started to push the game after that and KC seemed desperate to get to half time, in the 40th minute they had another good chance as Castillo played Victor Ulloa through on goal, but Melia was quick off his line and blocked Ulloa's shot. Late on KC had one good chance as Dwyer was played in on goal but with just Seitz to beat, the KC striker fired his shot wide of the post as the teams went into the half level at 1-1.

Over half time KC seemed to get things settled with their defense and came out in the second half looking much better than they had defensively in the first. On the offensive end, KC should have taken the lead in the 60th when Dwyer played a nicely flicked pass into the path of Jimmy Medranda, but Seitz came up with a good save. Dallas went the other way quickly and Castillo forced a good save out of Melia at the other end. For the most part though that was Castillo's big contribution of the second half as Sporting were able to shut the Colombian down in the second half. Unfortunately a foul by Dia on Urruti at the top of the box gave Dallas a free kick in the 68th. Like the first Dallas goal it was a situation KC could have avoided with some better defensive clearing, but Mauro Rosales stepped up and curled the free kick over the wall and into the net to put Dallas on top 2-1. Over the final 20 minutes KC kept Dallas pinned in their own end for the majority of the play, but really couldn't create clear chances on goal that really tested Seitz in the Dallas goal. The best chances came in second half stoppage time. First off a Davis free kick from a similar position as Rosales, Davis curled his through the wall but Seitz was there to make a save. The ball got knocked back and another cross came towards substitute, Ike Opara, Seitz came way off his line for it, but missed leaving the goal wide open but Roger Espinoza's knock towards goal was cleared off the line by Dallas and eventually out for a corner. Off the corner another chance came to KC through Diego Rubio, but Rubio fired his shot from inside the box over the goal for KC's last decent chance of the game as Dallas walked out with all three points.

Wizards Man of the Match - Brad Davis - Was a constant headache for Dallas down KC's left side throughout the first half; so much so that Dallas brought on Atiba Harris at half time to try and deal with him better than Hollingshead did. Served in a number of dangerous free kicks and had forced a strong save from Seitz late on for Dallas to preserve the win.

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

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