Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Streak is Broken

Sporting KC came out and looked bond and determined to end their seven game winless streak today when they welcomed Orlando City to Children's Mercy Park. Kansas City set a club record with 34 shots today but it wasn't until the final 16 minutes that they finally broke through and ended their scoreless streak. The spark also came from an unlikely source, substitute Jacob Peterson who had a goal an an assist as Kansas City won 2-1.

Kansas City looked to set the tone from the start and just three minutes in were denied by the post, after a good run from Jimmy Medranda down the line he squared it for Dom Dwyer whose dummy deflected back to Graham Zusi who curled a shot that hit off the cross bar. Orlando would find most of their luck going the other way on the counter, in the seventh Kaka played Brek Shea through on goal and he played the ball to the back post but it was wide of the post and too far in front of Cyle Larin to be put past Tim Melia. KC kept finding space on the wing when they went to the end line and squared the ball back across goal, but no one was making the secondary run into the box to finish the chances, or players missed their opportunities firing good chances high or wide of the goal. Dwyer thought he'd ended the scoreless streak in the 43rd minute on a turning shot that went in off the underside of the cross bar, but Dwyer was just offside on the play. Just before half time KC had another pair of chances from Dwyer and Zusi that were denied by goalkeeper Joe Bendik while Orlando's Darwin Ceren was on the ground.

The second half saw Kansas City continue to pin Orlando back and create the better of the chances. Off a corner in the 56th minute, Saad Abdul-Salaam put a header onto the post after the corner came all the way to the back post for him, off the rebound the ball eventually made to Dwyer who put a header on goal but Bendik made the save. KC continued to get efforts on goal and shots but Bendik made anything that was on goal keeping the game scoreless. It really began to feel like KC was never going to score and many fans started to dread the inevitable goal by Orlando against the run of play. That goal came in the 67th minute off an Orlando corner kick. Kaka played the ball to the back post where David Mateos headed the ball back to the middle of the goal for Larin. The ball though got knocked around and eventually was knocked by Matt Besler off of Medranda and into the net to put Orlando on top 1-0 and begin the questions of "is this happening again?"

KC came back the other way and almost responded immediately as a Zusi corner found Dwyer but his header was saved on the line by Rafael Ramos. In the 74th Kansas City finally broke through with Dwyer finally finding the net. Benny Feilhaber set up the play with a great scoop pass into the box for Peterson who headed the ball into the path of Dwyer, who with a hint of offside headed the ball past Bendik and into the net to tie the game. Four minutes later Kansas City grabbed the lead as Roger Espinoza played a fantastic ball from the corner of the box towards the six where Peterson met it with a diving header that beat Bendik to put KC on top. KC held off a late push by Orlando looking to find an equalizing goal and finally got themselves back into the win column.

Wizards Man of the Match - Roger Espinoza - Espinoza was all over the field today both offensively and defensively for Kansas City. He did really good at helping to contain Kaka on the defensive side of the ball and offensively provided the beautiful ball to the back post for Peterson on the winning goal.

Honorable Mention - Jacob Peterson

Player Ratings - Melia 6, Medranda 6, Coelho 6, Besler 6, Abdul-Salaam 7, Mustivar 6, Espinoza 8, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 5, Dwyer 5, Davis 5. Subs Peterson 8, Olum NR, Nagamura NR.

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