Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sporting KC's Champions League Run on Life Support After Abysmal Loss to Vancouver

Sporting Kansas City's chances of advancing out of their group in the 2016-2017 Champions League took a major hit in Vancouver tonight as Sporting came out completely flat and could never recover as they fell 3-0 on the road to the Whitecaps. The loss drops Kansas City to third in the three team group with one point and a -3 goal difference through their first two games. Sporting's chances of advancing are now out of their hands as they'll need Central FC to go to Vancouver and get a win or a draw while KC wins their two home games for them to have a chance.

Things started out extremely ugly for Kansas City with the back line being exposed by the Whitecaps on multiple occasions. Just eight minutes in Vancouver grabbed the lead as Erik Hurtado got some space on Ever Alvarado on KC's left after a poor giveaway by Kevin Ellis off a restart. Hurtado played a lofted cross towards the back post where Cristian Techera was unmarked. Jon Kempin was slow to react to the lofted ball and couldn't get a  hand to it as it fell to Techera who headed into the net in front of Amer Didic who tried to get back on the line. Four minutes later Vancouver doubled their lead as Russell Teibert played a long ball over the top to Hurtado who beat Kempin to the ball, chipping the ball over the KC goalkeeper and into the net to double the lead at 2-0. With the 2-0 lead Vancouver was able to sit back and absorb the pressure from KC, Sporting was able to get plenty of possession, but most of it was well away from the goal for Sporting. With all the possession KC wasn't able to create much in the way of chances, unable to test Paolo Tornaghi in the first half. In fact while Vancouver sat back quite a bit it was Vancouver who created the better chances, with Jordan Smith testing Kempin twice in a couple seconds attempting to add a third goal.

Sporting started the second half off brightly with Connor Hallisey combining well with Diego Rubio to get KC's first shot on target, but he shot right at Tornaghi who made the easy save. Hallisey also had a penalty shout after being played in and tackled from behind by Matias Laba, but no call came for the second year man. KC continued to create half chances but didn't really test Tornaghi much. Then in the 64th minute the game was put on ice as Vancouver struck with a deadly counter after a corner kick. Laba played a great through ball right into the path of Techera who only had to beat Kempin one on one to make it 3-0 to the Whitecaps. The Whitecaps continued to look dangerous on the counter as the rest of the game went by while Sporting struggled to create chances with Vancouver able to choke out most of their chances before they even got to Tornaghi. The only positive for Kansas City in the end was that only one player that could see significant minutes Saturday played while Vermes rested the rest of the first team players he brought with him to Vancouver for the game.

Wizards Man of the Match - Connor Hallisey - I don't like going with no one, but I was close here. Hallisey gets it only because that 10-15 minute stretch to start the second half Hallisey looked confident and strong going forward. Unfortunately his finishing still lacked and KC couldn't find a goal.

Player Ratings - Kempin 3, Alvarado 3, Ellis 3, Didic 2, Abdul-Salaam 3, Mustivar 3, Nagamura 4, Appiah 3, Hallisey 4, Rubio 3, Porter 3. Subs Ualefi 3.

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