Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sporting Bow Out of the CCL

The result wasn't much of a surprise given the lineup that both Sporting Kansas City and the Vancouver Whitecaps put out on Tuesday night at Children's Mercy Park, but Sporting KC's elimination from the 2016-2017 CCL after a 2-1 loss to the Whitecaps still stung. It didn't help that the inevitable had to wait through a 120 minute weather delay due to weather passing through the Kansas City area, turning an announced crowd of 13,422 to maybe 1,500 by the end of the game.

Sporting actually started the game fairly brightly with a number of chances that went just wide or high of the goal from all three of their forwards, as Connor Hallisey hit a looping volley over the bar onto the top of the night, then Diego Rubio laced a shot just wide of the far post after some dancing on the ball near the corner of the box, then Cameron Porter flicked a low cross just wide of the near post as he raced in. Unfortunately KC couldn't get any of their early efforts on goal and the Whitecaps worked themselves into the game more forcing some saves out of Tim Melia before the game was delayed in the 35th minute. After the two hour delay the remaining 10 minutes of the first half were all the Whitecaps as they came out the stronger side and pressed Sporting. They were rewarded for the pressure in the 41st when Alphonso Davies worked a give and go with Nicolas Mezquida before playing a nice cross into the middle where Erik Hurtado had gotten in front of Tyler Pasher and he slid the ball into the net putting the Whitecaps on top.

Sporting came out much better after an abbreviated half time, which was sparked by the insertion of Kris Tyrpak for Cameron Porter. Tyrpak immediately brought a spark and created a few chances early on with his pace and beating Marcel de Jong on the dribble. Just minutes after coming on he worked a give and go with Paulo Nagamura, but scuffed his shot on the return pass. Sporting KC's equalizer came 10 minutes into the second half down their right side as Seth Sinovic got up field and laid a ball back to Rubio. The Chilean had a poor first touch, but regained control and eventually got himself an inch of space that allowed him to fired a shot that bounced off the inside of the far post and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. Vancouver came right back and almost found the net themselves as Fraser Aird got played in behind the KC defense, but one-on-one with Tim Melia, Melia made a save with his foot, then jumped up to collect the rebound, keeping the game tied. Both sides continued to create some chances, many of KC's coming through Trypak and Rubio, mainly down KC's right side. Vancouver got more of their chances coming through the 15 year old Davies, who gave Sporting KC all kinds of trouble wherever Davies ended up on the field. Late on it looked like KC would have to settle for a draw and elimination when Connor Hallisey made a nice run into the box, cutting past his defender before playing a low cross towards the back post, but goalkeeper Spencer Richey got down well and palmed the ball back towards Hallisey. The Sporting winger though had gotten tangled with a Vancouver player after crossing and didn't get back to his feet fast enough to collect the ball. Unfortunately things came a part for KC at the end of the game as they pushed for a winner on tired legs and got caught out. Davies got himself some space one-on-one with Ualefi and fired a shot that deflected off the Sporting KC defensive midfielder's back side, wrong footing Melia and the ball sailed into the net giving the Whitecaps the 2-1 lead and the win as minutes later the final whistle blew.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kris Tyrpak - The former Chivas USA man was a big spark for Sporting KC off the bench in his first game with the club on loan after impressing with the Swope Park Rangers in the USL this season. He showed an ability to beat guys on the dribble and showed pace that KC really hadn't gotten out of Porter in the first half.

Player Ratings - Melia 5, Pasher 5, Opara 4, Didic 4, Myers 3, Ualefi 4, Nagamura 5, Appiah 3, Porter 3, Rubio 5, Hallisey 4. Subs Sinovic 4, Tyrpak 5.

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