Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sporting Draw at Home Again, Playoff Chances Take a Dive

Yesterday's results around MLS didn't going Sporting Kansas City's way, Portland jumped ahead of Kansas City thanks to a win over Philadelphia while Seattle closed the gap with Sporting KC to just four points with a win over Vancouver. The pair of results put KC in a dangerous situation heading into today's game against the LA Galaxy, a game where Kansas City really needed to win to give themselves some breathing room above the red line and making the playoffs. Unfortunately on the field Sunday Sporting KC put on a typical Sporting KC performance where they dominated in terms of shots, but couldn't put many of those opportunities on goal and had to settle for a 2-2 draw with the Galaxy. The result now sees Sporting KC start a three game road trip, probably needing to pick up a couple wins in those three games to keep in the race for a playoff spot.

Sporting KC came out with some early control of play with Jacob Peterson putting a header just over from about six yards out that showed KC's early intent to really push the game against the Galaxy. Unfortunately it was the Galaxy that struck first early as in just the seventh minute, Emmanuel Boateng got the ball out wide and crossed a ball into the box where Alan Gordon had gotten some separation from Matt Besler and beat Tim Melia with a header to put the Galaxy up 1-0 very early.

After the goal the rest of the half turned into Sporting KC trying to find an equalizer. They created a number of opportunities but either by missing the target or by sliding challenges by LA defenders, KC didn't get a shot on goal until late in the half. The pressure was firmly on both teams as they went into the half time break. It was on KC as the club desperately needed to find a goal to get themselves back into the game, while LA was under all the pressure on the field, having to consistently deal with the Sporting KC attack coming at them, or controlling the ball in their end of the field.

KC found their way back into the game early in the second half though as Dom Dwyer made his way out wide after collecting a ball and crossed into the middle for Jacob Peterson who had about his fourth or fifth chance of the game with his head. Peterson finished this opportunity and leveled the game at 1-1 in only the 50th minute, giving Kansas City plenty of time to find themselves a second goal. The second goal in the 69th minute for Kansas City off a quick restart as Benny Feilhaber smartly put the ball down and played it to Saad Abdul-Salaam who was racing up the wing. Abdul-Salaam crossed it into the middle for Dwyer who knocked the ball into the net to put KC on top 2-1, a heads up play by Feilhaber to catch the Galaxy slack in the back as they slowly backed up for the free kick.

The Galaxy then had to chase the game, and did so by inserting the league's all time leading scorer, Landon Donovan. Donovan had an immediate impact, equalizing just two minutes after coming on, he worked a give-and-go with Robbie Rogers down KC's left, and ran away from Soni Mustivar who seemed to slow down. Receiving the pass back from Rogers Donovan slotted the ball into the far corner on Melia like he had never missed a game and the game was tied 2-2. Kansas City picked the pressure back up after the goal but were unable to find a third and had to settle for the 2-2 draw that sees them only increase their lead on the Sounders to five points while the Sounders have two games in hand.

Wizards Man of the Match - Dom Dwyer - A goal and an assist for the new dad in the game, he set up Peterson with a great cross and read the quick restart that Feilhaber played very well to beat his man. On the down side, he had six shots but only put one of those six on goal.

Player Ratings - Melia 4, Medranda 4, Besler 4, Ellis 4, Abdul-Salaam 5, Mustivar 3, Espinoza 4, Feilhaber 5, Peterson 5, Dwyer 6, Davis 4. Subs Rubio 3, Coelho NR.

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