Saturday, October 01, 2016

Defensive Marking Issues Plague KC in Loss to New England

Sporting Kansas City's playoff hopes took a bit of a hit tonight (at least for an hour or so until the Portland Timbers lost) as they fell 3-1 to the New England Revolution on the road. Sporting KC's defense had issues all night dealing with the New England attack that forced KC into a number of difficult positions. The largest contributor to that was former Kansas City forward, Kei Kamara who had a goal and an assist to help lead the Revolution to the win and keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Revolution struck quickly as in only the fourth minute Juan Agudelo helped Kei Kamara spring the offside trap as Agudelo played a ball behind the KC defense right as Kamara started a run. Replays showed that Saad Abdul-Salaam just barely held Kamara on, but with tons of space on KC's left side, Kamara had all the time in the world to dribble in on goal and beat Tim Mealia 1-1 to put the Revs up 1-0. KC pulled out a formation change themselves, playing more of a 3-5-2 to try to control the midfield and get player forward. The early goal changed the strategy a little bit, but SKC tried to make it work. Unfortunately the Revs continued to have the better of chances, with Melia having to come up with a big save on Kelyn Rowe to keep the game at a one goal deficit while still in the first half. The Revs continued to press but couldn't find a second goal. Late in the half KC had a golden chance to equalize as Paulo Nagamura picked out Dom Dwyer in the box, but Dwyer was hesitant to pull the trigger and allowed the Revolution defenders to recover and snuff out the chance as the teams went into half time with the Revolution up 1-0.

KC made a formation change at half time, bringing on the returning Graham Zusi, who paid almost immediate dividends for Kansas City. Zusi immediately created a corner kick for Kansas City with a chance on goal, and off the corner the ball eventually found Dom Dwyer who turned the ball in to tie the game at 1-1 less than four minutes into the second half. The Revolution though continued to cause problems for the Sporting KC back line throughout the second half and in the 74th, KC paid for it. Kamara again was able to beat Ike Opara one-v-one before playing in a cross. The cross made it all the way through the box to Lee Nguyen, who fired a shot near post on Melia, the shot deflected off the post, across goal, off Kevin Ellis and into the net to put the Revolution back on top 2-1. Minutes later the Revs made it 3-1 as Kamara didn't give up on a corner, beat Opara to a ball and crossed it into the box where Agudelo turned it in put the Revolution up 3-1 on the night. KC couldn't create enough going forward over the final 10 minutes and left part of their playoff chances back up to faith with the loss.

Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Unfortunately his defense left him out to dry on numerous occasions tonight, and he could only make so many saves to keep Sporting in the game.

Player Ratings - Melia 6, Medranda 6, Opara 2, Ellis 2, Abdul-Salaam 4, Coelho 2, Mustivar 3, Nagamura 3, Peterson 3, Dwyer 4, Feilhaber 4. Subs Zusi 5, Rubio NR.

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