Sporting Kansas City fell to D.C. United in a steep 1-0 loss on a rainy afternoon at Audi Field on Sunday night.
The injury list continues to grow with Graham Zusi now joining the ranks due to an oblique injury. Although both veterans (Matt Besler and Zusi) were listed as questionable, neither one appeared in the eighteen – giving Ilie Sanchez the opportunity to wear the captain’s band for the first time. The match also marked Seth Sinovic‘s 200th career MLS start. As well, introduced an old friend back to the lineup, Benny Feilhaber.
English captain Wayne Rooney was the first to test Tim Melia in the 14th minute – when he fired a strike from 25 yards out. Fortunately, the 31-year-old keeper made a full-stretch save to punch the ball away from the danger. Melia would go on to make a total of three saves.
Given ten players were out due to injury and only four players, including the goalkeeper, available on the bench, Sporting KC did well to hold the host scoreless into the second half.
Paul Arriola would finally break the goalless drought in the 78th minute when Wayne Rooney passed a perfect ball to Arriola, who then tucked it in the net by mere inches.
The goal gave the visitors an energy boost as they went on to create two solid opportunities in the final twelve minutes. But it wouldn’t be enough. Krisztian Nemeth instantly received a chance to equalize when he jumped on a giveaway and carried the ball toward goal, but his near-post shot goes wide.
A final chance at redemption saw late-half substitute Kelyn Rowe curl in a ball into a crowded box to find Graham Smith, but his header goes wide ending the match in a 1-0 loss.
Sporting KC’s winless skid continues. Now the club will have a three-game stretch at home, so hopefully, they can pick up some points at CMP before heading on the road for four-straight matches. First up, the club will host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, May 18.
MLS is back. Finally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching soccer since the MLS season ended. However, I am very happy to have my home team back on the pitch. Down to ten men in the first half while playing in what was the coldest game in MLS history, the Colorado Rapids put on an incredible show for us.
When we last left, our local heroes were two places out of being labeled the worst in 2018, but only by a three point margin. There was a good deal of shuffling in the off-season that saw some old favorites head elsewhere, but saw some potentially new favorites move in.
Fast forward to Saturday. It was cold. Weather reports were saying that anywhere from four to eight inches of snow would fall by the time the game was over. The wind was rough, and it didn’t seem to matter that I had layered. The cold cut straight through me.
The Rapids set up a 4-4-2 diamond formation with two of our off-season acquisitions, Kei Kamara, and Diego Rubio, at the top. The Rapids took the lead in the fifteenth minute after Kamara put a beautiful pass by Kellyn Acosta into the back of the net. The game moved quickly and the Rapids showed marked improvement over last year’s performances.
However, what became most evident was that while the Rapids had improved over the off-season, the refs had not. The best example of this was the red card in the first half that saw Axel Sjöberg off the pitch and the Rapids down to ten men. I am among those that think the ref got this one wrong.
There was definitely a hand ball, I have no argument there, but to decide it was an intentional handball and send him off was incorrect. Sjöberg slipped and his hands were out when he went down. Does he get a card? Yes. According to IFAB, the International Football Association Board, handballs get carded.
At most, he should’ve gotten a yellow. The ref awarded a penalty kick that Tim Howard saved, but Diego Valeri equalized off of the rebound.
Colorado was forced to make a change here in order to accommodate for the missing body on the back line and they exchanged Rubio for Danny Wilson. The Portland Timbers got the go-ahead goal off of a Diego Valeri corner kick in stoppage time during the first half. While Sebastian Blanco got credit for the goal, it almost looks like the ball took a weird bounce off of the pitch and went in.
When they came back from half-time, the field was a mess. Leaf blowers and snow shovels were brought out to clear the lines. The snow was driving into our faces and it stung. The ball took weird hops and the players had to work to adjust to the different ball movement than what they were expecting. There were a couple times in the first half where I was reminded of when the NHL added colored streaks to the puck in their telecasts because of how the snow kicked up behind the ball and gave it a bit of a tail.
The Rapids had a hard time keeping the Timbers out of their end throughout the second half. The stats show that by all intents and purposes, Portland should have won this. Their pass accuracy was higher, they had more possession, and a greater amount of shots on goal. However, Colorado fought harder. There were more than a few times where I forgot that we were down to ten men because of how hard they were working.
Benny Feilhaber scored quickly in the second half to bring the score even, but just twenty minutes later – Deklan Wynne put in an own goal to put Portland back ahead. Colorado made their last substitution in the 76th minute and brought in 5th pick overall, Andre Shinyashiki for Acosta. This turned out to be a great decision because he scored the late equalizer that gave Rapids a point and continued their streak of not losing the home opener.
His positioning was perfect on that last goal and he was ready to take the rebound from Dillon Serna’s shot. Shinyashiki showed some great promise, but also showed his rookie side. (I found myself hollering “GET ONSIDE!” more than once at him.)
In all, the game left me excited for the upcoming season. Yes, it was only one game, but the Rapids did not give up and they showed a physicality that we did not see last season. Like I mentioned earlier, the stats available show that the Rapids should have lost this game. This is when a tie feels like a win though.
The Rapids will face off against the Seattle Saunders on Saturday, March 9 at CenturyLink in Washington.
16’ – GOAL: Kei Kamara (Rapids 1 – 0 Timbers)
18’ – CARD: Diego Chara (Portland, Yellow)
27’ – CARD: Axel Sjöberg (Colorado, Red)
29’ – GOAL: Diego Valeri (Rapids 1 – 1 Timbers)
30’ – SUBSTITUTION: Danny Wilson in for Diego Rubio (1/3 for Colorado)
32’ – CARD: Julio Cascante (Portland, Yellow)
40’ – SUBSTITUTION: Jack Price in for Cole Bassett (2/3 for Colorado)
45’+1 – GOAL: Sebastian Blanco (Rapids 1 – 2 Timbers)
Los Angeles Football Club‘s 13-game unbeaten streak at home finally came to an end, as they fell to Sporting Kansas City, in a dramatic 2-0 loss on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. The match proved to be an emotional match, as it reunited some familiar faces with Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing playing against their former team. And I’m sure emotions were high as Feilhaber took over the captain’s role for the night.
Bob Bradley made many changes to the lineup after his team went 120 minutes on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup, and it showed. Andre Horta, Danilo Silva and Luis Lopez all had their first starts for the club, with the entire backline subbed out from the last game.
The first ten minutes both sides go back and forth, putting Tim Melia and Lopez – who made his first appearance tonight – into action early. Sporting KC came close to opening the scoring sheet when Gerso shot down the middle – but it went straight into Lopez’s arms.
Though, luck would ultimately run out when the black-and-gold gave Sporting KC their first goal of the night. Diego Rubio sent a pass around the corner straight through the defense to Gerso Fernandes, who hit a quick strike to the far post giving Sporting KC the lead in the 17th minute.
The home side watched as the visitors doubled their lead when Dejan Jakovic was called for a penalty after kicking Felipe Gutierrez in the head on a challenge in the 66th minute. Dejan Jakovic was called for a penalty after kicking Felipe Gutierrez in the head on a challenge. Although it didn’t look intentional, VAR confirmed the ruling and awarded Sporting KC the penalty. Ilie stepped up and converted the penalty increasing Sporting KC’s score 2-0.
Now trailing by two, Bradley didn’t hesitate to bring out the big guns as he substituted in Carlos Vela, Christian Ramirez, and Blessing. LAFC came close to finding a glimpse of hope as Horta nearly set up a goal, but his redirect pass across was narrowly missed by Ramirez’s diving header attempt, but alas, it trickled wide.
During the final minutes, LAFC was pressuring Sporting KC’s defense with Feilhaber and Blessing attempting to up one on their former team. However, despite their effort, Melia ensured the hosts couldn’t break through and delivered LAFC’s third-straight loss of the week.
Unfortunately, LAFC will not have much to reflect on this loss, as they quickly turn around to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, August 15.
Oh hey everyone! I’m back! I apologize for my hiatus. School was kicking my butt, but I’m done with the grading and the tests and the papers!
Sporting KC played three games in eight days! RSL, NYRB, and MNU. It was crazy! Luckily the first two games in the stretch were at home, because SKC has been straight fire at home since the home opener (and we do not speak of those: See a few articles ago).
Sporting started off the run on Saturday, April 29th at Children’s Mercy Park to take on one of our big rivals, Real Salt Lake. I’m not going to lie…I don’t like RSL, and it’s all Kyle Beckerman‘s fault. When I mentioned players I didn’t like I completely forgot Kyle Beckerman. Beckerman is the worst, but he didn’t play…so I’ll move on.
So I don’t know how many of you have been to Kansas City in April, but it tends to be rainy. It does not tend to be this freaking cold! This is not Toronto, it should not be freezing! We were all worried that the game would be delayed due to weather because it had been storming off and on all day, but luck was on our side and the game went off without a hitch. Also, the Cauldron‘s tifo went…up with just a tiny hitch, but it was fine.
RSL was coming in with new head coach Mike Petke (whom Ambrosia is very excited about), but unfortunately for Petke RSL has been plagued with injuries. This includes his two USMNT mainstays goalkeeper Nick Rimando, and the aforementioned Kyle Beckerman. Petke had spent some time during the week saying that RSL didn’t need any “bulletin board fodder” to pump his team up for SKC. A slight dig at Sporting perhaps?
Some of our guys (Dom…Benny) do like to get a little chippy. I like it to call it friendly banter… With how the scoreline ended up though maybe RSL could have used something more to pump them up. Benny Feilhaber got the scoring started in the 17th minute off a pass from Graham Zusi that led to a strike from just outside the penalty area. *Sidenote: I love when Benny scores. Not just because we get a goal, but our head broadcaster, Nate Bukaty, always yells FEILHABER really loudly and I think it’s the best thing.
There were some scares for SKC in between 20-30 minutes. Mulholland hit a shot wide, and then Plata had a ball bounce off his back and into the net. He was blatantly offside so it didn’t matter, but it was scary nonetheless. We also got to see some great shots from Gerso in the first half. Neither of them connected, but they showed the power he can get from about 20 yards out. In the 50th minute, Matt Besler fed a long ball up to Dom Dwyer who juked a defender and put the ball in the back of the net. After his goal Dom ran over to celebrate his first right-footed goal of the season with head trainer Kenny Ishii who helped him rehab after his ankle surgery in the offseason. The game ended on a garbage time goal by Gerso, and Blue Hell was sufficiently given.
Sporting’s next game was on the Wednesday immediately following the RSL game. SKC took on the Fighting Energy Drinks from New York. This game was a good bit warmer, and way drier than the last game.
Please note the lack of raincoats and the regular attire.
The first half of this game was a little worrisome, but mostly almost exciting. There were shots that were so close! But the proverbial cigar…no dice. Supposedly over the half time break Dom was telling his teammates that he was going to score a goal, and boy did he deliver. He didn’t waste any time with a follow up on a shot by Benny from point-blank range in the 46th minute.
Benny had another great run about 15 minutes later that was deflected by Robles at the last second. It was pretty fun to watch actually. If you’ve ever played FIFA or watched someone play FIFA then you’d know about how when your player is making a solo run the camera blurs and all you can focus on is that one player. Maybe…or not. But it was totally like that. Take my word for it. Dom scored again in the 68th minute with a ball that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. T’was lit, my dudes!
I have to do a quick shout out to the defense by the way. Zusi, Bes, Ike, Seth, and I’m throwing in Ilie are really killing it. In the game against New York Red Bulls they were on complete lockdown! It was like a clinic watching them out there. Note to any and everyone…don’t change the backline. Things happen that we don’t want to happen (See below…or just ignore because hopefully it will never happen again.) Oh, and Tim Melia is the best goalkeeper in the land. The Cauldron chanted it, so it must be true! @DaynaOG also agreed with my sentiment of how Tim is the hero this country needs. ‘Nuff said.
With the win on May 3rd Sporting was on the top of the table with 18 points! Then…
Sporting played a game last Sunday…and some stuff happened…and that’s about it.
Now we’re tied…not really…but we have the same amount of points as FC Dallas. Dang goal differential.
Mo Johnston is this year’s honoree for the Sporting Legends Hall of Honor! Johnston played for the Wizards from 1996-2001, scored 32 goals, and had 31 assists in his 170 caps.
Three points? A goal by Benny Feilhaber? A nutmeg goal by Soony Saad? I’ll take one of each, please!
Saturday’s game versus the San Jose Quakes at Children’s Mercy Park started off much like the rest of the season so far. Sporting Kansas City was creating, but not capitalizing, and Tim Melia was staying strong in goal.
*Before I go any further, you should know that there is no love lost between Sporting and referee Jair Marrufo. Some of you may know about the game against San Jose last year when Dom Dwyer was tripped by Andres Imperiale in the box, and was not awarded a PK. Afterwards, both coaches agreed that a PK was warranted.* With that said, there was a good bit of chippy-ness going on (read chippy-ness as Dom getting tripped up three times and play continuing each time). I know Dom has a tendency to “embellish” fouls, but not to that degree.
Now, moving on. There were so many close shots in this game! If the goal was one foot wider the score would have been something like 5-2. Benny missed just wide right in the 18th minute, Jimmy Medranda missed slightly wide left in the 39th minute, Dom tripped in front of the goal after beating keeper David Bingham in the 54th minute and he then missed the far post by about two feet in the 58th (the U-S-A chant by The Cauldron was a nice touch though).
This is the same issue we had the majority of last season. Sporting would get forward and make shots like no one’s business, but they couldn’t convert. The thoughts of many SKC writers were that we needed someone up front to help Dom, ala Krisztian Nemeth, and this off-season we signed Gerso Fernandes, Latif Blessing, and Dom’s Man Crush Monday Soony Saad.
Let’s see how this turns out once the team gets going and some more of these guys get worked into the Starting XI. One other worrisome note is Ilie Sánchez in the midfield. Some of his decisions seem a little questionable, and his passes aren’t connecting as much as I would like them to. Hopefully, he just needs a little more time to gel with the rest of the team.
But on to the fun stuff! Nearing the end of the first half Benny Feilhaber lofted the ball over David Bingham and into the corner for the first goal of the season! Bingham had no chance, and Sporting got to celebrate!
Luckily for Sporting, San Jose didn’t have much of an answer. Our defense was solid minus a terrifying two minute stretch at the end which led to a stoppage time goal by Florian Jungwirth. This would have been an issue, but Soony Saad’s 89th minute shot nutmegged David Bingham and rolled into the goal. We’re going to say it was a goal for Soony…the MLS is saying it’s an own goal off of Bingham…tomato tomato (that is way less effective when you type it). You know a goal is lucky when the team’s tweet about it is “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”.
The ending was probably the best part of the game. If you look at the picture at the top of the article you can see The Cauldron in the distance. At the end of the game The Cauldron sang “When the Wiz Go Marching In”, and the players sang, swayed, and jumped along. It was a great ending to an awesome game!
Week 3 fun facts
Captain Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have been called up to the National Team for the World Cup Qualifiers! You can watch them play against teammate Roger Espinoza when the USMNT meets Honduras on March 24. The other US qualifier is against Panama on March 28.
Forward Dom Dwyer is officially a US citizen! He had his swearing in ceremony on Thursday, so we may be seeing him on the USMNT roster some day soon…
Sporting KC did an “official” team bracket on Tuesday, and it was pretty interesting. The guys who had teams in the tournament got together to make their picks: Matt Besler – Notre Dame, Soony Saad – Michigan, Graham Zusi – Maryland, Ike Opara – Wake Forest, Cameron Porter – Princeton, Colton Storm – UNC. Ike basically took over much to the chagrin of his teammates. Ike’s picks were a Duke vs UNC final with Duke winning. Benny came in once everyone left and lambasted Ike’s choices. The video is on Sporting’s Facebook, you should check it out.
*Note: at the time of writing Duke had just lost to South Carolina. Also, the KU Jayhawks have made it through to the next weekend…Rock Chalk
Have a great spring break, everyone, and I’ll see you for the next game on Friday, March 31st at Toronto FC!