What a week for Orlando City SC! On Wednesday, the Lions took a trip to Montreal Impact and saw a devastating 3-0 loss. This marked the club’s sixth straight loss, coming off the heels of six straight wins. If we’re keeping things even, that means it’s time to get back on a winning streak, right?
This loss was a hard one for the club to swallow. With almost our full roster back from injury and available to play (minus Yoshimar Yotún who’s making us proud on the Peruvian national team in the World Cup), we no longer have the excuse of a limited selection of players. This game saw the return of captain Jonathan Spector after weeks following concussion protocols. Sadly, having Spector back wasn’t the magic key to getting our victories back.
On Friday, Orlando City announced that they would be parting ways with head coachJason Kreis. With him, assistant coaches CJ Brown and Miles Joseph have also left the club.
Jason Kreis took over coaching Orlando City in July 2016, after our previous coach, Adrian Heath (now with Minnesota United) was let go for poor performance. Under Heath, Orlando City’s record was 19 wins, 20 draws, and 16 losses. We played 55 games under Heath’s leadership. Kreis lead us for 64 games and our record stands at 21 wins, 14 draws, and 29 losses. Oof. We’ve had a rough couple years. While we search for a new head coach, assistant coach Bobby Murphywill lead the team.
Orlando City plays D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup on June 20th. Then we meet Montreal again June 23rd. Montreal is currently sitting in 9th place in the MLS regular season standings. Orlando is still (barely) holding on to the sixth spot.
Montreal’s current position in the standings is what makes our 3-0 loss to them so hard to swallow. Sure, we expect going up against Atlanta United and NYCFC to be tough, but when you’re going up against a team that’s got 4 wins (5 now) and 11 losses, while you’re sitting at 6 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw, you really don’t plan on getting your butt handed to you.
But here we are. We’ll see on June 23rd if we’ve learned from our mistakes or if we’ll take another L.
Before the World Cup break, Minnesota United FC began their hunt for the US Open Cup trophy on June 6 in Cincinnati. The Loons played a refreshingly boring, albeit endless, game against USL side FC Cincinnati, with two extra 15 minute periods and, finally, four rounds of penalty kicks to decide who would go to the round of 16. The eternal defensive back-and-forth proved that Cinci will be a staunch opponent when the club enters MLS play next season. It also proved that Minnesota has work to do.
Minnesota maintained possession, with 66 percent overall, but struggled to do much with it. While Christian Ramirez (aka “Martinez” this night, thanks to FCC’s commentary team) had chances, the Loons managed just 15 shots to FCC’s 10. We also saw more of Maximiniano than we’ve seen all season and the mid, who was also given an alias – “Maximino” – somehow managed to stay in the ref’s good graces for much of the match.
Ramirez set the tone for the Loons, shooting and scoring first. He was followed by Collin Martin and Brent Kallman, who both scored, and finally Collen Warner, whose shot was blocked. But it was keeper Bobby Shuttleworth (again) who secured the result, standing tall during the shootout, blocking all but one FCC shot, including Nazmi Albadawi’s which cancelled out Warner’s miss.
MN United’s appearance in Houston on Monday night will mark the first time the club has made it to the fifth round in their USOC history, including the NASL eras when the club joined the Hunt as the Thunder (1999 – 2009) the Stars (2010 – ‘12) and United (2013 – ‘16). Both this progress and the opponent will be a refreshing change.
Many supporters expected the United to draw Sporting Kansas City in the first regional group match, the club which sent the Loons home in 2014, ‘16 and ‘17 (and 2009 if you count the Thunder v. Wiz match, which most of us do). The Minnesota soccer community breathed a sigh of relief at the Houston Dynamo matchup, but, unfortunately for United, the Dynamo – who have a USOC history of their own with SKC – view the fifth round match as a stepping stone to their next league appearance, against none other than Kansas City.
Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera was quoted in a recent news release saying, “It’s going to help us prepare for what is coming against Sporting Kansas City… We want to win at home and we have to win at home, so it’s a very important game for us.”
It is no less important for United, whose three-year transition plan cited Open Cup success in addition to a playoff berth. It is also important for the fans, whose morale and confidence in the team, coaching staff and back office, have wavered with recent poor results.
The Loons need to present a solid defense on Monday night against a hungry squad of bench players looking to prove their worth in the Dynamo lineup. They also need to find a way to connect their midfield movement to both the attacking and defending thirds, making the most of every possession and counter-attack, and – hopefully – finding the back of the net.
Turnovers and poor communication have been United’s downfall all season. If the midfield can get it together, they have a chance in Houston. Instead of being victimized by the Law of Averages, they need to leverage it: Keep the ball, move the ball, shoot the ball.
Wednesday, June 6th: 4-0 Win (Lamar Hunt Open Cup, 4th round, RBNY advances)
It was Deja Vu all over again* when the New York Red Bulls hosted New York City FC in the 4th round of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup.
IT’S OUR PARTY: Last year, the New York Red Bulls defeated NYCFC 1-0, with Daniel Royer scoring the only goal in the 67th minute. There were cheers and jeers, the usual banter, and a hilarious halftime takedown of a pitch invader. So when the cup draw was announced, making for the fourth Hudson River Derby of 2018, the reaction was mixed. RBNY did fine in the last meeting, but they were missing key pieces this time around.
WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT: It didn’t take long for the scoring to begin. In just the second minute, midfielder Vincent Bezecourt blasted the ball past backup goalkeeper Brad Stuver. From my vantage point, I could see coach Jesse Marsch tell the bench not to get too excited. A clever combination of moves from Derrick Etienne Jr., Alex Muyl, and Royer (9′) saw nearly a second goal by Danny’s heel flick. But Stuver was able to grab the ball.
Later in the half, a messy and violent advance up the field for RBNY ends with Muyl sending the ball way over the crossbar (28′). The crowd cried out in pain, but Alex was definitely the one feeling it most of all.
OK, people will be annoyed at Muyl’s inability to make the most out of the chances he was given last night, but if you rewatch the first half closely, you’ll see that he murdered City in the press. They couldn’t deal with how dogged he was.
That second goal had to wait until the 2nd half. A corner kick from Marc Rzatkowski found Aaron Long‘s head, and then the back of the net (52′). While a 2-0 lead was plenty good for RBNY to advance, Royer was able to really finish off the game with not one but TWO goals at the end of the second half (84′ & 89’).
FASTEST BRACE YOU'LL EVER SEE…TWO IN TWO MINUTES!!!!
WE RUN THINGS: For as much as I talk soccer, I’m still kind of new at the lingo… a lot has changed since I was playing. But I have learned about assessing a player’s workrate. It’s kind of an intangible– not like passing accuracy or shots on frame. It’s something you feel as you watch them play.
Not having watched Red Bulls II (I know, shame on me), I was previously unaware of Hassan Ndam‘s or Ethan Kutler‘s workrate. But they are thoroughly impressive. It’s the best testament to the Red Bulls system: slot in any piece and the team is still a cohesive unit. Not bad for their first time out with the first team.
WE CAME TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN NOW: Even Marc Rzatkowski, coming halfway around the world from Red Bull Salzburg, plays as if he grew up across the street from Tyler Adams. Both on and off the field, his ease with his teammates makes for a positive experience. When asked about his effect on the team, Royer said, “You can see he’s a great soccer player. Without the ball, he’s so aggressive he can win a lot of balls…and then with the ball he’s so smooth and creative.”
RBNY travels to Columbus for league play against (Save) the Crew this Saturday, and then to Chester, PA for the next Open Cup round against the Philadelphia Union. Don’t stop now, you boys in Red.
*That’s a Yogi Berra saying. He played for the Yankees. What– you thought the South Ward singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the 70th minute is the only baseball dig we can come up with?
Hello. I’m Kirsten Arpin, and I am a fan of Sporting Kansas City. I was born in Topeka, KS, and moved to Kansas City, MO when I was 11 years old. I have also lived in Lawrence, KS, Manhattan, KS, and Lee’s Summit, MO. None of these places are farther than an hour and a half from Kansas City.
This summer I moved to Orlando, FL for school. Orlando is 18 hours away from Kansas City, without stopping. It has been a huge change from what I’m used to. I used to be able to go to any Sporting game I wanted! Now I’m relying on my in-law’s cable subscription to watch via the interwebs.
This may have been the hardest part of the move for me. I mean, I miss my family, and I miss my friends but being a Sporting KC fan is part of my identity. It is so important to me. I didn’t get to be a part of any of the U.S. Open Cup games this season, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have great memories that they have brought me.
When SKC took on Minnesota United on June 14th I was in Colorado for the University of Colorado’s conducting symposium. It was an amazing experience! I watched that game on my phone in a bar while eating a pulled pork sandwich and donut holes from a food truck. Shoutout to the Sporting KC Uphoria team who gets the game up on the website so we can watch from afar.
This can’t be just me, but whenever I’m by myself in public and following games I am accidentally loud. There are quite a few looks in my direction, and then I have to explain myself to people who are not Sporting KC fans. My husband was at this game, and he said the atmosphere was absolutely crazy. When you can get that many fans to the stadium for a USOC early round game it is pretty awesome. They also got to see a 4-0 win, so that’s not too shabby.
The next home game was against FC Dallas on July 11th. We finished packing our moving truck and left for Florida on the 10th, so we were still driving when this game kicked off. We got to my cousin’s house in Windermere (about 10 minutes from the Magic Kingdom) by the time the game actually started.
For those of you who didn’t watch, this game didn’t start until extra time. That was when the magic happened. We got to see the two goals by Latif Blessing, Ike getting kicked in the head, and Daniel Salloi sealing the win in the 118th minute. It was my husband’s birthday, and SKC clinching a trip to the USOC semi-finals was one of the best presents he could have gotten. That and the Sporting dress socks I got him.
For the semi-final game against the San Jose Earthquakes, we watched at our new apartment in Winter Park. Sidenote: Florida, for having no winter, sure puts it in a lot of its city names. Winter Park, Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Beach.
This game was tough because Sporting was playing from behind almost immediately thanks to a goal by Danny Hoesen. Luckily, Diego Rubio brought SKC even about half an hour in. The rest of the game was super stressful, but all that stress was for naught because it ended up in penalty kicks.
In Kansas City, there is a love-hate relationship with penalty kicks. They do well with them in USOC games though, and this game was no different. After an uncharacteristic miss by Benny Feilhaber, Sporting made the rest of their PKs including one where Matt Besler slid to the ground afterward.
The hardest part of this game, personally, was how late it was. I’m still not used to this Eastern Timezone thing. The USOC games were starting at 9:00pm here and, with extra time and PKs, the win came around midnight. Trying to unwind after that made for a long night and an early morning.
I was looking forward to the final for weeks, and I was even more hyped after Sporting’s win against New England Revolution the week before. My colleagues got to hear about my love of Sporting for days, and they are probably sick of it. This game was perfectly timed after marching band rehearsal, and both my husband and I were able to get home in time to watch almost all of it. I would like to point out that marching band rehearsal here lasts until 8:30pm, which is so crazy late! Coming from Kansas City where rehearsals happen in the afternoon it was a big shift.
There were so many emotions coming into this game. My little sister got to go and did an awesome Instagram story for MLSFemale. My husband and I were watching from home wishing we were there. When that final whistle blew it was so emotional.
Seeing a team that I love so much win the cup was amazing, but knowing that I couldn’t be there to see it in person hurt. I miss Kansas City every single day, but on SKC gamedays I miss it so much more. That’s my home. That’s my city. That’s my team. I cried that day, and I’m crying now while writing this.
There are some awesome friends back home who know what we’re going through. Big shoutout to our Twitter diva Dayna for going live on Periscope during the trophy celebration and while Bes was painting the wall. It gave me all of the feels.
Hey MLS fans! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a month or so. If you’ve read some of my past articles then you know that I moved to Orlando this summer to continue my Master’s Degree in Wind Band Conducting. Well, since my last article, I have worked four weeks of band camps, and am getting ready to start school.
Sporting KC is also back! They were in a bit of an MLS slump with two draws against beatable teams, a loss, and a 3-2 win against Chicago Fire. The results of these four games led them to fall from first place in the Western Conference. But guess what? Sporting is back, baby! With Saturday’s win against conference foe, FC Dallas, Sporting has reclaimed some of their US Open Cup magic for the MLS season, and landed back at the top of the table!
Throughout the trials of the season, the one place Sporting hasn’t let up is in the US Open Cup. There are many teams that don’t put their all into the US Open Cup. They see it as an annoyance as opposed to an opportunity; which is something that Peter Vermes will never do. If Sporting is going to go for something then they are going to go all in. There was another team that went all in, and it was Cincinnati FC. Sorry New York Red Bulls, but no one wanted you to win that game. I do understand though that if Cincy had won that game, no one would want us to win the final… so hopefully we get the Cincinnati fans behind us on this one! I bet Mitch Hildebrandt and Tim Melia would be super good friends, so for that reason, cheer for Sporting! *wink wink
Sporting’s last game against FC Dallas came after a tough loss to Seattle Sounders. When Sporting went to Seattle, Vermes decided that it would be a good idea to rest a good chunk of the starters, and despite the result, I agree with his decision. The players that started all three games in the 8/6-8/12 span (Tim Melia and Matt Besler) ended up playing 300 minutes in one week. That’s pretty insane. Looking at the Starting XI that Sporting fielded against the Sounders and seeing the 1-0 scoreline makes me feel pretty good. Vermes can field a team that is not his best and can go into the game knowing that they can hang with the reigning MLS Champs at their house.
Now to the awesome game against FC Dallas! Sporting has been relatively weak against crosses this season, so it was finally time for them to get one of their own. In the 42nd minute, Graham Zusi‘s feed from the corner found its way to Diego Rubio and into the back of the net! I’m going to put this video in here…mostly because the background music makes it way more lit.
Two of the five @MLS Goal of the Week nominees came from @cmpark on Saturday!
Zusi assisted again on Gerso’s stoppage time goal that solidified a Sporting KC win! Last Saturday was a pretty special day for Sporting. It was their 100th straight sellout at Children’s Mercy Park, and they celebrated the whole week by getting different players’ favorite games at CMP. If you go back through Sporting’s media based tweets from the past week you can find all of them, but I’m going to go with Benny‘s game because it is the best.
Graham Zusi’s birthday was last Friday! He celebrated by winning! The MLS gave him a great present by putting him and his best friend forever, Matt Besler, on the Team of the Week!
Speaking of Zus, his stat line from Saturday was straight up fire: 2 assists, 7 key passes, 73 touches, 49/50(98%) passes, 7 crosses, 8 recoveries, 3 clearances, 2 tackles. He was named Man of the Match, btw.
Another awesome thing about the game against FC Dallas is that both of the goals were nominated for Goal of the Week!
This weekend Sporting starts a streak of three away games at Houston, NYCFC, and Columbus. It will be a tough test, but Sporting has been pretty alright away from home this season. They’ll get to come home again in mid-September for three straight home games and the US Open Cup final! To get you hyped up for that, here’s the video that US Soccer made of the game!
I’m not one for complaining about refs. It makes us (the royal us) sound like a bunch of whiny homers, but today I will represent whiny homers everywhere!
This season we have all been PROed! I don’t think this is a controversial statement. The MLS even has a whole youtube video series about missed/questionable calls!
This season has been fraught with PKs both warranted and unwarranted. There have been 68 PKs attempted so far, and of those 68, 53 have been made (Tim Melia has blocked 1/5 of the missed PKs btw. That’s pretty cool.)
A few PK stats: Teams with the most PKs attempted are Toronto FC and Portland Timbers (see the dive above) with 7. Teams with the fewest PKs attempted are Sporting KC and San Jose Earthquakes with 0, because you can’t attempt less than zero. Though if the refs found a way to give Sporting a negative PK then they would have. Sorry. That may have been a bit too on the whiny homer side.
Though there have been 68 PK attempts I bet we can all think of multiple times this season where our teams have deserved a PK that they weren’t awarded. One that really stands out to me was from Sporting’s game against the Timbers when Gerso was pulled down from behind when a Timber’s defender grabbed him by the shoulder.
Watching the play from the (extremely biased) Cauldron one could see that Gerso immediately puts his uninjured arm up to call for help. The referee though looked straight at him and waggled his finger no and ran off. The non-foul was so harsh that it dislocated Gerso’s shoulder. My sister, a certified athletic trainer, said that the hardest way to dislocate a shoulder is for it to be pulled out backwards. That is the direction Gerso’s shoulder went. He left the game, and didn’t start the next one.
Later that game though, Tim Melia was called for a penalty when he used his wizard powers to make Fanendo Adi trip. He must have used magic, because he sure didn’t touch him. Luckily, Timmy blocked the PK for his third PK save this season. It was a nice karma moment. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Now, I’m not saying that all the PKs given against Sporting are wrong. The call against Benny for his foul on Philly’s CJ Sapong was completely warranted. The call against Bes when he “pushed” Vancouver Whitecap‘s Fredy Montero was not. Tim Melia going studs up against DC United‘s Julian Buescher was also warranted. Tim saved those last two penalties as well, btw. Please feel free to share your opinions, thoughts, and commentary below.
Sporting defender, Ike Opara, was kicked in the side of the head by FC Dallas forward Max Urruti. We thought Ike was finally going to have a full healthy season after being plagued with injuries throughout his career, but that is obviously not the case. When you watch the play you can see Ike immediately go limp in the air, and fall to the ground.
We received some information that the kick was so severe that Ike may have been seizing on the pitch before he was stabilized. After being strapped to a stretcher, he was able to give a quick thumbs up while he was taken off the pitch. Urruti went to the SKC locker room post game to check up on Ike’s condition which was a pretty classy move.
Ike was released from the hospital on Wednesday morning, and he had his sense of humor back per his tweets. He was diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion, and the team trainers don’t expect him back for at least a month.
Soooo…what'd I miss? 😉
Big thanks to the EMTs, KU med, trainers, doctors. Thank you to all for the love and support. Always means (1/2)
Sporting KC has a starter in the All Star Game! Defender Graham Zusi was selected by the fans to the All Star Starting XI. His defensive compatriots, aka one of the best centerback duos in the league, Ike and Matt Besler, were not selected, but could still be named to the full roster along with Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer, Gerso, and Tim Melia. Can we all agree that Tim Howard being in the Starting XI over Tim Melia is absurd? If you check out this article right here, you can see that everyone loves the good Tim. The right Tim. The Tim you could take home to your mother.
American Citizen Dominic Dwyer has scored two goals for the USMNT in two games. He is basically killing it. Dom, Zus, and Bes all started the first two games of the friendly + Gold Cup schedule, and were effective. There were some defensive blunders in the Panama game, but it was insanely hot in Nashville. Hopefully, the guys get back in for the game against Nicaragua. But since none of them played on Wednesday no one can blame them for the mediocre showing the US had against “international soccer powerhouse” Martinique.
Adorable Hot Take:
Watch this Instagram slideshow of Latif Blessing hugging people! It’s adorable!
I have officially moved to Orlando, Florida. It is so hot and humid here! If it wasn’t for the rain (every damn day) the temperature would be unbearable. Luckily, the rain cools it down…at least until the sun comes back out and makes it all steamy again.
Sporting KC doesn’t play again until July 22nd when they take on Real Salt Lake in Utah, so the guys have been getting a much needed rest.
Thursday, July 13: 0-1 Win (US Open Cup Quarterfinals)
In my last article, I mentioned how hard it has been for the New York Red Bulls to defeat the New England Revolution in league play. But they did it. And now, just over a week later, RBNY had to make the trip up I-95 to do it again.
I’M SPOILED: I was in the press box for the last round Open Cup match vs Philadelphia Union, as well as the round before vs NYCFC. So it’s a big change watching the live stream on my tablet at home. It’s much smaller. And I had to make my own dinner. It’s… just not the same.
I can’t say it looked much better up at Jordan Field at Harvard University. Turf field, metal bleachers, threat of torrential downpour. Still, about 75 Red Bull supporters joined the team to cheer them on. It was a familiar sound coming through my tablet when the supporters sang and cheered through the whole match.
CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: with mainstay defenders Aurelien Collin and Damien Perrinelle entirely of the lineup, manager Jesse Marsch made important changes to the starting XI. Connor Lade was given his chance at Center Back, a spot usually reserved for…uh… well: a *taller* player. But he did an amazing job in the back line alongside Aaron Long, Sal Zizzo, and Tyler Adams, who had the freedom to overlap with Sean Davis on the attack.
A SLOW START: Despite being scoreless in the first half, RBNY held on to the ball well. They went on to claim 56% overall possession and over 400 passes. But I was sure this was going to extra time until:
Bradley Wright-Phillips has been called “The Ultimate Scoring Machine,” a clever send up of the BMW slogan. Can’t argue that!
BREAK RED: Revs defender Benjamin Angoua was shown a Red card in the 75th minute following a challenge on Bradley Wright-Phillips. The challenge itself didn’t seem particularly vicious, and the usual argument with referee Jorge Gonzalez appeared uneventful. But there was Gonzalez, pointing to the sideline, and captain Lee Nguyen trying to calm an incensed Angoua and escort him off the field. I still don’t know exactly what he did or said to merit the red card, but I’m terribly nosy and will keep looking into it.
BONES TO PICK: I’m not one to complain, but this is my article, dang it. And I know I’m saying these things out of love…
WYD Alex Muyl? Stop scrambling and stay on the ball!
And Gonzalo Verón STILL isn’t getting more minutes? I know strategy is above my pay grade, but
Hopefully RBNY will be closer to full strength when league play resumes, although Kemar Lawrence and Michael Amir Murillo could still be on international duty. Either way, the boys in red and white should bring the confidence from this win back home to Red Bull Arena. A sprinkling of the magic, if you will.
Now, here’s the thing. I’m going to start off by saying that considering circumstances, this match wasn’t inherently bad. In fact, it could have been much worse. With that statement, I probably lost almost every single one of my fellow LA Galaxy fans and followers reading here. However, let’s break this down.
On Monday night the LA Galaxy took another hard blow and were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-2 loss in San Jose at Avaya Stadium.
Let’s start with the positives here. Brian Rowe is finally back from injury, and it’s comforting to have a little more depth back in the keeper position, and to give Clement Diop, what most of us feel is, a much needed rest to rebuild his personal confidence after a series of defeats between the post for LA.
In addition to Rowe, Giovani dos Santos has made his return after a long stint away on international duty with Mexico, and made his presence known with an assist to Jelle Van Damme’s goal in the 3rd minute, as well as a few convincing chances on goal of his own in the first half. The core of the Galaxy is slowly returning from injury and international duties, and it will be more than welcomed to see how they perform once this unlucky plague of injury is behind us.
However, there are issues that need to be dealt with now. The Galaxy, though seemingly on the upswing, is still stuck with much needed players out on injury. As we all know, Romain Alessandrini has been behind, or at the very least a part of most of the Galaxy’s attacking plays this season, and his absence was very much noticed on Monday. In addition to Alessandrini, Joao Pedro, Jose Villarreal, and Daniel Steres’ absences were all felt.
While Alessandrini and Pedro, who have been training with the team, are on the mend and should be back by the time the Galaxy compete against Manchester United on Saturday (yippee…), the absence of these experienced players in the midfield seems to be a hoop that this team doesn’t seem to be able to jump through. The lack of pressure and possession in the midfield, especially in the second half of this match, wasn’t very hard to see.
By the 60th minute, San Jose were running circles around the Galaxy who seemed to have lost all confidence once again. It isn’t to say that I fully blame them, the past month has been a tough one for this team. Their last win against another MLS side coming almost a month ago on June 21st against Colorado, and confidence is hard to build back, especially for a younger side.
On the contrary, the issue here is that it doesn’t seem like we’re working towards doing anything about it. And while the Galaxy looked drained of confidence and ideas, Chris Wondolowski sure didn’t. Scoring two goals, one in the 16th minute and one in the 51st minute, both assisted by Tommy Thompson. Wondo came to play, and it showed.
A goal from Danny Hoesen in the 62nd minute sealed the Galaxy’s fate, and the match that should have been a redemptive confidence boost for the Galaxy went to the Earthquakes. My hope is that players are well rested and willing to compete for three points on July 19th during LA’s next league match at home against Vancouver Whitecaps. If LA hopes to make a convincing bid for the playoffs this season, now is the time to step it up. We’ve done it before.
Oh man! It has been quite a month, guys! The hubs and I are packing to move from Kansas City to Orlando, and in the middle of that I spent a week in Colorado for a conducting symposium. Not going to lie, but Colorado was AMAZING! I did have to miss the first US Open Cup game, but Sporting KC handled that pretty easily…and Andy Edwards said that I got the good side of the deal, so I’ll take it.
Since it’s been awhile, and we have a lot of ground to cover…here are some Top Fives of June!
Top Five Games
5. June 17, 0-0 Draw at San Jose Earthquakes: No offense, San Jose, you’re not very good. This should have been a win for Sporting, but one point is better than no points.
4. June 10, 1-1 Draw against Montreal Impact: Sporting was ahead in this game thanks to Gerso, but a careless pass by sub Soni Mustivar led to a goal by Manteo Mancuso. Augh!
3. June 28, 2-0 Win at Houston in the USOC: The first half of this game was pretty boring actually. There was one great chance with Gerso crossing a ball in from the end line, but Jimmy Medranda‘s shot went off the crossbar and Cameron Porter‘s rebound shot went over. Things we found out…Cameron Porter has mad ups. Ike Opara‘s 4th shot in the last 6 games, and Gerso’s stoppage time goal sealed this game for SKC.
2. June 24, 2-1 Win at LA Galaxy: This game had a lot of highs, and one really big low. Roger Espinoza smashed a shot from 30 yards out, and Diop decided that punching the ball away would be smarter than catching it…he was wrong. Then 5 minutes later, the #IkeBike happened! LA’s goal in the 77th minute was not enough to get them back in the game. The worst thing that happened in this game was the Nathan Smith‘s egregious tackle on Benny Feilhaber. Smith somehow escaped with a yellow card, and Benny thankfully escaped with only a sprained ankle.
1. June 3, 3-0 Win against Minnesota United FC & 4-0 Win against Minnesota United FC: Both of these games were awesome! I also like winning by a lot, so there’s that. In these games we had Saad Abdul-Salaam‘s first ever MLS goal, Daniel Salloi‘s first goal for SKC, Roger Espinoza’s 200th game for SKC in all competitions, Dom Dwyer becoming SKC’s leading goalscorer in the US Open Cup, Erik Palmer Brown‘s 2017 debut, and the most important, Soony Saad Abdul-Salaam! June 3rd was also our Pride Night!
Those were actually all the games in June…I cheated a little…
Top Five Facts and Tidbits
5. Nathan Smith received an after-the-fact red card for his tackle on Benny Feilhaber in the game against the Galaxy. This is the fourth time that a red card/suspension has been given to a Sporting opponent after the game. That sucks.
4. Sporting had three players called up to the USMNT for the Gold Cup! This is not the greatest thing for the team, especially when we’re making a big push in the US Open Cup and Benny Feilhaber is out for who knows how long. It is still a compliment to your team and your players. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi got called up again, and American Citizen Dom Dwyer was called up for the first time as one of three forwards. They play on July 1st, 8th, 12th, and 15th.
3. Sporting is still doing their theme nights! The last one I shared was their Russell Westbrook night, which was epic. In the past month they have done both Hat Night and Jorts Night.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me and Atlanta United. I’ve lost count of how many games we’ve played in the last three weeks. Losses on the road and wins at home. But the important thing is that we’re currently sitting in 6th in the East, which puts us into the playoff race.
I’m writing this while watching the Miami FC vs ATLUTD US Open Cup game in Miami. I’m hoping to have a final score at the end of this article, but right now it’s 1-1 at the beginning of the second half.
These USOC lineups from coach Tata Martino have been interesting. Lots of the kids who don’t play much on the first team. Brandon Vazquez has been on fire – both in USOC, where he currently has two goals, and in regular season play, where he’s got one goal and an assist. This is a bit of a surprise, considering I didn’t think he did well at all in preseason play. I guess good coaching will do that, though. 🙂
In other news, JOSEF MARTINEZ IS BACK! And with a vengance! He played a full 90 minutes in the first USOC game two weeks ago vs Charleston (our USL affiliate) and scored a goal, but didn’t start in regular season games until this past weekend vs Colorado Rapids. He scored the only goal in that game (with an assist from Vazquez) and celebrated by nearly setting himself on fire.
His first goal in the regular season since coming back came a week and a half ago against Columbus Crew, when he came in as a sub. He stated after the game that he was a little emotional after the goal because he was so happy about getting the goal for all of the fans that were chanting his name before he came on. He may not know this, but so many of the supporters also had all the feels when he scored that goal. I was a little teary-eyed myself.
*USOC Update* – Miami just went up 2-1. On a #(@$*@%# set piece, of course. ATL still needs to work on defending set pieces. Sigh.
Back to the regular season…This month has been particularly rough and it’s not over yet. 2 games per week for 4 weeks. After this USOC game, the boys travel to Columbus to take them on at home and then return home for a 4th of July match vs San Jose Earthquakes. And then we get a break during the Gold Cup, although if we manage to win tonight, we will host the winner of CINvCHI on July 12.
*USOC Update 2* – Atlanta just tied up the game. A PK was awarded to us when Carleton was taken down in the box and Julian Gressel got the shot just under Miami’s keeper.
And there it is – Miami FC just defeated ATLUTD on a goal from Poku – OF COURSE. Poku has a habit of scoring the game winner in USOC games. I saw him do it 3 years ago when he was an Atlanta Silverback vs Real Salt Lake.
Ah well…back to focusing on the regular season, then!