Tag Archive | "Kei Kamara"

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Sporting KC Dominate DC United

Posted on 12 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

If you were expecting a let down after Sporting KC played 120 minutes against Seattle Sounders FC in the US Open Cup, you couldn’t have been more wrong. No physical or emotional fatigue were apparent against DC United as the two sides squared off with a shot at first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.

Sporting would draw first blood in the 13th minute as Teal Bunbury would connect on a Graham Zusi header on a corner kick. Sporting won the corner on a long throw in from Matt Besler, a common occurrence. Bunbury had came very close moments before on an cross in open play that was barely too high to connect. Bunbury managed to get inside on Bill Hamid, but the DC United goal keeper was able to catch the cross.

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Photos by Tommy Theis Courtesy of Sporting Reporting

DC United would only see 30% of the possession at the half, but they were able to convert a chance when Andy Najar took a speculative cross into the box that Nick DeLeon was able to get a touch on, Michael Harrington lost sight of the ball and got turned around, DeLeon was able to take a touch and place his finish past Jimmy Nielsen for the equalizer.

DC United made one substitution at halftime, Branko Boskovic for Marcelo Saragosa. DC had been dominated in possession and scoring opportunities in the first half and did not find much offensive rhythm.

The second half did not improve for DC United, in fact they were able to maintain their meager amount of possesion from 37% to 44%, but they were not able to turn possession into scoring chances.

Although the score was 2-1, the game was clearly dominated by Sporting KC. They had numerous scoring opportunities, got quality shots of Besler throw ins, and were quite unfortunate that they hit the frame multiple times, Graham Zusi was victimized twice before he was able to put one away. Sporting were able to play the entire width of the field, Kei Kamara showed exceptional range end to end and sideline to sideline.

There was a bit of a scuffle when Perry Kitchen was backing into Nielsen who was coming out to punch the ball away. Nielsen appeared to try and kick Kitchen, clearly annoyed that he was challenged by the United midfielder.

After the match Peter Vermes gave DC United a compliment on their strategy, “They didn’t come to pack it in tonight and that’s rare when we play teams at home.” Given the personalities of the DC coach, it would have been shocking if Ben Olsen hadn’t played for the win with top of the Eastern Conference table at stake.

When asked about his team’s return to form Peter Vermes replied, “The season is very long in MLS, I think sometimes what happens is you can ride the wave, you can fall off the wave, the big thing is how fast you get back on it. I think that, if anything, we never lost any confidence in ourselves.”

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Seattle Sounders Fall in Shootout to Sporting KC

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

A hot and muggy Kansas City afternoon gave way to a thunderstorm that delayed the started of this much anticipated match for over 30 minutes. Lightning within 2 miles of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park means a 30 minute delay from that strike.

Sporting KC had control of the match early in the first half, in the second minute Teal Bunbury received a square ball near the top of the box, had he allowed the ball to continue rolling Kei Kamara was unmarked on Sporting’s left wing. Bunbury put his shot over the bar, Kamara certainly had the better position for a scoring opportunity.

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© 2012 Denise McCooey & Prost Amerika

Sounders struggled to to creat chances and possess the ball in offensive poistion, seemed to have difficulty making accurate passes, and to make matters worse Osvaldo Alonso was given a caution in the fourth minute for dissent following a challenge on Kei Kamara that sent certainly appeared to be embellished. Alonso was booked for dissent when Referee Ricardo Salazar had something to tell Alonso.

Michael Gspurning was called into action for his first save of the night in the sixth minute on a header in the box from Kamara on a throw-in but went straigh at Gspurning. Sounders gave up another scoring opportunity on a throw in the 26th minute, a shot from distance that went off of the crossbar.

Sounders had their first shot on goal when Eddie Johnson connected with a Mauro Rosales corner kick in the 30th minute that Jimmy Nielsen managed remarkabley managed to save.

Kamara set the crowd alight with a rocket of a shot that hit the side netting in the 38th minute. The crowd thought it was a goal, the confetti operator thought so as well. Once again it was a throw in that lead up to the shooting chance.

Sporting started the second half well, Teal Bunbury had another shot on frame that Gspurning saved. Sporting were much more the aggressor in the second half and had the more dangerous chances throughout the match. Sounders made two substitutions in the 69th minute, bringing on veteran Brad Evans and DP Christian Tiffert for Andy Rose and Alex Caskey, two rookie Sounders.

Controversy struck in the 84th minute when Pat Ianni was whistled for a handball in the box for a penalty. Replays were inconclusive, none of the press seemed to be able to tell who the handball was actually on. It seemed more of a case of the ball playing the hand, usually not given as a penalty. Kei Kamara would step up the spot, send Gspurning to left and went right.

Sounders showed their resilience and drew level two minutes later when Zach Scott headed home a corner kick in the 86th minute to draw level and send the match to extra time and eventually a penalty shootout. Both sides seemed content with their chance in that scenario. Schmid would sub Fredy Montero for Marc Burch in the 107th minute of extra time. An extra defender turned out to be exactly what Sounders needed when ten minutes later Patrick Ianni was sent off in the 118th minute for a reckless tackle he was yellow then red and Sounders were left with ten men to finish the match and managed to kill off the rest of the time without conceding a goal.

Ricardo Salazar made two controversial calls, the penalty kick on a phantom handball and allowing Paulo Nagamura to take a second penalty kick after Gspurning had made a save on his first attempt. To Salazar it appeared that Gspurning moved off the goal line before the shot was taken, it’s rarely called in most penalty kick situations because it’s dificult to see the line when the ball is being struck and every goalkeeper is taught to anticipate the kick.

In the end Sporting KC had the better opportunities to score, Gspurning did an admirable job keeping them out of his net, but they were unlucky not to score a few of their chances. Kei Kamara’s shot off the crossbar definitely stands out. Gspurning made more saves than Jimmy Nielsen did in the shootout, the final shootout tally was 3-2. Ultimately it was unfortunate that there is so much speculation about officiating in a Cup Final.

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US Open Cup Preview

Posted on 07 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders face off against Sporting Kansas City in the Lamar Hunt US Open cup Final tomorrow, in Livestrong Park. Sounders have won the Cup the last three years running, the biggest criticism of their success is that is that they have played a majority of their US Open Cup matches in Qwest/CenturyLink or Starfire Sports Complex in front of their home crowd. Sounders did win the US Open Cup hosted by DC United in 2009 and have hosted the Final in 2010 & 2011.

Detractors can say that winning is easier at home, but it’s not easy to win a Cup Final no matter where it is played. Despite the criticism it is fair to say that the Sounders run of success has raised the profile of this competition. Other teams certainly have taken notice of what the competition has meant to the Supporters of the Sounders and now see the US Open Cup as worthy of trying to win and host.

Sounders have hosted so many matches because they can afford to pay more for them under the sealed bid process of awarding home matches. Sounders draw approximately 4,500 (give or take) at Starfire for USOC which certainly allows them to invest more than teams that wouldn’t draw so well. Adrian Hanauer was surprised that Kansas City was awarded the Final, Sigi Schmid also criticized the process as being opaque. The story goes that Sporting KC & Seattle Sounders FC submitted identical bids and a coin flip determined the winner. A coin flip no one saw. Schmid went so far as to comment about the ties to US Soccer, who runs the US Open Cup, from the DC United & Sporting KC clubs.

Sounders are fresh off of their 4-0 drubbing of LA Galaxy, and have a new signing with Christian Tiffert CM who logged his first minutes in that match. Sounders have Michael Gspurning, MLS leader in GAA, who has been out with an injury since May 2nd in LA against Galaxy. Sporting have their share of injury issues, center back Aurelin Collin is injured, but would miss the match anyway due to yellow card accumulation, Bobby Convey and Jacob Peterson are also doubtful.

Sporting KC certainly have been a team on the rise in MLS, a new soccer specific stadium at Livestrong Park, tied for first in the Eatern Confernce with DC United at 40 points. Sounders are equal, with a game in hand and three points behind. It’s difficult to handicap this match, it seems to be exactly even, Sounders have the better record recently and have a new DP with Tiffert, but Sporting have Kei Kamara in the middle, who has had several big matches against Sounders, and the home fans. I would like to give the edge to Seattle, because they know that this is a playoff type atmosphere against a top MLS side and they have the opportunity to make it four Cups in a row, but Sporting have a chance to win their first US Open Cup since 2004 when they were the Wizards and played in a baseball stadium.

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