Tag Archive | "Sporting Kansas City"

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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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Sounders Get Beat Up but Beat Sporting KC

Posted on 07 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

Tonight, despite being pushed around and generally beaten up by Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders FC pulled out a win. They did this against particularly poor officiating, oppressive heat and humidity, and the run of play. The team formerly known as the Wizards were clearly the better team, but it was the Sounders that had the late game magic.

In the early going, the first 35 minutes or so, Sporting KC absolutely dominated the Sounders. They held a better than 2:1 margin in possession and had numerous chances, several shots on frame, and one goal. Sporting Kansas City’s Besler made a long throw-in to the near post where Kei Kamara was left completely unmarked. Kamara made a perfect header just out of reach of a diving Kasey Keller.

SFC managed to put together a few nifty passes to get the ball out to James Riley near KC’s byline. He crossed it to the far post as Alvaro Fernandez ran in. Unfortunately, the Sounders missed an opportunity to score against the run of play when Flaco brutally misplayed a header and the ball went well wide of goal.

By halftime, KC still held an almost 2:1 margin in possession, had a 5:0 margin in corners, and 4:0 margin in shots on goal. The only piece of good news for SFC was they out-dueled KC 18:10, for whatever its worth.

I should note the extremely physical nature of KC’s defense throughout the first half. I can only say that it looked to me that the referee missed a number of moderate to serious fouls against SFC but did call one against Diop who elbowed Mauro Rosales in the back then proceeded to chase him down and trip him for good measure.

As far as the run of play, little changed after halftime. KC continued to move the ball effectively on offense and attack the ball on defense, while the Rave Green continued to look sloppy.

At the 55’ mark, Sigi Schmid, going for his MLS all-time leading 150th win, made his first substitutions putting Pat Noonan in for Alvaro Fernandez and Mike Fucito in for Fredy Montero. But little change was apparent until the 59’.

Omar Bravo charged in for a tackle against Noonan. Bravo actually touched the ball first and won the tackle but came in two-footed and tangled Noonan’s ankles. Noonan went down. The referee immediately, and correctly, pulled out a red card on Bravo. But Bravo wasn’t done. He ran to Noonan and stooped over him. Noonan took offense and stood up into Bravo who came chest to chest with Noonan. Noonan then head-butted Bravo, knocking him to the ground.

This changed the game.

For the balance of the game, SFC completely controlled possession, holding the ball by the same 2:1 margin the KC had for the beginning of the game. Unfortunately for the Sounders, they were able to do very little with all that possession.

SFC’s offensive miscues and poor touch continued to stifle their runs. But they did keep there energy level up and pressured the KC back line.

In the 68’, Lamar Neagle came on for Levesque who looked utterly exhausted. In the next minute, SFC had its best chance up to that point when, as the ball bounced around the top of the box, Fucito found space in the middle and put a big shot that Nielsen dove to save. Neagle came in from the right and shot from the bounce. Nielsen did his best Spiderman impersonation to knick the ball away with his left foot – in combination, almost certainly a save of the week.

The game seemed to be winding down to extend the Spork’s unbeaten streak to 15 as SFC continued to show a lack of dribbling or passing skill while the referees continued to show a general ineptness, until the 90’. Servando Carrasco served from the right wing into Rosales and KC’s defense seemed to clear but bobbled it giving Rosales a chance to gather it in, which he did. He then shifted to his left to get a look at the net and slotted the ball just out of Nielsen’s reach. There was a clear sense of a collective sigh as the Sounders seemed to resurrect a point. But they weren’t finished.

Two minutes later, SFC charged down field again. Rosales dribbled into the box but KC’s defense knocked the ball away. Neagle came up from the left this time and shot ball low, to right and barely beyond Nielsen’s fingers. The Sounders took a 2-1 lead with a minute and half of stoppage time remaining which they killed.

What can take from this game? Like the game we won in Colorado (on a fateful evening we’d like to otherwise forget), SFC has a knack for allowing team’s who are a man down play above themselves. But we can also say that SFC has a knack for scoring very late in games. Which, though agonizing, works – whatever it takes.

Most important is that the Sounders get 3 points pushed themselves into a virtual 3-way tie for second place in the west on points per game. This was a very big win at a crucial time.

Sporting KC finds themselves in a near tie with DC United for the third spot in the east.

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Union Stay Unbeaten at Home, Yet Find Scoreless Draw Against Kansas City Disappointing

Posted on 23 June 2011 by stoma

Following a lackluster road loss to Western Conference cellar-dweller Vancouver, the Union returned home for a short week to regroup and prepare to face the bottom-ranked team from the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City.  However, Kansas City has been improving of late, surely buoyed by finally having a home, the picturesque Livestrong Sporting Park.  It was there that Kansas City downed the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Friday, their 3rd shutout in the month of June.  Sporting is unbeaten in 5 MLS games, 6 if a 5-0 victory over the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup is counted.  The Union are still unbeaten at home in 7 contests.  Philadelphia again saw their standing in the Eastern Conference table see-saw with New York, with the rival Red Bulls pulling into 1st following an away draw against the Portland Timbers, who have quickly made their home a fortress.

Coming into the game, a low-scoring affair was expected, as Philadelphia has given up a mere 12 goals through its first 14 contests, good for 2nd in the MLS.  Meanwhile, both Kansas City and the Union rank in the bottom third of the league in goals scored.  However, Piotr Nowak and his technical staff attempted to buck that trend with a highly aggressive starting lineup featuring two midfielders, Sebastien Le Toux and newcomer Veljiko Paunovic, who are used to playing up top.  This resulted in a formation that came off as more of a 4-1-3-2, with Brian Carroll buttressing the defense while the other midfielders pushed to attack.  This strategy produced uneven results early; while Philadelphia did have chances in the 1st half, they were also vulnerable defensively, leading to several chances for Kansas City as well.  Neither side put anything away, however, and it was scoreless through halftime, although Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen had to record 4 saves to make it so.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the pace and rhythm of the game slowed considerably after the half as the sticky air grew even heavier.  Before they knew it, the 80th minute had come and past with no serious challenges on the Kansas City goal.  Instead of pressing even further tactically, Nowak retreated to a traditional, conservative mindset with his substitutions.  Keon Daniel for Jack McInerney in the 60th minute did allow Le Toux to move up top, but it also tacitly acknowledged that the original lineup was flawed. Amobi Okugo for Paunovic in the 66th minute did the same, and while Roger Torres made perfect sense, he came on for Justin Mapp in the 79th minute just as Mapp seemed to be hitting his stride and creating chances.  When pressed on the issue after the game, Nowak did fairly iterate that his side had taken 19 shots, 7 of which were on goal, and that there were several near misses, most notably Carlos Ruiz’s header off a Seba cross that struck the crossbar in the 72nd minute and Le Toux’s strike from 20 yards that inched past the left post in the 80th.

More important than the Union’s chances and certainly more decisive in the outcome of the game was Kansas City’s tactical approach.  The visiting side managed only 1 shot on goal and never seemed intent on challenging the Philadelphia goal or opening up in any manner.  Union captain and goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon thinks that the club will see this tactic at home with increasing frequency as the season goes on, citing it as a sign of respect for the success the Union have had, especially at home.  Mondragon pointed out that “Last year, teams came here and thought they had 3 points granted; they came and they played open.  No longer, the keeper asserted: “This year, this is not the case. This year, everyone is taking the Union very seriously, with a lot of respect, and coming here to PPL Park to get 1 point as a trophy.  We have to learn how to play in this type of game, because this is the kind of game we are going to have from here until the end of the season.

Regardless of what tactic the opposition has taken, the frustration continues for Philadelphia, which must face the fact that they just played the two worst teams in the MLS in terms of record and came away with just 1 point.  As Danny Califf stated after the game, “It’s a bummer when you dominate and you can’t get anything out of it.”  Fortunately, the relatively easy stretch of competition continues with a short turnaround game against Chivas USA on Saturday at PPL Park.  In addition, they have now pulled back into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead with New York, with each team tallying 23 points in 15 games.   Chivas sits in 8th place in the Western conference and has lost two straight.  The Union hope to avoid further frustration and salvage 3 desperately needed points before heading back out onto the road for three consecutive matches.

* POSTGAME NOTE:  Following the match, there was lengthy meeting involving Stefani Miglioranzi, Piotr Nowak and other members of the technical staff. Neither Miglioranzi nor Nowak would comment on the substance of the meeting, although Miglioranzi certainly did not look pleased when exiting Nowak’s office.  Was Migs simply venting his frustration at his lack of inclusion or is there a roster move on the horizon? Stay tuned, folks.


Philadelphia Union Starting XI




Le Toux————————-Paunovic————————————–Mapp


Sporting Kansas City Starting XI







Scoring Summary:


Misconduct Summary:
29’ Julio Cesar (Reckless Challenge)

31’ Veljiko Paunovic (Reckless Challenge)

61’ Sheanon Williams (Dissent)

90’ Jimmy Nielson (Delaying)

Sporting Kansas City-
Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Kei Kamara, Luke Sassano, Davy Arnaud, Birahim Diop (Stephane Auvray 72), Omar Bravo (Michael Harrington 63), Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 45)

Substitutes Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Milos Stojcev, Shavar Thomas

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Brian Carroll, Jack McInerney (Keon Daniel 60), Veljiko Paunovic (Amobi Okugo 66), Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 79), Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz

Substitutes Not Used: Zac MacMath, Michael Farfan, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Stefani Miglioranzi

Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Carlos Rivero
Weather: Hazy, Humid and 80 degrees
Attendance: 18,127


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