The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz

16Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC takes down a 9 (almost 8) man Revs team who are still struggling

Photo from Sporting's social media pages

Picking up right where they left off back in Nicaragua Sporting KC came in and completely dominated a New England Revs team who the last few seasons has struggled but occasionally have a little form. Looking at this game you wouldn't think that the Revs have any form as they easily went down to Sporting and in more ways then just allowing Sporting to score three goals on them.

It had all but seemed like the game was over before the second half but that didn't keep the Revolution from attempting to do what ever they could to keep Sporting from scoring to include having two players sent off on separate occasions and almost had a third player sent off as the official thought that he was issuing a player a second yellow card. Had a third player of been sent off that would have meant that the Revs would have been down to just eight players which seems insane and Sporting probably would have been able to end the with a higher score than 3-0.

Two of the goals have seemed to come from the savior of Sporting KC. I say that as he has already scored seven goals now in a shortened season as Kei Kamara was still playing for Norwich at the beginning of the MLS season. The third goal for Sporting came from a beautiful Benny Feilhaber free kick, as Zusi is still sidelined with an injury, that he made look incredibly easy.

Hopefully Sporting is getting the momentum at the right time to finish out the season strong but the more important thing is that if they can continue to play in top form during the playoffs.

12Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC (reserves) take down Real Esteli in first CCL match

CONCACAF_Champions_League

Well I guess I can say that I was wrong. Really not that difficult. But WOW! Sporting came to play and not just the A team but with a line up that was filled with a lot of backups. Now like I said in my preview I was convinced that Sporting would be lucky to come out with a 1-1 draw especially with the way that Sporting had been playing. So it was a pleasant site, even if it was all grainy on my computer, to see Sporting come in and control the game the way we have gotten use to seeing them do the last couple of seasons. Both goals scored were quite interesting as if Opara's goal would have had any more of an angle on it then it probably would have stayed out of the goal and deflected off the post but it somehow tucked it's self into the upper 90 on the opposite side of the goal as the GK for Real Esteli just couldn't quite get to the ball in time. Dwyer having gained more playing time since being called back from his record setting loan to Orlando City was not only able to get the start but saw several chances and was finally able to net a goal making it two goals in two games and in different competitions which to me is quite unique. Eric Kronberg, who would undoubtably be a starting GK for most of the teams in the MLS but sits on Sporting's bench due to Nielsen being one of the MLS's top GKs, was rarely even called upon but when called upon did what he had to much like he normally does and helped Sporting secure the easily obtained road victory shutout.

Sporting needs to keep this type of play up not only in the CCL but also in the MLS play to ensure that they have a good seeding for the MLS playoffs and to keep their CCL hopes alive as long as they can. Judging from the past few seasons it will be a difficult task but as long as they are able to maintain this form they to should be able to at least make it out of the group stage which has them playing 3 more games.

7Aug/13Off

Preview: Sporting KC takes on Real Esteli FC in their first ever CONCACAF Champions League game

Sporting KC are set to kick off their first CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) campaign and it wouldn't appear that they have an easy road ahead of them. They start off play with their first two group games on the road with the first being against Real Esteli who play in the Nicaraguan Primera Division and although it is a small division only having eight teams in the league but having been around since the 1930s have quite the history with Real Esteli having won a total of 13 titles with most of them coming in the last 12 years. This will mark Real Esteli's 4th time in the CCL having appeared to never make it past the preliminary round or at least the group stage (new format).

I believe that Sporting could possibly get a result in Nicaragua but it will not be easy and to make things more difficult Sporting has some untimely absences in their roster with Kevin Ellis, Graham Zusi, Josh Gardner, and Paulo Nagamura all listed as out for this match up. The big absence for Sporting is obviously Zusi who has been playing a lot of time lately for the USMNT and makes a noticeable difference in games for Sporting especially after the most recent lost match against the NY Redbulls. So if Sporting could go into Real Esteli's stadium (or if you want to say estadio) and get maybe even a 1-1 draw then that would be a very favorable outcome. I would even be willing to say that a 0-1 lost to Real Esteli would be a manageable result especially since Sporting will still get another chance to redeem themselves later in the year against Real Esteli at Sporting Park which is just a little bit bigger than Real Esteli stadium of approx 5,000.

3Aug/13Off

#SportingKC lose a questionable game against NY Redbulls 3-2.

Headed into this game you had to know that the NY Redbulls having lost, I believe, the last five matches against Sporting KC and only scoring one goal in those matches (coming from an own goal off Kei Kamara) you would like to think that Sporting would be able to handle business and continue being on top of the division. But that isn't how things always work out it seems especially in the MLS.

When the game started off Sporting looked to be the very dominate team and it was quite surprising to not see them score in the first 15 minutes but the Redbulls were able to hold on and actually get a goal early on in the game, which basically came off a counter attack, but that is how Sporting seems to get scored on the most. Well Sporting kept fighting like they do and Kei was able to draw it level towards the end of the first half.

Second half started and it seemed like a different Sporting team came out to finish the game as the Redbulls became the dominate team scoring two more goals with one of them coming off quite the counter attack that started with the goalkeeper throwing the ball halfway down the field. Now this is where I question the third goal as it would appear that when the player that got the assist played the ball across that the player that received the ball was already past the last defender and the ball in general, so that I don't get people telling me that the ball can be played in a backwards movement while being off sides, but the goal stood and Sporting where not in the greatest of moods after that to include Collin, stop me if you have heard this before, getting a yellow card.

Sporting kept fighting and were able to keep the pressure up and get another goal back but an unfortunate, and untimely, injury to a Redbull player I think slowed down the momentum that Sporting had gained and the Redbulls were able to hold on and gain a possibly important three points which for the time being will see them move to first place in our division and have Sporting fall to second and possibly to third depending on the result of Montreal Impacts game (who at the time of me writing this post are trailing 2-1 to DC United, which would mean if that result holds then Sporting would stay in second place, I believe).

1Aug/13Off

MLS All Stars don’t seem to be much of a match against Serie A AS Roma

2013MLSAllStar

Well I had originally thought that, and judging from last years MLS game against Chelsea, the MLS All-Stars would be able to pull out an exciting victory over Serie A team AS Roma. AS Roma is not an AC Milan, Inter Milan or a team quite like that but they do hold their own over the last couple seasons and after this match appear to be making a push for higher positioning.

As soon as the game started you could tell that AS Roma was on a mission and judging from how the game ended it was kind of suprising to me that it didn't end 5-0 in favor of AS Roma. The Italian team just seemed bigger, faster, stronger and by far more technical then just about anybody on the MLS All Star squad. They were attacking the ball very well and maintaining possession of the ball with ease and scoring pretty early in the 4th minute. MLS was able to eventually settle down and maintain a little bit of possesion and get the ball down towards AS Roma's goal but couldn't ever quite get anything solid going and really pose a threat until later in the game and then were not able to net a goal until stoppage time in the second half but the damage from AS Roma had already been done as they had been able to score three goals to the MLS's lone goal.

All in all it was a fun and exciting game to watch even if it was quite the beat down at the hands of AS Roma, but I almost got the impression that they were not going to play lately and came out looking to do exactly what they did. The last couple of MLS All Star matches have been against Chelsea from the EPL and most people pretty much know how they will do each season but it could be interesting to see how this AS Roma team does in the upcoming season.

29Jul/13Off

SportingKC Update

I just posted about having been gone and well that has caused me to miss a lot of posting stuff about Sporting KC. That doesn't mean that I haven't been watching as when I do watch, and its been most of the games, I watch very closely and will be catching up right now and hopefully as detailed as I can and without making this post a novel.

The first game that I will need to post about since my last Sporting update was the match against the Portland Timbers so as I type this I have 13 games to update on with two of them being Open Cup Matches.

vs Portland Timbers (27 April) Final 2-3
This was a good match, besides the loss that shouldn't have happened, with the big upside in Chance Myers getting not only his first MLS goal but his first two MLS goals. But it wasn't enough to keep the Timbers from getting three goals in.

vs Chivas USA (5 May(Cinco de Mayo)) Final 4-0
This was a butt kicking at the hands of Sporting and really it wasn't that surprising as Chivas has been struggling the last couple of seasons. They had started off hot this season but hadn't had to play against a top team like Sporting. Goals came from Bieler(2), Zusi, and Sapong.

vs Seattle Sounders (8 May) Final 0-1
I believe that I somehow missed this game as I don't recall much from it, but it obviously always stinks when Sporting loses to Seattle.

vs Houston Dynamo (12 May) Final 1-0
This was a huge win for Sporting as they were able to go into Houston and get 3 points which is something no other MLS team had done in approximately 18 months which is quite impressive. And the goal came from Collin who seems to be a nightmare for the Dynamo

vs DC United (19 May) Final 1-1
A game like this was almost to be expected especially after such a large win. Yeah you would like to get the win against a team like DC United but this game was away and it was good to at least get the draw and a point on the road.

vs Houston Dynamo (26 May) 1-1
Sporting seemed to be falling into a rut and seemed good for them to even get a result at home. Granted the Dynamo were probably looking to get some points back after losing a match at their own home stadium. So to only allow Houston to take one point away was good.

vs Des Moines Menace (28 May) 2-0 (Open Cup Match)
This was an open cup match that saw Sporting handling the Menace quite easily with a dominate 'B' squad of players with a few normal starters in the line up like the goal scorers Kei and Claudio. Des Moines was never really a threat in this match to even get on the board.

vs Montreal Impact (1 June) 1-2
I know I was following this game as I follow just about every game but I somehow don't recall this one. I will say that Montreal isn't that bad of a team. At least not as bad as one of the other Canada teams have been. Montreal just missed out of the playoffs last year and I'm almost positive that Sporting may not take these games as seriously as they should and the Impact probably go as hard as they can just to try and prove that they belong in this league especially against a team like Sporting who has been one of the top teams in the league the last few years.

vs Orlando City (12 June) 0-1 (Open Cup Match)
This was just a disappointing game all around but I can't say that I was surprised. Leading up to this game Sporting seemed to have a lot going against them and in my opinion the only, non MLS, team that could possibly beat Sporting would have been Sporting's USL Pro partner in Orlando City. Orlando gave Sporting a pretty good run last year and you could say that a repeat victory for Sporting was going to be difficult. It was a good game to watch but the result was pretty much as I expected.

vs FC Dallas (22 June) 2-2
This was quite the odd game that saw Sporting get to a two goal with one of the goals being an own goal off a Dallas player, but kept fighting and somehow pulled off the draw literally in the last minutes of the game. Quite possibly Sporting went into cruise control and obviously didn't finish the game.

vs Columbus Crew (29 June) 3-2
Luckily Kei Kamara has been back for a bit and is playing very well as he is really the reason why Sporting won this match scoring two of Sporting's goals as on a normal day the Crew doesn't score the two goals that they score as they were pretty much handed to Columbus.

vs Vancouver Whitecaps (3 July) 1-1
This is another one of those games that I seemed to have missed as I don't recall much from it but I am sure that I watched the match, but I obviously didn't take much from it. Sometimes you just have a match like that where it is very meh...

vs Chicago Fire (7 July) 2-1
This was kind of a suprise outcome as it is always difficult for Sporting to go into Chicago and get any sort of result. They have been able to do it a few times lately but it is still a challenge for Sporting and you would think that eventually their luck will run out but that doesn't mean that Sporting will ever stop trying.

vs Toronto FC (13 July) 3-0
As I mentioned a few matches ago that Montreal Impact is actually quite a good Canadian team unlike another team in Canada and Toronto is that other team I was talking about. Despite all their work in the offseason and trying just about everything they can to make something work and stick they keep faultering and it is quite a shame especially in the past because they were quite the good team for a little while and you would imagine that eventually they will get it together.

vs Real Salt Lake (20 July) 2-1
I completely missed this game as I was on vacation in Alaska and it was a job just to try and get the final result. RSL has been a great team the last several years as well and this match easily could have been the MLS cup match up two years ago. So I was really disappointed to have missed this game and was pleasantly surprised to see Sporting go into Salt Lake and not only get a result but to also get the 3 points on the road. I knew that Sporting could do it though as I know Sporting can beat anybody and their biggest competitor is themselves which they do tend to get in their own way hence the games that they just happen to lose.

vs Montreal Impact (27 July) 0-1
Speaking of games Sporting just happens to lose this is one of those games where Sporting literally lost in, I believe, the 4th minute of stoppage time and just saw this game slip away from them and Sporting has now lost twice this year to Montreal and I would be willing to bet that this could be a potential playoff match up this year and you can believe that Sporting will be pulling all strings to ensure that another lose occur, especially during the playoffs where Sporting has been outsted by Houston the last two years.

WOW that took way too long for me to get caught up and I need to make sure not to fall behind again. It has just been a crazy year for me but I can completely admit that I'm addicted to soccer as I wasn't able to stay on top of my blog post because I was doing other soccer related stuff.

27Apr/13Off

#SportingKC update (before Timbers game)

All,

I have been insanely busy lately as a handful of you know of my involvement with the Kansas City Shock (WPSL team kicking off towards the end of May (May 25th to be exact)) and have tried to watch the Sporting games to the best of my ability but even coaching both my two son's soccer teams has sometimes made it difficult not to mention my normal day to day, or as I've been told I can call it "bill paying", job to watch the games as closely as I would like and then be able to update my blog to reflect the game. Upon all these emotions and thoughts lately though I have realized that I think I've been approaching my blog post about post game (or in the past pre-game) thoughts all wrong and I need to make sure that I am using more of my own opinion about the games and just let it all out there, but I will still be trying to keep them short. With that being said let me quickly post my thoughts on the NY Redbulls and LA Galaxy games.

NY Redbulls
Sporting played pretty much how I expected them to play and got the result that I expected them to get. I am also not surprised that it was Collin that got the lone goal as he was pretty much due for a goal any time now. There was some issues towards the end of the game and if you know Sporting as well as some of the Sporting fans (like myself) or I guess you could view it more of an analyst (as I am also a very detailed and analytic type of person) you should have known that Jimmy was completely fine and but was selling it pretty good as it did get a Redbull player sent off but more importantly for Sporting it wasted a lot of time which I think is what Sporting was really trying to do.

LA Galaxy
Unfortunately this game also went the way I expected it too. I was really hoping that Sporting would be able to pull of a draw, possibly even a 0-0 draw and allow the shutout streak to continue, but I'm not in the business, or hobby for that matter, to say what I hope Sporting will do otherwise I would say I hope they win every game and which Sporting fan doesn't want that?

15Apr/13Off

#SportingKC needs the Saad man to help finish off DC United in late 1-0 win

Sporting was pretty dominate for much of this game but just couldn't seem to get past the GK in Hamid for DC United until later in the game when Soony Saad came onto the field and started creating a bit of havoc and feeding a nice ball to Bieler who then slotted the ball into the opposite side of the net for the win.

Sporting really did seem to dominate this game although they did give United a few chances that could have been costly but were able to keep their recent form going and get another shutout and although I don't like talking about streaks for fear of messing them up but I must point out that Sporting and their current GK in Jimmy Nielsen are making a case to break the shutout streak, previously set by Wizards in 2000 when my other favorite GK in Tony Meola was the GK. I'm sure it feels like there is a long way to go being that they are just over 400 minutes and need almost 700 minutes to break that record.

Can Sporting accomplish it? It is possible but they sure don't have an easy road ahead of them as they have both NY Redbulls and LA Galaxy coming up.

15Apr/13Off

#SportingKC knock off Impact’s winning streak.

Sporting came into this game having drawn the last game at New England in a game that most thought they should have easily won. Regardless they did what most teams hope to accomplish on the road and that is to draw.

Minutes 1-15
Both teams started pushing fast and what else should you expect when you have two teams of this caliber the Impact are off to a great 4-0 start to the season and Sporting continues to be a dominating team. Its easy to see why one of these teams was able to get an early 5th minute goal and luckily it was Sporting, which now ended a scoreless streak.

16-30
Pretty good play between the two teams besides CJ taking an unchecked elbow to the small of the back and having to be carried off the field. Sporting saw a few more great chances with one of them no better way to go up 2-0 but Bieler just got a little ahead of himself and sent the ball sailing over the goal.

30-45
Sapong was luckily able to return to the field and is most likely looking for a bit of pay back. Hopefully he was good to go for the rest of the match but time would tell. Half closed out pretty solid as Sporting seemed to slow down a bit and take the 1-0 lead into halftime.

46-60
The Impact came out for the second half a bit more aggressive than they played in the first half. Probably realizing that they are currently the "better" team and would like to keep their winning streak going. Sporting being the "dominant" team they keep fighting to ensure they come away the victors, even getting a few chances themselves.

61-75
Well it was good to still see Sapong in the game, but the pressure from Montreal was making me nervous, but Sporting was fighting attack after attack. This game may have ended 1-0 or 1-1 but it was a good match by both teams. Sporting was holding on as much as they could and attacking when they could.

76-90
Thank You! Sporting got another goal and were riding a bit more comfortable and forced Montreal to adjust how they were playing but almost more to defense as they were almost acting as if they didn't want to conceed more goals. Sporting did what they tend to do in these situation and kill time and almost put on a clinic on time killing during a game.

22Mar/13Off

#SportingKC get a weak draw against the Fire in 2013 home opener

Well dang it! Apparently I have lost my notes from this match up hence the reason why I don't already have it done.

Any way Sporting was coming into this game after a pretty brutal lose in Toronto and were looking to right the ship and get back on the winning side of their record. Well they didn't exactly do that but now have one win, one loss, and one draw for a total of 4 points in the league. The disappointing thing about this game is that it was their home opener and it was against what is considered one of their rivals in the Chicago Fire, a team that notoriously gives Sporting problems.

It must be said that Sporting was absolutely the dominate team control about 75% of possession and with the Fire going into a very tight defensive shell for most of the game there is no question about that. The Fire did have a few counter-attack chances but luckily Nielsen was able to make the save or Sporting's defense was able to recover and stop the attack.

That's not to say that Sporting didn't have some good chances themselves but most of their good shots were right at the Fire's GK and the ones that were shots but not all that great weren't fast enough to sneak by the GK as he was able to quickly gather the ball and redistribute.

Sporting next head off to play the Revolution in New England, a team that has begun struggling as of the last few seasons and could be a good chance to to get another three point decision but they will have to do it a little short handed, so it should be an interesting game to say the least.