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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since the last blog about Sporting Kansas City and the Orlando City SC player loan, Sporting KC has signed two new players. Defender Mechack Jerome and Midfielder Christian Duke were added before the season started. Here is a quick look at both players as far as a loan to Orlando City.
Mechack Jerome - Mechack has been in the game day 18 for the 1st game of the season for Sporting Kansas City and made an appearance as a sub for Myers. With that evidence and the fact that I highly doubt that Sporting KC would sign a player just to loan him back from where he came from.
Christian Duke – Christian was drafted as a supplementary draft pick after spending time with Sporting Kansas City academy. Has not appeared for Sporting KC on the first team yet in his young career. Would not be shocked at all if he does in face go on a loan to Orlando City.
With the two additional players and seeing the game day 18 for two games it is a bit easier to have an idea on who will be going to Orlando City on the season loan. I fully expect to see Dom Dwyer, Kevin Ellis, Kyle Miller and Yann Songo’o be the four players to go on loan. Could see Mikey Lopez but with his Generation Adidas contract that would surprise me.
Both Sporting and the Union came into this game with high expectations, The Union probably more so as they were starting the season at home. Sporting having been deep in the post season the last two seasons were hoping to come out and make an early statement as they were listed as one of the top teams to start the season even with the loss of a few top players like Kei Kamara and Roger Espinoza.
Sporting started off very shaky as the Union were dominating the match for the first 20 minutes even netting a goal against the 2012 top XI GK Jimmy Nielsen who had already made a couple of great saves and it was surprising that the Union weren't possibly up 3-0 within the first 25 minutes. Sporting being Sporting the last two season were able to settle down and thanks to no other than Zusi, with help from the new DP Claudio Bieler, was able to help Sporting get level at 1-1 before halftime.
Sporting was able to come back out and maintain the level of play they left the field from the first half and controlled the play of the game and netted two more goals with the third coming from Bieler late in the game to seal up the three points for Sporting and get a huge win in the first match of the season and on the road which is the real interesting thing to me.
I will have to admit that I was nervous going into this season with Sporting making as many moves as they did and then to start the first 20 minutes being on their heels I was starting to think that my assumptions were right, but I was really glad to see Sporting right the ship, and in mid play as well, and get any sort of result. Hopefully my fears are wrong but it was only the first game of the season and there are still a lot more to go.
When the announcement came out a month ago, January 23rd, about the agreement between MLS and USL Pro a lot of talk has come about what that meant for MLS teams. Sporting KC announced an affiliation with Orlando City SC later the same day and with that comes four players that will be on loan from Sporting to Orlando City for the season. The preseason began on February 9th with the regular season for Orlando City begins on April 7th the regular season ending August 17th then they have playoffs after that. Any players then that go out on loan would probably be around the middle of March and them come home anywhere from middle of August to beginning of September if the schedule holds like last year.
The topic of what players are loaned with being discussed between both teams and this is done with no insider information. I have went through the roster of Sporting and come up with 18 players that I see as having no chance of going out on the loan. These players are Jimmy Nielsen, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, Josh Gardner, Graham Zusi, Peterson Joseph, Paulo Nagamura, Oriol Rosell, Benny Feihaber, Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong, Bobby Convey, Jacob Peterson, and Claudio Bieler. All of these have the potential to start or be a key sub. That leaves Jon Kempin, Kevin Ellis, Ike Opara, Yann Songo’o, Michael Thomas, Kyle Miller, Mikey Lopez, Soony Saad, and Dom Dwyer as the four players that could go on loan. Here is a short look at all the players.
Jon Kempin – Jon played in one first team game, verses couincely Orlando City SC in the US Open Cup, he also did play in some reserve league games this year and the past. I can see him being loaned if the OCSC goalie is not back but if goalie is back then there is no reason to loan him out to sit on the bench.
Kevin Ellis – Kevin seems to be the primary back up to Myers on the right hand side unless Peter Vermes deems that Josh Gardner can cover Right Back also.
Ike Opara – Ike played in half of the MLS regular season with San Jose. Would seem to be the four ranked, fighting with Lawrence Olum third rank position, Center Back on the team and with Matt Besler getting United States Men National Team looks I would be surprised to see him go on loan.
Yann Songo’o – Yann is a new player to the team and MLS. With him being young, not a whole lot of experience and at a deep position on the team in Center Back, he would be a player that the loan could be good for.
Michael Thomas – Michael is one of the easier players to predict on where he will end up , the fact that he played some in the first team and would the sixth Midfielder on the team should help him. He could benefit from playing more but with Zusi and possibly Feihaber playing some USMNT this year is more likely to stay.
Kyle Miller – Kyle made no first team appearances and while having some time in reserve league and the two friendly’s he would be a good choice to send to Orlando City if Sporting feels that he can make a difference in a few years.
Mikey Lopez – Mike is a hard choice to be made, could he grow by going on loan absolutely but being a Generation Adidas player his contract doesn’t count against the salary cap. I can see this going either way and depending on what other players are going who knows where he will end up.
Soony Saad – Sonny is a player that I almost had on the safe list but one that I would be shock to see go on loan. He played in a few games with the first team and with Kamara leaving I don’t see him leaving.
Dom Dwyer – Dom was denied a loan to St. Mirren of the Scottish Premier League. At the time was the partnership between MLS and USL known by Sporting? Possibly, which may be the reason why the loan was denied. Even with Kei Kamara on loan for the first of the year and maybe the whole season, Teal Bunbury hurt until the summer time, I still think Dom Dwyer will end up being one of the players on loan to Orlando City.
After looking at each player listed above and also taking into account the USMNT games through the World Cup Qualifies and Gold Cup and first team schedule with League, Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League, Sporting only having four players on loan instead of a full reserve league schedule is a good thing. When both teams get together it will be interesting to see what they both need and who they want to send down to further develop and help Orlando City. Unless there are some incoming players through Free Agency or Supplemental Draft pick signing, i.e Christian Duke, with this roster I think Yann Songo’o and Dom Dwyer are locks to head down to Orlando City. The next most likely player to be heading south to me is Kyle Miller he is the odd man out with Mikey Lopez in the Midfield some due to Mikey Lopez’s contract as a GA and his ability to play in more of the attacking role. The last player could be a couple different players but if Orlando City is interested I think Sporting would like to send Jon Kempin to get some playing time if Orlando City is not full at goal keeper if not Jon Kempin then Mikey Lopez would be the logical choice.
Well after everybody getting so upset about it last year the MLS decided to award Kansas City with the MLS All-Star game for the 2013 season. It is sure to be exciting and although the opponent has yet to be announced I am thinking it could be a team like Liverpool. Liverpool has been travelling to the US quite a bit the last couple of years as their owner also owns the Boston RedSox it seems to make sense. Well at least in my head. Some of the other teams that have been making yearly summer travels over to the US have included Stoke City, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Chelsea but Chelsea has been the team that the MLS All-Stars have played against the last two times and I would imagine they would want to change that up a bit.
Well this was definitely an interesting game for the Comets as it was a major early season test for the Comets as they played the current champions (again) and always dangerous Miluakee Wave. Comets again struggled a bit at the beginning and much like the first two games were able to battle back and send the game into extra time and were able to pull out the win.
Good: Comets continue to battle back in games and get the result they need. It is still early in the season, but this is an important part of playing the game that the Comets need to make sure they focus on as it is impossible to win games if you get down early and just let everything go. It also won't just effect the result of that game but mostly the next game and if it continues then the next game as well. Because the Comets are continuing to battle back early to get the results we should see them continue to battle back if they get down in other games as well. It may not always work out in their favor but the important part is that they are battling back.
Bad: Just as it is good that they continue to battle back it is also a bad thing as it can be quite exhausting on the body to continue to do so. It is also bad because simply the Comets should not be starting all their games off in the hole. This game wasn't as bad as the first two games as the Comets were able to keep the game close for most of the game, so it wasn't nearly the same battle they had in their first two games. I believe that these next three games to close out November could be telling to see how the rest of the season will go.
Good: The Wave being the all time leading champion and having won the last two years championship looked very good and the argument could be that they should of won this game, but they were playing against one of the best GKs in the MISL and the Comets defense when focused can easily dominate. The Wave with one of the best Head Coaches in the league and doubles as the US Futsal National Team Coach should be able to have yet another decent season and should expect any meeting with the Comets this season to be a good match to see.
Bad: Simply they let the Comets come back and even win the game. The Wave to me seems like a team that will just try to coast if they have any sort of a lead and if a team ties it up will just go and get another goal to regain the lead. It usually works for them obviously but as good as the Wave tend to be really should be able to go out there and just tear apart most teams.
Well it is all over and now that I think I have recovered from Sporting taking an early exit in the playoffs, with the help of all the other higher seeded teams also being dismissed, and again against the Houston Dynamo. I said in my preview that this game was going to be epic and it truly was even down to what most would say was an Epic Fail from the officiating and not giving Sporting a PK late in the game. Maybe that is all of us being biased but typically when a player is pushed down inside the other teams box that usually results in a PK chance. Had Sporting of been given the PK then they would have had a good chance of at least sending the game into extra time. We can talk all we want about what ifs but we really should focus on what Sporting did. Sporting was able to accomplish something that they haven't been able to do in their last five chances against the Dynamo and that was to completely beat them to include shut them out. This was by far one of Sporting's most difficult games and most likely in their history since being the Wizards in 1996. They fully brought their A game but again I said that they would have to bring their A+ game which would of meant that they would of finished some of those close chances against a great goalkeeper in Tally Hall which is going to give DC United problems and most likely see the Dynamo going to another MLS Cup. If Sporting had probably played half as good in the first leg of the playoff series as they did in this game then the 1-0 finish that they got again might of even been good enough to send them to extra time.
There seemed to be some concern that if Sporting had another huge let down that it could of damaged the reputation of the club in the Kansas City area and people would of started looking at them yet again as team similar to the Chiefs and the Royals but honestly with the way this last game was played they might of yet again gained an even bigger following. For example my father's side of the family has always been big soccer fans, but throughout the course of this season my mother and step-father seemed to also convert to being soccer fans to include asking me several questions and talking to me about it while we were recently on vacation. Even my wife has become a big Sporting fan and really gets into the games and excited for game days and has technically demanded me to get her some girly Sporting gear, so I guess I have my work cut out for me. Now if I could just start to get my blog to start being followed a bit more and start receiving feedback and what not. Kind of like how Thad Bell at the Backpost.net does and Mike Kuhn at Down the Byline. These are two individuals that I feel like I get along with and inspire to be similar to. Regardless I will continue to do my blog post and maybe during the Comets season and can further hone my skills and get back to some things that I was doing before that I thought worked well.