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

30Aug/13Off

Review: Sporting KC take down other CCL group opponent on the road in Olimpia

Taken from Sporting KC's Google+

Although it was late and I was very tired this was an interesting game to watch. What made it even better is that Sporting was able to secure yet another road victory, and shutout for that matter, to put themselves on top of their group with their final two group games being back at home. As one of the commentators pointed out though both the teams they have played are pretty much just getting their seasons started while Sporting is wrapping theirs up in a couple of months and their last two group games will most likely be a bit harder but with them being on top of the group with two wins they stand a good chance to move on already.

This game seemed to start off a bit rougher as Olimpia were pushing a bit harder then Real Esteli did in the previous match but in the 28th minute Sporting's up and coming star in Soony Saad was able to find the back of the next after passing a few defenders, while keeping possession of the ball, and slotting it right past the diving GK to put Sporting up 1-0. After that Olimpia just couldn't seem to completely get anything together with the exception of a couple drives that gave Sporting GK a little bit of a problem but nothing that came in the result for Olimpia. Dom Dwyer was able to give the defense some fits once he came into the game and was awarded a PK which Saad took and hit just hard enough that even the GK getting a hand to the ball wasn't enough to keep it from going in the goal and putting Sporting up 2-0 which would then hold till the final whistle.

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.