Post Game Coverage
I decided earlier today that I would try something a little bit different than the typical "match review." Instead I've decided to go with a "running diary." Essentially, it's just a collection of my thoughts as the game progressed. Minute to minute. Well, maybe not minute to minute, but you get the point. I thought it might be a little more interesting to switch things up a little bit. Let me know what you think.
Running Diary; Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union
The starting lineups for both teams;
Sporting Kansas City- Nielsen, Myers, Cesar, Besler, Sinovic, Espinoza, Zusi, Jeferson, Kamara, Bravo, Bunbury
Philadelphia Union- MacMath, Nakazawa, Valdes, Califf, G. Farfan, Torres, Okugo, Carroll, M. Farfan, Paunovic
Well, I guessed right on my projected lineup for this match in regards to Cesar starting in the middle of the Sporting defense next to Besler. Coming into the game, I just felt like Cesar has been offering more than Collin.
Somewhat surprised to see Jeferson in the lineup. I projected the return of Davy Aranud to the Starting XI, but apparently he's not 100% match ready, or else I think he would be a shoe in for Sporting manager Peter Vermes.
I'm actually glad to see Roger Espinoza back in the defensive mid position. I think a combination up top of Zusi, and Jeferson gives Sporting a better chance of creating offensive chances.
Must also note the return of Chance Myers to the starting lineup. Apparently Myers is over the foot contusion that kept him out of the Real Salt Lake game last week. Good to see.
In regards to the Union lineup, the only real surprise to me is Freddy Adu being left out.
A sell out crowd tonight. Amazing. Fans definitely showed up tonight to support the home team.
As expected, Omar Bravo is wearing the captain's armband for Sporting Kansas City. Danny Califf wears the captain's armband for the Union.
1st Minute- The field's still looking pretty rough. You can see where patches of new turf have been layed down to fix the divots from previous games.
Match starts out with the both teams trying to get a feel for what kind of strategy their opposition will employ.
Seth Sinovic pushed the ball up the left side of the pitch, and places a dangerous cross on the ground that almost connects with Teal Bunbury.
Something I have to mention; the ball reached Sinovic off of one of my favorite plays that Omar Bravo uses. Besler passes to Omar, who acts as if he's going to receive the ball. At the last second he pulls back inside, and allows the ball to reach Sinovic on the left flank. Bravo immediately makes a run towards goal.
I've seen Bravo use this play numerous times this season, and it never gets old.
Okay, my Bravo infatuation is over.. for now. We're only in the first minute!
2nd Minute- Paunovic makes a great one touch pass to Sebastien Le Toux, who was making a perfectly timed run down the right side of the pitch. The through ball essentially leaves Le Toux with a one on one with Sporting goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen, but Sebastien's shot goes wide left.
Both teams looking feisty out of the gates.
5th Minute- I could be wrong, but Danny Califf just doesn't look like a soccer player to me. He looks like the slightly out of shape guy that one typically expects to see in the stands, drinking himself to death, and yelling curse words with 5 year old kids sitting right next to him. Just a small observation. Not saying that he's not a good player. He just doesn't look like he would be.
7th Minute- Jesus sighting! In The Cauldron. Who knew that Jesus was a Sporting Kansas City fan? But I'd have to think that it has to bode well for our chances of making the playoffs. This isn't the first time Jesus has made an appearance in The Cauldron. The lady and I went to the LA Galaxy match, and were shocked to see Jesus, clad in his trademark white robe, and a Sporting Kansas City scarf. At one point in time prior to the start of the match, seeing that the fans were waiting in the heat that day, he commanded the sprinklers to turn on to cool down his people. I swear this happened.
8th Minute- Besler with another one of his stellar long throw ins. It's deflected and falls at the feet of Kei Kamara, who shoots it straight at MacMath. How much of a weapon have Besler's throw ins become? Dangerous.
11th Minute- Kamara plays a dangerous cross right into the box. Could have connected with either Bunbury, or Bravo on the play, but MacMath comes up to deflect the ball out of bounds for a Sporting corner. Very nice through ball from Jeferson to Kamara to set up the chance.
I just realized Bravo was called offside. Well, never mind then. Still a great series of passing from Sporting.
12th Minute- Le Toux is an animal! The guy never stops. Going to be a long night for the center of the Sporting Kansas City defense.
14th Minute- Despite a few threatening run of play from Philadelphia, it appears Sporting is in control thus far.
16th Minute- Michael Farfan makes a very nice cut on Seth Sinovic down the right side of the field. He then plays the ball into the middle of the box where Paunovic takes a shot. Blocked by Myers. Very nice from Farfan.
19th Minute- Kamara fires a laser from well past 30 yards, but it easily sails over goal. Ambitious shot from everyone's favorite Chipotle spokesman.
21st Minute- Love what I'm seeing from Sinovic so far. Fantastic work rate. Continually pushing the ball up the left side. Already has a few dangerous crosses in the game. Big thank you to all of the MLS teams that thought Sinovic wasn't worth a roster spot.
24th Minute- Not to be outdone, Myers making a few nice crosses of his own. Welcome back, Chance.
On a completely unrelated note; Graham Zusi's hair has seen better nights. Real unkempt, man of the wilderness look. And the headband lowers his hair rating even more to a 4 out of 10 for the evening.
29th Minute- Torres makes a dangerous tackle on Kamara who was about to make a run down the right side of the field. Fans looking for a yellow card from the referee, but he simply gives Torres a warning. I think it's the right call. Nice not having Ricardo Salazar around.
Union coach Piotr Nawak having a heated conversation with head referee Baldomero Toledo. I'm confused; is he angry that Toledo didn't card Torres?
32nd Minute- Kamara taking on three Union defenders by himself down the left touchline. Impressive until he finally gets the ball stolen away.
34th Minute- Cesar stops a dangerous three on two Union break. Last thing you want to see if you are Sporting Kansas City; Sebastien Le Toux running down the flank with the ball at his feet, and plenty of options. Nice slide by Cesar to deflect Le Toux's pass into the box.
40th Minute- A very dangerous Jeferson corner kick connects with Kei Kamara's head! It just misses the top of the goal. Sporting still looking for that elusive first goal.
41st Minute- Paunovic with another nice through ball to Le Toux. His cross into the box is headed away by Sinovic. Still in the first half, and we've seen the Sporting defense look very vulnerable trying to keep up with Le Toux on a number of plays. They have to find a way to slow Le Toux down.
45th Minute- Myers almost connects on a long distance shot from outside the box. The ball sails over the top of goal. Nice effort from Chance.
Only two halftime thoughts for me; Sporting need to do a better job of containing Le Toux in the second half, and I'm very surprised at the lack of impact Graham Zusi has made on this game so far. He's almost been invisible out there.
46th Minute- First substitution of the night. Vermes takes out Jeferson, and puts Aurelien Collin in the game. I'd have to guess that means Cesar will move up to the holding midfielder, and Roger takes over Jeferson's spot higher up the pitch, much like in the Real Salt Lake game. Thought Jeferson had some nice moments tonight.
I mentioned this in a tweet about a week ago, but there's no way anyone is going to convince me that if Collin was older he couldn't have been a member in the early 90's music hit machine, Right Said Fred. If you need actual evidence to back my theory, here you go.
49th Minute- Besler makes a very nice diving save of a Michael Farfan shot! Corner to Torres and the Union.
Looks like Philadelphia is coming out of the halftime break with a little fire in their bellies. Looking better at the start of the second half. First five minutes of the second, and the Union are dominating possession.
56th Minute- GOALLLL Sporting Kansas City!!!! Omar Bravo finishes a nice cross from Kei Kamara into the box. Not much MacMath could do about that, as Kamara's cross sets Bravo up only a few yards in front of goal. Sporting finally have the first goal of the match.
I'd like to take a moment to say that even though I've enjoyed the commentary by Kyle Martino, and JP Dellacamera I can't stop thinking how much more enjoyable that goal would have been had Sporting Kansas City's own Callum Williams made that call. I imagine it would go something like this;
"BRAVVVOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" OMAR BRAVOOO!!! AND LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK IS GOING ABSOLUTELY WILD!!!!"
Nowak replaces Paunovic with Jack McInerney.
59th Minute- Sporting Kansas City almost immediately give up the equalizer after their goal, as the newly inserted McInerney finds open space on the right side of the box after a nice through ball from Torres. His shot is blocked by Nielsen but almost deflects into the goal.
60th Minute- Carlos Valdes is given a yellowcard after a mistimed tackle on Espinoza that leaves Roger clutching his left leg. It appears he'll be fine. Never know with these soccer players.
62nd Minute- Union 16 year old Zach Pfeffer comes in for Nakazawa.
CJ Sapong comes in for Bunbury. For the most part, I'd say Teal was ineffective tonight. More Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from one of America's brightest up and coming players.
Sapong sporting (no pun intended) a new haircut. It's some variation of a Mohawk, I believe.
63rd Minute- Goal Philadelphia Union! And from who else; Mr. Sebastian Le Toux. Nice play by Michael Farfan to keep the ball in play, and feed it to Le Toux for an easy goal. Not a single Sporting player marking up on Le Toux, who found the open space in the penalty box.
64th Minute- If you're a Union fan you have to like what you just saw from Pfeffer as he took on Collin without thinking twice. Collin tries to outmuscle him but Toledo calls the foul on Aurelien.
65th Minute- The subsequent free kick from Le Toux is a dangerous one, and would have most likely connected with the head of one of the Union players if not for a great block from Nielsen.
There goes the infamous Nielsen tongue action after the save.
68th Minute- CJ Sapong goes one on one with Zac MacMath, who makes a nice save on the shot. Good chance for Sapong to find the back of the net.
71st Minute- Espinoza almost scores with a shot from far outside the box. Another very good save from MacMath. Good job by Zusi on finding the open man. Zusi definitely looking better in the second half of play.
72nd Minute- Roger Torres comes off and is replaced by Stefani Miglioranzi. Good game from Torres. Some very nice passes.
Philadelphia are now out of substitutions.
It's funny how every time Chance Myers is about to make a play you can hear the screaming of the pre-teen girls in the crowd. Very Beatlesesque fan support for Chance tonight.
Much more evenly played game in the second half. Philadelphia has definitely made some improvements.
77th Minute- Collin and Le Toux go one on one down the left side. Collin effectively corrals Le Toux out of bounds.
78th Minute- Another questionable Roger Espinoza flop. He's good for at least two of these every game.
80th Minute- Le Toux with another dangerous run. He's been impressive all night long.
81st Minute- Kamara not happy with the foul called on him after he and Gabriel Farfan get tangled up. Kei stares down the referee for what seems like an entire minute straight.
There's really no order to the game at this point. Seems like the energy is waning for the players on both teams.
84th Minute- Sporting Kansas City getting some nice opportunities, but they just can't seem to find that second goal.
For as much as I love Le Toux's play, I have to say that he looks like he could easily play a bad guy in a James Bond movie. I think it's the sunken in eyes. Guy basically looks evil.
86th Minute- McInerney with another dangerous shot that goes wide left. That makes a couple of nice strikes for him tonight.
Time winding down for Sporting to find a way to get the three points.
87th Minute- A Zusi free kick from midfield finds Sapong, who heads the ball on target. Unfortunately, it's right at Macmath.
88th Minute- Espinoza with another rocket from deep! But once again, another fantastic save from MacMath. Have to say I think MacMath is the Man of the Match. Number of very good saves tonight. It's between him and Le Toux for me.
89th Minute- Soony Saad comes on for Bravo. Soony is the only Sporting player at this point that can compete with Chance for number of preteen fans.
3 minutes of stoppage time added by the official.
92nd Minute- Looks like this one is ending in a draw. Have to feel like this result will be a bit of a disappointment for Sporting Kansas City. Could have taken control of the East with a win.
Final whistle sounds in the 94th minute.
Sporting Kansas City 1, Philadelphia Union 1.