Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sounders and Sporting KC finish all square in an evenly played match

By Money Mike

The Sounders winless streak now sits at six matches and they are still due to get their first win since May 9th. Last night the Sounders came away with only a point after a 1-1 draw at home against Sporting Kansas City. It was a physical game from start to finish with a few controversial moments in this match. If the Sounders want to end their six match winless run, they'll have to get past their arch rival the Portland Timbers on their home ground this Sunday which will be the first of three straight on the road before they return home for a match on July 7th against the Colorado Rapids.

In the 8th minute, it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Jacob Peterson's long throw in found Aurelien Collin who barely got a piece of the ball with his head. Jeff Parke tried to head the ball clear, but Collin outjumped Zach Scott and flicked the ball back for Peterson for a right footed volley which I think deflected off Ozzie Alonso's foot and inside the far post. Unlucky for the Sounders. Had the shot not been deflected, it might have sailed over the bar or wide of the far post. I don't know, but the deflection went Sporting KC's way and there was nothing goalkeeper Andrew Weber could've done.

That lead didn't last long as the Sounders got one back in the 15th minute with a potential goal of the year candidate. Mauro Rosales curled his free kick to the far post, now Patrick Ianni had to come back for it because the cross was drifting behind him. He comes back for it and what does he do? He jumps up and side volleys it into the net to level this match at one. There was absolutely nothing Jimmy Neilsen could do but bitch at his defenders because they did a crappy job defending this set play. Michael Harrington was supposed to be marking Ianni and he got caught at the last second. Set pieces are one of the biggest keys to victory for every team. What a way for Ianni to cap off a return from injury by scoring one of the goals of the year. This was also his 100th MLS appearance of his career.

A minute later, this one should've been a red card. Aurelien Collin took down Mauro Rosales, who looked to have had a breakaway opportunity had he avoided the sliding challenge, and referee Jair Marrufo decided that it was only a yellow card. I don't know if it was because he thought there was another Sporting KC defender in the area and there could've been but that's ridiculous, Rosales would've been clear so that should've been a Red Card. Another thing is Marrufo later on in the match did a horrible job keeping both teams under control. Since that yellow card, Collin has been acting like a damn jackass all game and the referee doesn't do anything about it.

In the 19th minute, the Sounders dodged a huge bullet. Roger Espinoza found Soony Saad making a run in behind Zach Scott and played a good ball in for him. Saad struck it first time from almost a tight angle, but the crossbar saves Seattle from falling behind for the second time in the match.

In the 29th minute, the Sounders nearly made Sporting pay for some crappy defending of their own. Ozzie Alonso found Eddie Johnson who had loads of space. Aurelien Collin was the only player back for KC. Johnson did have Fredy Montero in support, but he went for it himself and just missed wide by inches. Johnson probably should've played the ball to Montero who was onside and perhaps had a better chance at putting the Sounders ahead. On the other side, where were the KC defenders? Why was Johnson given all the time and space on that play? Had the Sounders scored, I think Lawrence Olum would've taken the blame because he overcommited and Alonso read it perfectly and found Eddie Johnson. One thing I might want to ask myself is, why was Lawrence Olum given the start at center half? As far as I know by watching him during his time in the USL, he's been used as a holding midfielder. That's from what I've seen though.

In the 61st minute, the Sounders come close again. Mauro Rosales played an excellent ball to Alex Caskey who was onside and was clear of goal. Caskey was looking to put it inside the left post, but again it just rolls wide.

In the 88th minute, I don't even know what happened or how Jimmy Nielsen spilled this one but a crowd of over 46,000 and most of the viewers in Seattle, KC and other viewers around the nation watching on Direct Kick or MLS Live thought the Sounders snatched another victory against Sporting. Andy Rose's cross found Fredy Montero at the far post. Montero cut to his left foot and I don't know if this was a low cross or if Montero was trying to score, but the ball deflected off Chance Myers and it looked to be an easy gather for Nielsen but he let the ball go through him and it bounced off the far post and cleared by Lawrence Olum before Ozzie Alonso could put home the rebound. A couple seconds later, Zach Scott was booked for shoving C.J. Sapong into the boards and tempers began to flare on both sides.

In the second minute of stoppage time, the Sounders were reduced to 10 men for the second straight match. Alvaro Fernandez looked like he was fouled by Roger Espinoza, but the referee didn't call that and Fernandez retaliates and comes in with a dangerous challenge and Jair Marrufo wasted no time going to his back pocket and giving Flaco a Red Card and that summed up how the Sounders felt about the officiating in this game.


I was looking forward to seeing Steve Zakuani make his return for over a year since he suffered a broken leg in the early stages of last season, but Sigi Schmid decided to bring on Alvaro Fernandez instead and a few minutes later he gets sent off. The fact that everybody was excited that Zak was in the 18 man squad, looking forward to his return and then being left on the bench was a little disappointing. At the same time, I think it was the right decision to keep him on the bench because of the way things have gone late in the match.

Here's what Sigi said regarding why he didn't bring in Zakuani....

"It had less to do with Zakuani's length of injury or coming back. I just thought the game last night, the referee really didn't have control of the game; there was a lot of extracurricular activities going on off the ball that weren't called. To put Steve into that sort of game I didn't think was going to be a good situation because there was a lot of reckless abandon, let me put it that way, when people went into tackles. It wasn't so much a reflection of where Steve was at. It was more a reflection of the game. It's not a case of the game being aggressive or physical and that part; he's not going to shy away from that. I'm not worried about it in that sort of game, but I thought it was a game that to be quite honest had gotten out of control."

To be honest here, I think Sigi had a point. The game was completely out of control, especially late in the match with all the pushing and shoving and the fact that the referee didn't do his job and made some poor decisions. As for Aurelien Collin, I've already said enough. That guy's a prick.

I think moving Mauro Rosales to an attacking midfield position was the right move by Sigi. I thought Rosales had his best performance in quite a while. He's been able to make more plays on the ball, put more pressure on the central defenders and he also picked up an assist. Sure it was on a free kick, but still this was his best performance since the Philadelphia game on May 5th in which he scored the only goal of the match. I thought Brad Evans looked good on the right side of midfield, getting a few early touches at the start of the match. I'm still not overly impressed with Evans, but I think he's looked better playing on the right side than in the center. That goes for Mauro Rosales being in the center of midfield than on the right. I think they should stick with this lineup against the Timbers on Sunday because now they were able to find some openings and really put some pressure on the opposition.

I wasn't surprised to see Andrew Weber in goal for the Sounders after Bryan Meredith's struggles in these last couple games and Michael Gspurning not fully recovered yet. There were some nervous moments though, not because this was his first game for the Sounders and his third overall in MLS, but because Sporting Kansas City is a great attacking team with guys like Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi. Of course Kamara, Sapong and Zusi didn't start but they still looked dangerous offensively. Anyway, I thought Weber did a great job making some good saves and communicating with his defense. I'm expecting him to get the nod again this Sunday when the Sounders travel to take on the Timbers.

I wasn't overly happy with just a draw, especially with all the crap going on at the end of the game. At the same time, I think it's a step forward for this team because they looked a lot better offensively and defensively than they did in their last five games. If you're some stupid idiot like some user on SeattleTimes named "Cougforlife2011" who know's absolutely nothing about this team and just says the same ridiculous thing over and over again, "Softest team in MLS", "The front office is worse than the Mariners" (Give me a damn break), than I wouldn't be surprised if you don't agree with me on this. If you don't agree on this, that's fine but at least have a better explanation that what we keep getting with this user on SeattleTimes who can't get his facts straight. This guy is like Joe Queenan from the Wall Street Journal except Queenan trashed American soccer with false information. Anyway, if the Sounders stick with this formation in their next with Rosales in the center of midfield and Evans on the right, I think they'll come away with a better result and put an end to their six game winless streak. One win will surely change things for the Sounders as they look to get back in title contention.

Scoring summary:

Sporting Kansas City - Jacob Peterson 1 (Aurelien Collin 1) 8'

Seattle Sounders FC - Patrick Ianni 1 (Mauro Rosales 3) 15'

Misconduct summary:

Sporting Kansas City - Aurelien Collin (caution; foul) 16'

Sporting Kansas City - Lawrence Olum (caution; foul) 48'

Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen (caution; time wasting) 59'

Seattle Sounders FC - Zach Scott (caution; foul) 59'

Seattle Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez (ejection; foul) 92'+


Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Lawrence Olum, Michael Harrington; Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph (Graham Zusi 50'), Roger Espinoza; Jacob Peterson (Kei Kamara 65'), Teal Bunbury, Soony Saad (C.J. Sapong 86')

Seattle Sounders FC - Andrew Weber; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch; Brad Evans (Andy Rose 72'), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Alvaro Fernandez 80'), Alex Caskey; Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 80'), Fredy Montero

No comments:

Post a Comment