Sapong Shines for Sporting

C.J. Sapong shines SKC’s 2-1 win in Toronto
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, September 23, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

Sporting Kansas City returned to MLS action on Saturday after a disappointing performance at Sporting Park in CONCACAF group play against Real Esteli last Wednesday, and a break from MLS play in the previous weekend. 

Kansas City’s starting lineup depended on some second-choice players to step up.

CJ Sapong started on the left wing and was the reason Sporting won the match, as he scored both goals in Kansas City’s 2-1 win. 

Jacob Peterson followed up a surprising performance against Esteli with a very good showing on the right wing.

Lawrence Olum played alongside Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi in the midfield.  Josh Gardner made his way into the match in the 2nd half, and Ike Opara started in central defense.  Although he could hardly be called a second-choice player, Dom Dwyer started at center forward for an injured Claudio Bieler.

It did not take long for SKC to grab the lead, in the 18th minute Zusi launched a sailing ball downfield to Dwyer.  Dwyer recorded his 1st assist of the season with a header to Sapong, who headed the ball low and past the goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead. 

The game was leveled in the 38th minute after a bad pass out from the back from Jimmy Nielsen.  While it seemed that Aurelien Collin put himself in the wrong place to receive the pass, making a mistake in trapping that pass should have been only a minor mistake. 

The pass should not have been made as Alvaro had been upfield enough to collect the ball and pass it into Darel Russell for the goal.  Throughout the match, Sporting’s defense had been solid with Sinovic and Myers able to get up the field as well as defend on the flanks.

Few chances came for either team after Sapong’s 53rd minute goal that would prove to be the winner for SKC.  Upon receiving the ball from a throw-in, Sinovic played a sweeping ball to the back post, where Sapong’s head again knocked the ball into the net. 

One thing I felt went under the radar in this game was Peterson Joseph’s absurd, outrageous and preposterous challenge on Bobby Convey in the 84th minute.  The tackle from behind was not even close to the ball and was as reckless as a tackle can be.  Another questionable no-call in the closing moments of the match came when a ball swung toward the back post to Justin Braun.  Collin was marking Braun and inexplicably threw himself at his mark, making no clear movement toward the ball.  There was no penalty called. 

The last 5 minutes of the game ignited all of TFC’s frustration from the last 85 minutes.  It began with Steven Caldwell’s red card for a high boot at a leaping Josh Gardner.  Gardner came out of the game after the incident.  The referee’s ludicrous no-calls brought back memories from a TFC-SKC matchup earlier this season in Kansas City.  After the game, Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen fumed to the media about Soony Saad’s supposed dive from which a red card ensued.  This time, however, Toronto was without doubt robbed in some capacity by the referee. 

Sporting’s next match will be nationally televised on Friday when the Philadelphia Union make a visit to Sporting Park.  Sporting’s defense will face Conor Casey and MLS assist leader Sebastien Le Toux. 

NEXT UP: September 27 – Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8 p.m. EST, NBCSN.

Skylar ROLSTAD

Nationality:
USA
College:
Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.
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