SKC Outclasses Chivas in Statement Win

Sporting KC sprung out of a losing streak Sunday with a 4-0 win
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, May 06, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.
In a match that saw both teams coming off winless streaks – 2 consecutive losses for Sporting Kansas City and 2 losses and a draw for Chivas USA – amends could only be made for one.

And from kickoff to the final whistle, Sporting Kansas City outplayed Chivas on Sunday, winning 4-0.

Sporting searched for the all-important first half goal that would open up the match.

In the 41st minute, SKC stole the ball in the attacking third, played the ball across the field with 2 passes and found Claudio Bieler 9 yards away from goal.

Bieler masterfully brought Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to the ground and wrong-footed 2 defenders to slide the ball harmlessly into the back of the net to put SKC up, 1-0.

Chivas USA endured another frustrating 16 minutes until Paulo Nagamura sprinted onto a through-ball from Graham Zusi that made Kennedy come forward and clip Nagamura's heel in the 18-yard box, which brought a penalty and a red card to Kennedy. Bieler's 2nd goal of the game and 6th of the season ensued, as he sent the ball into the left corner of the goal from the penalty spot.

Both of his goals tied Bieler atop the golden boot race with Jack McInerney of the Philadelphia Union. Two goals and a man down for Chivas opened the floodgates at Sporting Park.

Coming on in the 58th minute, Josh Gardner made his first appearance as a Sporting KC player in spectacular fashion when he whipped in a precision cross that popped off of Zusi's boot and into the roof of the net.

Gardner wasn't the only player who had a career day, however, as Zusi notched 1 goal and 1 assist in a game that he orchestrated play in the midfield and linked the defense to the attack.

To finish things off, CJ Sapong scored on a volley in the 88th minute from a well-placed ball in from Mechack Jerome. The goal was Sapong's first of the season and Jerome's first assist of the season. Jerome filled in well for Chance Myers, who was taken out as a precaution for Sporting's game on Wednesday against Seattle.

With 3 starters absent from Sunday's lineup, Sporting made a statement after losing 2 straight games. Second-choice players stepped up as Bieler came off his own small slump.

SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and Sporting's backline fixed mistakes they made over the last 2 weeks, and Nielsen broke Tony Meola's career shutout record with 38. Ike Opara did a great job emulating a resting Matt Besler alongside an ever consistent Aurelien Collin.

On Wednesday, SKC manager Peter Vermes' best players will be ready for the Seattle Sounders. Along with Myers, Besler and Benny Feilhaber, Kei Kamara may join the fold for Sporting as the team takes on Seattle's potent attack that features players like Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins. As of Sunday night, Kamara was in Chicago and headed to Kansas City travelling from Norwich.

Sporting will look to exploit absences of Lamar Neagle and DeAndre Yedlin when Seattle comes to town mid-week. Three points will be on the way if Sporting's defensive prowess from Sunday is kept up.

NEXT UP: May 8 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

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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