Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
May 27, 2014 (WEEK 13, MLS Game #114)
8 pm ET | 7 pm CT (ESPN2/Deportes)
A high-profile match kicks off ESPN2's season schedule of Major League Soccer coverage at Sporting Kansas City play host to the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday evening at Sporting Park. Featuring the top two goalscorers in MLS in SKC's Dom Dwyer and New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips, both teams come into the game looking to reverse recent skids. Sporting haven't won in three following their 2-2 home draw with Toronto FC last weekend, while the Red Bulls lost their third match in a row in a 2-1 home defeat by Portland.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 51 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 14; pens: 16
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Armando, Lloyd Sam, Jamison Olave
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura ... NY: Thierry Henry
DISABLED LIST: KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara, Chance Myers
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Graham Zusi, Matt Besler (USA); Lawrence Olum (Kenya) ... NY: Tim Cahill (AUS); Roy Miller (CRC)
ALL-TIME (48 meetings): Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 62 goals... Red Bulls 18 wins (2 shootout), 58 goals... Ties 11
AT KC (25 meetings): Sporting 14 wins (2 shootout), 39 goals... Red Bulls 8 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals... Ties 3
RETURN MATCHES: 9/6: New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET; 10/26: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/17: NY 0, KC 1 (Collin 13)
8/3: KC 2, NY 3 (Kamara 45; Dwyer 92+ -- Steele 27; Espindola 63; Sam 69)
- The teams split their season series a year ago, each winning on the other's home ground. When the Red Bulls won 3-2 on Aug. 3 at Sporting Park, it was their first defeat of Kansas City since April 30, 2011. In the five meetings in between, SKC won three times, with two draws.
- Sporting have come away with points on their last three visits to Red Bull Arena, including a 1-0 victory last April 17.
- Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. NY: P10 W4 L4 T2 ... Mike Petke vs. KC: P2 W1 L1 T0
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City put an end to their two-game losing slide but weren't able to hold out for a victory, Toronto FC scoring the equalizer in stoppage time to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw Friday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting sit in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 12 games.
- Sporting took the lead just two minutes after the halftime restart. Dom Dwyer took the ball and turned in the TFC end. and sent a pass to Sal Zizzo on the left wing. He raced to the top of the area for a return ball, which he then left-footed first-time just inside Joe Bendik's right post.
- TFC went a man down in the 63rd minute when defender Steven Caldwell was shown a straight red card by referee Baldomero Toledo for a serious foul on Sporting's Antonio Dovale.
- But despite being shorthanded, TFC leveled the score four minutes later, with Luke Moore finishing a through ball from Jermain Defoe from inside the area after a giveaway in midfield.
- Sporting appeared to have hit for the game-winner in the 84th minute after TFC substitute Doneil Henry brought down Igor Juliao in the box, and Dwyer calmly converted the resulting penalty kick.
- But in the first minute of stoppage time, after a free kick wasn't completely cleared, Nick Hagglund lofted a pass into the mixer and Bradley Orr headed it home from close range to salvage a draw and a road point for the Reds.
- Sporting manager Peter Vermes made just two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park despite a significant tactical shift. Alex Martinez and Kevin Ellis came into the side in place of Claudio Bieler and the suspended Erik Palmer-Brown.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Eric Kronberg - Igor Juliao, Chance Myers (Sal Zizzo 36), Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic - Benny Feilhaber - Paulo Nagamura, Alex Martinez (Jimmy Medranda 85) - Antonio Dovale (C.J. Sapong 86), Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson.
- FULL HIGHLIGHTS: SKC 2, TOR 2
- Sporting saw their winless streak extended to three games with the late draw, their longest since going four games without a win early last season.
- "We essentially gave two points away," midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. "We gave them a point and threw two in the trash. It's very frustrating. It doesn't matter the personnel we're missing. We could be missing our whole - we are missing our whole back line, basically - but it's unacceptable. We can't give up goals, especially in the last five minutes of the game and in injury time."
- Dom Dwyer scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season, now tied for the MLS Golden Boot standings with New York Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.
- Dwyer has hit the back of the net in four straight games, with six goals in that time, just the third player in KC club history to score in at least four consecutive games (also: Preki, 1996; Eddie Johnson, 2007).
- With no natural center backs available for selection due to a combination of injuries, international duty and suspension, Vermes ran out four fullbacks across his back line. Kevin Ellis, recalled from a loan to USL PRO affiliate Oklahoma City, was installed in central defense along with Chance Myers, normally Sporting's right back.
- "We don't have any of our guys that play that normally win the ball at the air. Kevin Elis is a right back, Chance [Myers] is a right back, and two of our outside backs are playing in the middle of the park. Chance goes down, you put Seth [Sinovic] in the style of play right from the get go we had to deal with," said SKC manager Peter Vermes. "Most of the time they were whacking the back down the field and we had to deal with those big balls. I thought we did a really good job at, it's just unfortunate that we honesty had two mistakes in the game and they both lead to goals."
- Said goalkeeper Eric Kronberg said: "That shows you that we're a team that plays together. That shows when you have people who aren't used to playing positions step in and play together, and we work hard together. Unfortunately, that last minute again - that's something we've got to fix. We've definitely addressed it, and we've worked on it. It can't keep happening."
- There was then a serious injury blow to Sporting's season when Myers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left ankle that will force him to undergo season-ending surgery.
- Rookie Alex Martinez made his first career MLS start, coming into a central midfield role and playing 68 minutes. Martinez had made five substitute appearances.
- "(Martinez) has proven not only to the coaching staff but also to his teammates that he can be counted on in the game to play, and he showed it," Vermes said. "The unfortunate thing for a guy like him is that he just doesn't have 90 minutes in him so he can go a full match because he hasn't played 90 minutes."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls had their losing slide extended to three matches, falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 13 matches on the season.
- The Red Bulls took the lead in the 35th minute after Timbers center back Pa Modou Kah brought down Lloyd Sam in the penalty area and referee Drew Fischer pointed to the spot. Bradley Wright-Phillips stepped up to take the spot kick and converted it for his 10th goal of the season.
- The Timbers struck back seconds before halftime. Maximiliano Urruti saw he had space and unleashed a shot from about 20 yards out that took a deflection before beating New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.
- The winner came 16 minutes before the final whistle, as Urruti struck again after a cross from the left made its way to the back post and the Timbers striker banged in the rebound.
- Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that fell 2-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. Chris Duvall came in at right back in place of Kosuke Kimura.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Armando, Jamison Olave, Bobby Convey - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Kosuke Kimura 90), Jonny Steele (Ruben Bover 76) - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andre Akpan 91+), Thierry Henry.
- FULL HIGHLIGHTS: NY 1, POR 2
- The Red Bulls suffered their third consecutive defeat, their longest losing streak since losing four in a row May 8-29, 2010, and lost for a second consecutive match at Red Bull Arena.
- "I've been in this league long enough and I've been through a hell of a lot longer and worse spells than we are in right now," said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. "Yeah, part of it is mental, but think about Portland. For as good as they are, to only have [two wins], that's nuts. That's MLS for you. I think we have confident players, but perhaps it is a mental thing, perhaps it is a little bit a lack of confidence. I don't have that answer."
- Said goalkeeper Luis Robles: "It's not just the two losses at home, we've lost three in a row so I felt like we played better today, got a little unlucky. ... We definitely played better than the Chicago game at home but three games in a row losing is never easy and so we have a quick turnaround, we got to go to a tough place, go to Kansas City and we got to do our best to right the ship."
- The Red Bulls have allowed nine goals over their last four matches, after allowing just eight goals over their previous nine games.
- "I'm trying to rack my brain for any poor passes or unforced errors out of the back," said Petke. "I think part of the second goal was the clearance, (Jamison) Olave did all he could to get that ball out and we really didn't react well we they won it and they just put it right down us."
- After seeing his four-game goalscoring streak put to an end the week before, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 10th goal of the season, tied atop the MLS Budwesier Golden Boot standings with Sporting KC's Dom Dwyer. Wright-Phillips now has nine goals over his last six games.
- "I thought we played well in the first half. Conceding that goal just before halftime killed the momentum. We got a couple of chances early in the second half, I think, and then from that point it was kind of a weird game [in both] attack and defense," said Thierry Henry. "It was kind of weird but other than that we were creating. They weren't too dangerous although they were dangerous on the counter attack. .... Story of the season so far, you know. We had most of the play in the beginning but that wasn't enough."
- Chris Duvall made his first professional start against Portland, coming in at right back. Duvall, the 22nd overall selection in the 2014 SuperDraft out of Wake Forest, had made his full professional debut the week before.
- Andre Akpan made his season debut, coming in for Wright-Phillips in stoppage time, while Ruben Bover came off the substitutes' bench for a sixth time this season.