Preview: Sporting look to hold their ground against TFC
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs TORONTO FC
LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
September 1, 2012 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #251)
7:30 p.m. CT (KSMO; SNET One)
The teams at the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference meet when Sporting Kansas City take on Toronto FC at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting lead the division and are three points off the Supporters’ Shield pace after a 1-1 home draw with New York last weekend. TFC saw their winless run extended to six games in their last league match, a 1-1 draw at Houston. The teams have met twice this season, Sporting winning both, including a 1-0 win two weeks ago.
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Anthony Vasoli; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Leszek Stalmach
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 21.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 1; pens: 1
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SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: FW Teal Bunbury (L knee ACL tear); DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); FW Jacob Peterson (R shoulder sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Bobby Convey (R hamstring strain); GK Jon Kempin (R ankle fracture) … TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear); DF Ty Harden (lower abdominal strain); DF Doneil Henry (L knee tendinosis); QUESTIONABLE: FW Eric Hassli (back spasms); DF Matt Stinson (R quadriceps strain); MF Reggie Lambe (R knee MCL sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: KC: Aurelien Collin (caution accumulation; through Sept. 2)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Roger Espinoza, Chance Myers … TOR: Terry Dunfield, Torsten Frings, Ashtone Morgan
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Julio Cesar, Jimmy Nielsen, Paulo Nagamura, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi … TOR: Richard Eckersley, Ryan Johnson, Reggie Lambe, Doneil Henry, Eric Hassli
- ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Sporting 7 wins, 17 goals … Toronto FC 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 4
- AT KC (7 meetings): Sporting 5 wins, 15 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 1
- 2012 (MLS)
- 6/16: KC 2, TOR 0 (Sapong 18; Julio César 35)
- 8/18: TOR 0, KC 1 (Kamara 83)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Goals from C.J. Sapong and Julio César led Sporting to a 2-0 win June 16 at Livestrong Sporting Park, Paul Mariner’s first game as TFC head coach. Kei Kamara scored the game’s only goal in an SKC victory, Aug. 18 at BMO Field.
- Sporting have a six-game unbeaten streak alive vs. Toronto FC. The last TFC victory in the series came in the second meeting in 2009, a 1-0 win in Toronto.
- Sporting have won the last three home meetings with TFC, including both encounters at Livestrong Sporting Park.
- The Sporting victory in the last meeting was their first at BMO Field since 2007. Toronto FC had won two of their five home meetings in between, with three draws.
- Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. TOR: P6 W4 L0 D2 … Paul Mariner v KC: P2 W0 L2 D0
- The game's lone goal came in the 83rd minute. SKC's Graham Zusi tapped a dangerous free kick into the path of Kei Kamara and his shot deflected off the defensive wall and the fingertips of goalkeeper Milos Kocic before settling in the back of the net.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Doneil Henry (Logan Emory 36), Darren O'Dea, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Luis Silva, Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Andrew Wiedeman (Quincy Amarikwa 86) - Ryan Johnson, Eric Hassli.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-3-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Julio Cesar (Lawrence Olum 88) - Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara (C.J. Sapong 86).
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City saw their winning streak end but moved their undefeated run to four games, playing to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting are in first place in the Eastern Conference, with 47 points from 26 matches.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
- Sporting took the lead after just four minutes. Graham Zusi lofted a ball over the top from midfield, and Teal Bunbury chipped it over center back Markus Holgersson as Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette came off his line. Kei Kamara outjumped defender Connor Lade and headed the ball into an empty net.
- The visitors drew even with some good fortune in the 28th minute. Sebastien Le Toux lofted a long free kick from the left flank toward Tim Cahill on the back post. Sporting ’keeper Jimmy Nielsen didn’t come out to challenge for the ball, and Kamara’s attempt to head it away instead found the back of Sporting’s net.
- Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made no changes to the team that knocked off Toronto FC 1-0 at BMO Field.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-3-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza - Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 14), Kei Kamara.
- While Sporting saw their three-game winning streak come to an end – the club’s longest since winning the first seven games of the season – they did extend their unbeaten streak to four games.
- “It’d be great to have the three points, but at the same time, I feel that the dominating performance that we had in regards to being all over them – never really letting them have any of the run of the play – it says a lot about our game,” said Sporting manager Peter Vermes. “And, these are what the games are going to be like when we hopefully get into the playoffs. It’s going to be the same way – we’re going to play with the same kind of performances.”
- Kei Kamara scored for the second time in as many games and netted his 10th of the season, matching his single-season career-high set in 2009. Kamara has now hit for 29 goals over the last three seasons.
- “I think that we started the game exactly how we wanted to – with high pressure. We were all over them for the first 20-30 minutes of the game, and that’s when we got the goal,” said defender Matt Besler. “Overall, we are happy with the effort that we have put in. The goals didn’t go in tonight, but we are still in the position we want to be in. We’re just going to take the next seven to eight games a game at a time.”
- Teal Bunbury recorded his first assist of the season on Kamara’s goal. But in a collision with Red Bulls center back Markus Holgersson on the play, he suffered a torn ACL and damaged MCL in his knee and will be out for 6-8 months.
- “It’s a tough break,” Vermes said. “He put a lot of time and energy into getting into the form that he was in. But that’s part of the business that we’re in. You work so hard to get to a certain point, and then something happens to where you’re out for a good period of time. He’s had a huge impact on the team that we’ve grown into.”
- Graham Zusi also collected an assist for a third consecutive game, his fourth in the last five games after going a month without one. He is now second in MLS with 12 assists, one behind Seattle’s Mauro Rosales.
- Sporting could have attackers Bobby Convey and Jacob Peterson both available for selection again soon. Convey has missed three consecutive league matches with hamstring soreness, while Peterson has been out for four MLS games with a sprained right shoulder.
- “Jacob will enter training this week for a full practice, which is great,” Vermes said. “Convey is getting close to that as well. It’s just about getting those guys back in for the final stretch of the season.”
Toronto FC saw their winless run stretched to six games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 21 points from 26 games.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
- The Dynamo took the lead 21 minutes in through striker Will Bruin, who hit a deft chip from 12 yards, taking advantage of a charging Freddy Hall to sneak the ball under the crossbar. Bruin’s tally was the direct result of some sublime build-up play from Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark. But pushing for a late equalizer, TFC found one five minutes from full time.
- Terry Dunfield made a streaking run through the box to latch onto a pinpoint cross from Darren O’Dea after a quick throw-in, and completely free in the box, he hit a sharp header that Tally Hall could only parry off the bar and into the net.
- TFC head coach Paul Mariner made four changes to the team that dropped a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Logan Emory and Jeremy Hall came into the back four for Dicoy Williams and Ashtone Morgan, Aaron Maund started in midfield for Torsten Frings and Quincy Amarikwa came in up top for Eric Hassli.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Freddy Hall - Richard Eckersley, Darren O'Dea, Logan Emory (Ashtone Morgan 69), Jeremy Hall - Aaron Maund, Andrew Wiedeman (Eric Avila 59), Terry Dunfield, Ryan Johnson - Quincy Amarikwa (Adrian Cann 90), Luis Silva.
- While Toronto FC were able to stop a two-game losing skid, they did see their league winless streak extended to six games, the longest under head coach Paul Mariner.
- “I thought we played very well,” defender Darren O’Dea said. “I think we could have won in the end, but we definitely improved our performance and now hopefully the results will come and if we keep playing hard we will win more than we lose.”
- Freddy Hall made a second consecutive start in goal for TFC, having allowed three goals in the two games, all from open play.
- “I’m very proud,” Mariner said. “It’s a change of mentality. You challenge your players because it’s something you don’t want: conceding on set pieces. … I thought Freddy [Hall] was terrific in goal in his second game and Darren O’Dea was absolutely terrific. The young guys coming in have done absolutely fantastic.”
- Terry Dunfield scored his second MLS goal – his first that didn’t come against a former club. He scored once for Vancouver Whitecaps FC – against Toronto – and his first goal for TFC came in his first game vs. Vancouver.
- Darren O’Dea collected his first assist in MLS, making his third consecutive start. “I just put it into an area and it was a fantastic header,” O’Dea said. “I was delighted that we got something out of the game because we deserved it.”
- Veteran midfielder Torsten Frings was kept out of the team ahead of the midweek game in the CONCACAF Champions League, and Eric Hassli was also unavailable after developing back spasms following the Columbus match.
- On Tuesday, Toronto FC lost 3-1 to Mexico’s Santos Laguna at BMO Field in their second group match in the CONCACAF Champions League. Goals from Daniel Luduena and Candido Ramirez after the 90th minute gave Santos the victory, after Darwin Quintero and TFC’s Quincy Amarikwa traded goals earlier in the second half.
- Here’s the TFC team: Freddy Hall; Ashtone Morgan, Darren O’Dea, Richard Eckersley, Jeremy Hall; Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Andrew Wiedeman; Luis Silva, Eric Hassli (Quincy Amarikwa 46)
- “There’s nowhere near that was a 3-1 game,” Mariner said. “I thought we were a little tentative the first half. I thought the second half we were much better. They’re a very good team and we matched them for 89 minutes.”