Kick Off: Sporting KC ignore critics, steamroll Whitecaps
Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis may not be a fan of their style, but Sporting Kansas City couldn't care less. They just keep on rolling.
Frenchman Aurelien Collin scored his second goal in two games, Martin Bonjour turned a cross into his own net and Kei Kamara scored his fourth of the season as Sporting brushed aside the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at BC Place Wednesday night to move to 7-0-0, a full 11 points separated from 2nd-place New York in the Eastern Conference standings.
Peter Vermes' side absorbed waves of pressure late, which they couldn't manage to do a year ago when Camilo Sanvezzo dragged the 'Caps back from an identical 3-0 deficit to salvage a famous draw. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was to thank for that last night, making a handful of crucial saves in the late going to preserve the three points and pointing out after that this team is much more "mature than the one that blew a lead in Vancouver in 2011.
Sanvezzo provided a spark once again on Wednesday night, coming on as a substitute with his side in desperate need of a goal, but it wasn't enough to overcome the technical breakdowns that buried the 'Caps through 65 minutes. Sebastian Le Toux managed to pull a goal back in the 80th minute, bundlling in a header after a shot came back off the crossbar, but it's starting to feel like ancient history that Vancouver (2-2-2) were riding MLS' longest shutout streak to start a season.
The lowest moment for Vancouver came when Bonjour's own goal gave Sporting KC a 2-0 lead, a moment head coach Martin Rennie called a "sucker-punch," and forced the 'Caps to do some soul searching after the match : “The biggest thing for us is to see how much character we have in our locker room," Rennie said. "You only find that out when you have bad days like today."
Earlier in the night, Montreal earned their first road point of the season, as Bernardo Corradi scored first and the Impact held on late to draw D.C. United 1-1 at RFK Stadium.
It may have been somewhat of a watershed moment for the scuffling Impact, but it was no cause for celebration, with head coach Jesse Marsch saying simply, "We'll take the point." Bernardo Corradi scored for the second time in two games, an encouraging sign for Montreal, nodding in Lamar Neagle's cross in the 65th minute.
D.C. missed out on an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly three years, pushing their record to 0-10-11 in 21 chances. That wasn't lost on United's players or coaching staff, with central defender Brandon McDonald saying the streak is “something that has been weighing on our shoulders" while Ben Olsen characterized the match as a "disappointing tie, for sure."
Maicon Santos scored DC's only goal, his fourth of the season, and had another called back on a special occasion: his 28th birthday. Olsen said he didn't start Santos because he didn't think he could go 90 minutes, but said that was more due to United expectations of the Brazilian on the defensive side of the ball rather than fitness. “We were really grinding him out, " Olsen said. "He has worked as hard defensively in his entire career. It’s really helped him get fitter.”
United also said goodbye to a club legend on Wednesday, with many sharing their memories of D.C. superfan Chico Solares, who spent his time at RFK Stadium among the Barra Brava and passed away Tuesday night. The Washington Post was one of many outlets to eulogize Solares, gathering reaction from United's fanbase following the passing of a club legend.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, observers are still waiting to see whether Rafa Marquez will be disciplined for his takedown of Shea Salinas over the weekend. Brian Straus of the Sporting News goes so far as to say New York would be "foolish and self-destructive" if they didn't find a way to ship Marquez out of town this summer. ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle also pointed to the summer transfer window as the time to end the Marquez era in New York, and said a five-game ban was the proper punishment for the Mexican defender's actions against the Quakes.
Chris Rolfe trained for the first time in Chicago on Wednesday after re-signing with the Fire, and said he passed on European offers to return to the team where he made his name before moving to Denmark in 2009. Rolfe is expected to be used as a striker by Frank Klopas, and will bear down on goal in familiar surroundings. "Just driving in and seeing the stadium, I got butterflies," Rolfe told the Chicago Tribune.
With yet another option added to his depth chart, Klopas may have some shuffling to do. One writer says Rolfe is returning to MLS at the right time, but another wonders how the lineup will take shape and how much of an impact the former Aalborg man will have on a Fire attack that has been underwhelming so far.
In Mexico, Humberto Suazo and Monterrey took a commanding 2-0 lead in the CONCACAF Champions League Final after handling business at home and leaving American forward Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna with a tough road to the FIFA Club World Cup. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Suazo scored twice in the second half, his sixth and seventh goals of the competition, to give the defending CCL champions an advantage heading into the second leg in Torreon. He won't be available for that game, however, after picking up a yellow card in the fourth minute. Santos' Felipe Baloy and Omar Mares will also miss out due to suspension.
Meanwhile, Santos haven't given up hope. Gomez, who is enjoying a banner year for his new club, said part of the player's motivation is to win for their city, which has come under fire for high levels of violence because of drug trafficking. "It'd be really nice to give these people something to be proud of, for Torreón to be put on the global scale for something other than negativity or violence," Gómez said. "They live, they eat, they breath this team out here."
According to reports, Brek Shea has a new tag in Dallas, becoming the second player on the team with the Young DP label. Schellas Hyndman says it's a deal that worked for both parties. "It's so good for our league to give us the opportunity to take a home-grown player for example, and make him a young DP," Hyndman said. "It doesn't count that much against the salary cap. But one day he may be a starter for you, one day he may be a national team player for you, one day he may have opportunities to go overseas."
As a DP nears a return to the field in Toronto, many are wondering where Aron Winter should play Torsten Frings once he's ready for action. It may not be where you think. In other Toronto news, it appears Liverpool will be heading to Canada's largest city for a friendly this summer.
Portland unveiled their new training facility yesterday. It's safe to say there is plenty of green in and around the $6 million, 6,000-square foot addition to the club.
Houston set out the rules for tailgating at BBVA Compass Stadium as the days tick down toward the grand opening.
Lastly, don't miss an exclusive Kick TV interview with US national team midfielder Stuart Holden. And if you haven't subscribed yet to Kick TV, get on it now at this link.
Rookie Rankings: Urso moves into top five
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