Preview: Midwestern rivals face off as Crew, SKC clash
COLUMBUS CREW vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
July 14, 2012 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #175)
7:30 p.m. ET (FS-OH; KSMO)
The Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City renew their Midwestern rivalry for the first time this season when the clubs face off Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew return home after another road defeat, the Montréal Impact coming back for a 2-1 win last weekend. Sporting are coming off a scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo last weekend – then advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final with a 2-0 win at Philadelphia at midweek.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 45 games; FC/gm: 22.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 5
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Kirk Urso (R adductor tendonitis); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); QUESTIONABLE: DF Carlos Mendes (R ankle sprain); DF Julius James (R adductor strain); MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain); MF Milovan Mirosevic (L adductor strain); MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Chad Marshall (concussion) … SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); GK Jon Kempin (R ankle fracture); DF Lawrence Olum (L groin strain); PROBABLE: FW Bobby Convey (L calf strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Jimmy Nielsen
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Tony Tchani … KC: Julio Cesar, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers
ALL-TIME (43 meetings): Crew 20 wins (0 shootout), 72 goals … Sporting 18 wins (2 shootout), 64 goals … Ties 5
AT COLUMBUS (43 meetings): Crew 12 wins (0 shootout), 38 goals … Sporting 8 wins (1 shootout), 32 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 7/28: Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. CT; 10/7: Columbus Crew vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/16: CLB 1, KC 0 (Rogers 53)
9/28: KC 2, CLB 1 (Kamara 15; own goal 74 – Renteria 34)
• The teams have split their two meetings each of the last two seasons.
• Sporting won, 2-1, in the first meeting at Livestrong Sporting Park last Sept. 28 – ending a three-year Columbus winning streak in K.C (all three meetings ever at CommunityAmerica Ballpark).
• Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. KC: P8 W6 L2 T0 … Peter Vermes vs. CLB: P4 W2 L2 T0
The Columbus Crew went down to a second consecutive road defeat, this time a 2-1 loss to the Montréal Impact on Sunday evening at Stade Saputo. The Crew sit in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 16 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: MTL 2, CLB 1
• The Crew took the lead in the 64th minute. From a Nemanja Vukovic corner, Milovan Milosevic put a powerful header on goal that Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts got a hand to but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net.
• But the Impact pulled level in the 78th minute, when Sanna Nyassi fed the ball to an overlapping Zarek Valentin, and the fullback coolly slotted the ball past Andy Gruenebaum from inside the area for his first MLS goal.
• Then in the 89th minute, Impact midfielder Justin Mapp was bundled over in the box by the Crew's Chris Birchall, leaving Patrice Bernier to convert the spot kick for the match-winner.
• Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made three changes to the team that eased to a 2-0 victory against Real Salt Lake at Crew Stadium. Chad Marshall came into the back four for Julius James, Kevan George started in midfield for Danny O'Rourke, and Milovan Mirosevic replaced Aaron Schoenfeld in the side.
• COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Nemanja Vukovic (Bernardo Anor 81) - Chris Birchall, Kevan George, Tony Tchani, Eddie Gaven - Milovan Mirosevic (Aaron Schoenfeld 70) - Emilio Renteria (Dilly Duka 82).
• After going six games without loss from May 5-June 16, the Crew have lost two of their last three games, both away from Crew Stadium.
• “I expect us to bounce back,” head coach Robert Warzycha said. “As I said to the players, if you lose make sure you leave everything on the field and work for it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. (In Montréal) it was not good for our players.”
• The loss was the first of the season for the Crew after scoring the opening goal; they had won five and drawn one when scoring first.
• The Crew were able to muster just one attempt on target for the match – that coming on the goal, when Milovan Mirosevic headed home a Nemanja Vukovic corner kick.
• “We’re missing a little creativity up front,” center back Josh Williams said. “I don’t know what it is. I’m just trying to do my job and let the coaches and forwards figure that out.”
• Mirosevic made his first start since June 16, just his second over the last six matches. He scored his second goal of the campaign; his opener came from the penalty spot on March 24.
• “If he would have stayed on the field probably until the last moment, maybe we would not [have given] up the goals,” Warzycha said. “But we had to take him off at 70 minutes because we were worried he was getting fatigued and not 90-minutes fit.”
• After his previous start in New England, Mirosevic did not figure a week later in Chicago, then came off the bench against Real Salt Lake. “[We are] worried that if [we] push him too much, he is going to get injured again,” Warzycha said.
• Chad Marshall, the MLS Defender of the Year on 2008 and 2009, made his return to the lineup, his first appearance since April 28, a span of nine league games.
• “To me, it’s like he’s a safety net there,” Williams said. “I’ve said time and time again he’s the best defender in the league, and you never have to really worry about him.”
• Since becoming eligible following the opening of the transfer window, Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta did not figure against Real Salt Lake or Montreal, but Warzycha said he should play against Sporting.
• “I don’t know whether he’ll be fit enough to play, but he’s definitely going to be available and hopefully he’s going to see some minutes,” Warzycha said. Said Eddie Gaven: “He adds a little bit of creativity up top that I think sometimes we’re missing. He’s very quick on the ball, very shifty. He can get a shot off in pretty much a yard of space.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City pulled back into a tie atop the Eastern Conference, after a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting now have 33 points from 18 matches.
HIGHLIGHTS: SKC 0, HOU 0
• The closest either team came to scoring came in the 33rd minute, when Sporting's Jacob Peterson ripped a low shot off the left post.
• Houston had a chance to steal the game late, but it was thwarted when defender Aurélien Collin and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen combined to stop Brian Ownby’s shot in the 90th minute.
• Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall had four saves, while Nielsen was credited with two, for their respective shutouts.
• Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made one change to the team that took a 3-1 win against the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo. Jacob Peterson came into the side in place of Teal Bunbury.
• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza - Jacob Peterson, Graham Zusi, Kei Kamara (Soony Saad 81) - C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 68).
• After recording shutouts in five of their opening six matches, Sporting have kept just two clean sheets, the second coming against Houston.
• “Our shape was something that we talked about before the game. I think it was excellent tonight, aside from the one chance that we gave them in the first half,” said defender Matt Besler. “After that, we didn’t give up anything, not even a corner kick. I think it is a great performance to build off of and the goals are going to come.”
• Sporting were kept off the scoresheet for the third time in the last four games.
• “You want to score, for sure,” Vermes said, “but you can’t mistake performance for what the result is at the end of the day. We controlled the game in a lot of different respects. We switched the point of attack. I thought our ball circulation was good. The possession was way in our favor, or it should have been. It’s not that we can’t score; we just scored 3 goals the other day.
• After missing four consecutive league matches because of a groin strain, Paulo Nagamura made his second consecutive start.
• “Paulo, Roger [Espinoza] and [Graham] Zusi did a really good job of rotating in the middle. I thought that they dealt with space very well,” said Vermes. “He is starting to get his form a little bit, but it takes games. Sometimes you hope it is going to come faster, but he’s starting to get his form back. He was able to play a solid 90 minutes tonight and his calmness and ball distribution is good.”
• Jacob Peterson made his return to the first XI, starting and playing the full 90 minutes after making back-to-back starts June 16-20.
• “I put in the hard work. That’s the most important thing I have to do. At the end of the day, we’ve got more creative players than myself who can get the ball to forwards in good spots, and I’ve got to finish,” said Peterson. “I had a couple opportunities tonight, and maybe on another day I would have finished those.”
• On Wednesday, Sporting KC advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final with a 2-0 win against Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Sporting will play host to the Open Cup final against three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 8 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
• “From the first second of the last, I thought the defending by our team … I’d give it a 10,” said Vermes. “It was perfect. We didn’t give up one good chance all night. I thought that the guys were locked in from the first second on.”
• Here’s the Sporting team: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 64), Jacob Peterson