Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
August 3, 2013 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #206) 5:30 p.m. CT (NBC SN)

Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls meet in a huge match at the top of the Eastern Conference when they provide the centerpiece for NBC Breakaway as they meet Saturday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting lead the Eastern Conference by two points ahead of New York, despite coming off a late 1-0 loss at the Montréal Impact last weekend. The Red Bulls had some late dramatics of their own, tightening the race with a late 4-3 home win against Real Salt Lake.


REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): George Gansner; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 42 games; FC/gm: 23.0; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 10; pens: 14

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Seth Sinovic, Oriol Rosell … NY: Tim Cahill
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Lawrence Olum, Peterson Joseph … NY: Jamison Olave

ALL-TIME (47 meetings): Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 60 goals… Red Bulls 17 wins (2 shootout), 55 goals… Ties 11
AT KC (24 meetings): Sporting 14 wins (2 shootout), 37 goals … Red Bulls 7 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals … Ties 3

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Aurelien Collin scored the game’s only goal in the 13th minute to give Sporting a win April 17 at Red Bull Arena.
  • New York last won in the series on April 30, 2011, the last of three consecutive victories vs. Kansas City (all by shutout). In the five meetings since, SKC has won three times, with two draws.
  • Sporting came away with points on both of their visits to Red Bull Arena a year ago, winning 2-0 on Sept. 19 then playing to a scoreless draw on Oct. 20, as the teams met three times in the final three months of the season.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. NY: P8 W4 L2 D2 … Mike Petke vs. KC: P1 W0 L1 D0

4/17: NY 0, KC 1 (Collin 13)

  • The game's lone goal came in the 13th minute. Graham Zusi whipped in a corner kick from the right and Aurelien Collin fought off tight marking from Jamison Olave to create some space to head home the ball from the heart of the box into the top corner.
  • SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded three saves to extend his and the club's shutout streak to more than seven hours and five full games on the trot.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Luis Robles - Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave (Heath Pearce 33), Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty - Eric Alexander (Ruben Bover 66), Juninho (sent off 91+), Tim Cahill (Marius Obekop 77) - Fabian Espindola, Thierry Henry.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-4-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell - Graham Zusi, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber (Peterson Joseph 70), C.J. Sapong - Claudio Bieler (Lawrence Olum 74)

Sporting Kansas City had their undefeated streak put to an end after six matches, falling 1-0 to the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. Sporting are in first place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 21 matches.


  • The game's lone goal came well into second-half stoppage time. Taking advantage of a smart dummy by Patrice Bernier, Marco Di Vaio fed an unmarked Blake Smith coming in from the left wing, and he coolly slid his finish through SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's legs to secure a stunning win.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Lawrence Olum came into central defense in place of the suspended Aurelien Collin.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-3-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic - Peterson Joseph (Benny Feilhaber 46), Oriol Rosell, Graham Zusi - Kei Kamara, Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 80), Soony Saad (C.J. Sapong 90).


  • Sporting lost for the first time since June 1, when they suffered a 2-1 loss to the Montréal Impact at Sporting Park. Sporting have lost twice in the last 11 games – both times to Montréal.
  • “I think we deserved the point out of this game. I don’t say we deserved the three but we deserve a point,” said Vermes. “It’s unfortunate when you spend that much time in the game, working so hard and then the last second you lose. This is the business we’re in.”
  • SKC was also shut out at the attacking end for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Seattle on May 8.
  • “I thought we got some decent chances, away from home. We tried to create as much as we do at home but I thought we did well to create some good ones. Unfortunately, we couldn’t put it away,” said midfielder Graham Zusi.
  • Sporting also saw their five-game undefeated streak on the road come to an end, their last lost in a road match coming on April 20 in a 2-0 loss at the LA Galaxy.
  • “I thought we did enough to get a point on the road,” Vermes said. “I thought we had good play during the course of the game. I thought defensively we were extremely solid and didn't give them too much. I thought we were very disciplined, which we needed to be on the road. Unfortunately, they made that last play.”
  • Lawrence Olum made his first start in central defense, alongside Ike Opara, with Aurelien Collin suspended and Matt Besler on CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the USA. Olum had made three previous starts this season, all in a defensive midfield role.
  • “I thought they did very well, actually,” Vermes said. “I don't think they've ever played together before, and I thought that they did a very good job on a player that I have a lot of respect for in regards to his game, and that's [Montreal's Marco] Di Vaio. He's a very good player, and they really didn't give him too much. So from that perspective, I thought it was excellent.”
  • It was the second time this season Sporting allowed the game’s only goal well into stoppage time for a loss – Djimi Traoré scored for Seattle on May 8 four minutes into stoppage time. It also came in the game following an SKC win at Real Salt Lake through a goal four minutes into stoppage time.
  • “Unfortunately for us, we didn’t defend very well on this goal, as a team, and they did a good job at scoring,” said goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. “Last week we were extremely lucky to score in seventh minute of overtime and this time, a little unlucky; we conceded a goal in the 95th minute.”

READ: Sporting Kansas City make 16-year-old Erik Palmer-Brown third Homegrown signing

The New York Red Bulls won for a third consecutive match on their home ground in dramatic circumstances, getting two late goals for a 4-3 win against Real Salt Lake. The Red Bulls are in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points from 22 matches.


  • The Red Bulls were up 2-0 by the 23rd minute. First, in the 11th minute, Tim Cahill lost his mark and headed home a lofted free kick from Thierry Henry. The lead was doubled after Abdoulie Mansally was whistled for a foul on Brandon Barklage in the penalty area by referee Silviu Petrescu, and Fabian Espindola chipped homethe ensuing spot kick.
  • But Real took the lead through an Alvaro Saborio hat-trick. Just before halftime, Markus Holgersson was whistled for bringing down Olmes Garcia in the 18-yard box Saborio converted the ensuing opportunity.
  • Saborio then scored his second of the game in the 80th minute, squeezing a low shot past Robles from about 15 yards out. Saborio gave RSL the lead two minutes later, doing brilliantly to create space for himself and place a shot out of Robles' reach.
  • But the Red Bulls pulled level in the 89th minute when Espindola was brought down by Aaron Maund in the penalty area and he converted his own spot kick. Then in the 94th minute, Dax McCarty headed home a Brandon Barklage cross from the right flank to send Red Bull Arena into a frenzy.
  • Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made one change to the team that came away from Toronto FC with a scoreless draw at BMO Field. Roy Miller came in at left back for Kosuke Kimura.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill (Lloyd Sam 85), Jonny Steele (Peguy Luyindula 87) - Fabian Espindola (Marius Obekop 90), Thierry Henry.


WATCH: Dax McCarty among the MLS players in Microsoft "Shirts Off" series | THE SIDELINE


  • The Red Bulls won their third consecutive game at Red Bull Arena, where they’ve scored 10 goals. It was the fourth time this season where New York conceded three goals, the first they won.
  • “It says a lot. It says a lot,” Dax McCarty said. “It says that you better not be Miami Heat fans and leave before the final whistle. I’m just proud of the team. You have a lot of teams that would probably fold there and say, ‘Listen, Salt Lake is a veteran team. They’re one of the best teams in the league, they’re going to lock it up and you’re not going to get many chances. But we created and earned everything we got tonight. … At the end of the day, it’s a result that can push a team forward. It’s a result that can define a season.”
  • The Red Bulls suffered a massive blow when it was revealed that Tim Cahill suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee following a challenge by RSL’s Yordany Alvarez in the fourth minute.
  • “It’s a very big loss to us,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “It was a very reckless and careless challenge. I don’t think it was intentional, I don’t think Salt Lake plays like that, but I think it was just a very careless challenge to the knee and it’s going to be a big loss for us. The fortunate part of it, is that [we’re] looking at a three- to four-week recovery time. That’s if he sticks to the treatment, which of course he will, and if the treatment goes well. That’s soccer, that’s life and we have to figure out ways to just do without him.”
  • Before he was injured, Cahill scored his sixth goal of the season, his second in the last three games. Cahill is one goal behind Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola for the Red Bulls lead.
  • “This team’s got a lot of character,” said Cahill. “If we would have lost this game today, [the media] would have thrown the kitchen sink at us and there’s a lot of pressure going into the [upcoming] game against Kansas City, because that’s a massive game as well. Overall, when you look at it, it’s just such a great game to be a part of. After I got the knock, I just didn’t want to miss the game. They’re the best team in the league and you don’t want to miss games like that. Now, you look at it and it’s all worth it in the end.”
  • With the loss of Cahill, Eric Alexander is expected to return to the center of midfield alongside Dax McCarty. Lloyd Sam came on for Cahill for the final five minutes vs. RSL.
  • “You have a guy like Lloyd [Sam], who has shown some good stuff late in the game,” said Petke. “There are some things about Lloyd as far as putting him in a 90-minute game with all the defensive work you have to do and the quick going forward. A guy like Kosuke [Kimura], Brandon [Barklage] could step up, Marius Obekop. We have some options. It’s just a matter of who’s going to fill the need of how we want to play.”

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