Sporting Kansas City 4 – 0 FC Dallas

SKCvsDAL3

SKC vs DAL

Sporting Kansas City 4 – 0 FC Dallas

 

Coming into this match, it was supposed to be just that – a match.  With two teams that are very similar in player skill and formation, rankings and method of play. 

May 30, 2015

Add to that Dallas coming with a strong second place in the Western Conference table, but just one above number three Sporting Kansas.  Still, Kansas has a home advantage that is showing with a nearly-sold-out Sporting Park Stadium, packed with great, loud and dedicated home fans.

FC Dallas is coming into the match after somewhat of a mixed month, starting May with a bang, with 2 wins (over Huston Dynamo away and LA Galaxy at home), moving on to tie with the New York RedBulls at home, and followed by a loss to Montreal Impact away.  Dallas is ranked 2nd in the MLS Western Conference (5-4-2) with a total of 18 goals this season.

Sporting Kansas City ranked 3rd in the MLS Western Conference, just below Dallas.  Again, with May being somewhat of a mixed month.  Opening up with a win (on Chicago Fire, at home), on to a tie with D.C. United away, a win over New England Revolution at home, and their last match ending up as a goalless tie with Seattle Sounders.  Sporting Kansas City so far this season scored a total of 17 goals (4-2-6).

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Image Source: MLSsoccer

The last time both teams played was at FC Dallas in March, ending up with a 3-1 victory to the hosts over Sporting Kansas City.  Although Dallas’s Fabian Castillo, who was responsible for a goal and assist in this match is not playing tonight due to injury.

So all in all, entering this MLS match are two of the Western Conference strongest contenders, which on paper seem to be equally capable.  Both teams are trying to build momentum, and thus have a lot to gain from this game.  So, everything is set up to have a great evening watching this MLS soccer spectacle.

FC Dallas have a more condensed midfield with Blas Perez (who scored 2 goals against Kansas at the last match between the two) at the tip as a single forward, he is still backed up with attacking midfielders such as Mauro Diaz.  Sporting Kansas City are starting with a solid midfield including Benny Feilhaber and Soni Mustivar, supporting three forwards, namely attacking names like Graham Zusi and Kristian Nemeth.

So despite a somewhat different formation, both teams seem to be equally balanced, with a good attack, solid midfield that can organize the game and control the ball, and a solid defence that should be able to contain opposition.

The first 10 minutes of the game appear to be hectic, with both sides running around and passing sporadically, and in the same random manner reacting to opposition by creating unnecessary fouls.  Starting with a foul by Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber (1’), followed by another foul by his teammate Soni Mustivar (5’), then another foul by Dallas’ Zach Lloyd (6’), another by Kansas’ Roger Espinoza (7’) and more. The positive outcome was interesting first minutes of the game with several free kicks right after kickoff.  Who could even say that Major League Soccer is boring??

 

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Image Source: MLSsoccer

Around 15 minutes into the game however, both teams seem to calm down and find their rhythm.  Still, Kansas City looks a lot more dangerous, with most attacks happening in the Dallas half.  If there is one hope for Dallas FC it is Midfielder Mauro Diaz, who seems to calm things down and put a system in place as soon as he gets the ball.

However, hopes for Dallas didn’t last for long, as Kansas City score their first goal of the match (19’), with Graham Zusi taking a free kick, Kevin Ellis takes an amazing leap with a header and positions the ball right in front of Krisztian Nemeth, who scores his 6th goal in this MLS season. Kansas 1 – 0 Dallas.

Sporting Kansas City appeared to be in total control of the game, creating many chances and appearing very dangerous to Dallas, with Kansas taking in the first half 7 shorts, versus Dallas’ 1 shot all throughout the first half.  Things took a turn for the worse for Dallas, as Defender Zach Loyd brings down Kansas’ Nemeth for the second time, receives a second yellow card and is sent off (43’).  So two minutes into halftime, and FC Dallas are one-man and one point down.

Coming back onto the pitch for the second half, Dallas’s Forward Blas Perez is replaced by Midfielder Rolando Escobar.  Probably an attempt by Dallas Manager Oscar Pareja to have Escobar fill in for Loyd on the left side, push Tesho Akindele forward and add more speed to the attack.  It seems as a sensible move that almost proves itself, with Akindele taking a great right-footed shot from the centre of the box, to be declined by Kansas keeper Tim Melia (49’).

No more than 2 minutes later, Nemeth sets up Benny Feilhaber for an easy tap, with another goal for Kansas City (51’).  Kansas 2 – 0 Dallas.

And another 5 minutes to follow, and Kevin Ellis gets his own, well-deserved first goal of this match and the MLS season (57’).  Again with one of his amazing capabilities to play high (it was another header).  Kansas 3 – 0 Dallas.

And Kansas City finish the match with yet another fantastic goal, with a brilliant dribble and back-heal assist from Connor Hallisey, Graham Zusi scores yet another nail in FC Dallas’s coffin for this match (64’).  Kansas 4 – 0 Dallas.

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Image Source: SportSpyder

A few more changes were done by Kansas, more in Kansas Manager’s Peter Vermes way of refreshing the ranks and giving opportunities to younger players to come onto the game.

The Dallas FC substitutions later in the game were questionable though.  Taking off a crucial player like Mauro Diaz (72’) who would be Dallas’s only chance for a goal at this late stage, signalled that Dallas Manager Oscar Pareja pretty much gave up on the match and was already looking to save Diaz for next week.  This, and followed by another substation that had nothing to do with performance, taking off Tesho Akindele (74’) – sent a very problematic message to the rest of the Dallas Squad, that the game is over and there’s no point to continue fighting.  This self-serving cynicism does not have place in Major League Soccer, which is still displaying true values of sportsmanship compared to other big leagues around the world.

To sum up, everything about Sporting Kansas City has been solid tonight, with a lot of consistency that although playing good soccer at times – Dallas lacked altogether.

Looking forward to Sporting Kansas City’s next game against Seattle Sounders next Saturday (June 6th), hopefully it would not end up in yet another goalless tie.  The way Kansas looked like tonight, it’s highly unlikely.