Donnelly: That’s More Like It! Sporting Man-Handles Toronto, Matches Longest Unbeaten Streak

Kamara Up for GOTW

Remember the last Sporting KC game, the one I called a ‘snoozefest’?

Well, Saturday night’s game was certainly a welcome contrast to last week’s friendly against English Premier League club Newcastle United.

First of all, there were goals scored.  Six of them!

Some fans I spoke with after the game described it as the most entertaining of the season so far. 

I’m guessing Kei Kamara‘s bicycle kick goal to open the scoring had something to do with it…

And it’s a beaut.  If you haven’t seen it, go over to SportingKC.com and check it out. Then vote for it – it’s been nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.

Here’s how it went down:

In the opening minutes Toronto FC generated some real dangerous scoring chances.  One of these chances required a ridiculous save from SKC MVP (in my opinion) Jimmy Nielsen, who lunged across the goal mouth just in time to get a hand on a point blank shot, and parried it over the cross bar. 

Without some huge play from Jimmy early, this game could’ve easily been 2-0 about fifteen minutes in. Looking Back: PV and Co. on Toronto

Now, cue Kei Kamara, last season’s bright spot who has been struggling to find the net as of late.  Sporting won a corner and new designated player Jeferson swung in one to the near post, which bounced awkwardly off a Toronto player’s thigh.  As the ball floated high, Kamara inverted, whipped his right boot into the air, and lashed his shot into the back of the net before Toronto’s keeper even knew what happened. 

Then, Kamara celebrated – Thriller style – complete with choreographed ghoul dance. 

But he wasn’t done. 

Moments later he connected again, this time off a Roger Espinoza cross to the back post, where he soared high to meet the ball with his head and pounded it down into the goal line.

Textbook finish.

At halftime SKC led 3-0, as Omar Bravo tallied a nice breakaway finish, again assisted by new guy Jeferson.  At that point, the full three points were comfortably in hand, but Toronto did not give up.

They notched a goal in the 50th minute to bring the score to 3-1, but Bravo responded again, with an easy finish off a nice Chance Myers cross on the ground right in front of the net. 

But Toronto again tallied in the 72nd minute, and that’s how it would end, with Sporting winning the game 4-2.

This is the squad’s 12th straight match without a loss, matching their all-time record in MLS.  And there is some real optimism surrounding this team now. 

"I’ve been proud of this group of guys, as we have moved through this season, we have learned some lessons along the way," said KC coach Peter Vermes after holding off Toronto.  "Now, we got a good week to rest our guys and we don’t have to travel in between, which is even better."

But there are definitely some questions to be answered.  Like, what the hell is wrong with Teal Bunbury?

Early in the season I spoke with Teal and his confidence couldn’t have been higher.   He had just debuted and scored a goal with the US Men’s Team, was looked at as a rising star in the MLS, and maybe even abroad. And there were serious questions about whether the MLS could keep him through the end of this season. 

Now, well, it’s a bit different.  Teal struggles to even sniff the field.  When he does get out there it’s almost as if the coaching staff is trying their hardest to put him in positions he can succeed at. 

But he doesn’t. 

Even three goals up against the worst team in MLS (Toronto) Teal’s first touch let him down again and again.  His body language on the field exposes his total lack of confidence, and he contributes very, very little to his team right now. 

He should’ve had a breakaway goal late in the second half, but he tripped over the ball and eventually gave it up. 

It’s definitely not a good situation for a player that was, just a month or two ago, seen as a rising young US star. 

But the question is, with Sporting hitting their stride as they have been the last dozen games, should we even waste time wondering what will become of Teal Bunbury?

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