On a hot humid Saturday, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park was packed – even the standing room- for a game against one of the worst teams in the league…
The club reported it was the highest attended game of the season despite that Toronto entered the contest sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with only one win to its credit. And Toronto coach and Dutch legend Aron Winter, was canned just a week or two ago after failing in his effort to bring total soccer to Canada.
Judging from Toronto’s play Saturday, current coach Paul Mariner may not be long for this world either.
Sporting started the game with a bit of a new look due to the fact that Matt Besler had an emergency appendectomy last week, and Kei Kamara is still out for national team duty with Sierra Leone. (Kei scored two goals for his country on Saturday night). Filling in for Besler at center back was little-used Lawrence Olum, and Jacob Peterson got his second start for Kei on the wing. Also, Roger Espinoza returned from his duties with Honduras, so fill-in Peterson Joseph was relegated to the bench.
From the get go KC was pressuring Toronto, pumping the ball into its box and creating a few legit half chances. For the first 20 minutes Toronto saw very little of the ball and were largely pinned in their own defensive third, struggling to create anything or keep possession.
Then in the 18th minute the inevitable happened.
KC’s CJ Sapong stuck a one-timer in the back of the net off a low cross from Jacob Peterson to put the boys in blue in front 1-0. Sapong celebrated his team-leading 5th goal with a back-flip ala Ozzie Smith.
Sporting never looked back.
There were a couple scares. For example when in the 30th minute Toronto forward Eric Avila got in behind the KC defense after German international Torsten Frings played a classy ball over the top. Jimmy Nielsen was forced to come off his line and beaten by the shot, but the ball caromed off one post and then the other without going in before Aurelien Collin was able to clear the ball over the end line.
Minutes later KC’s Julio Cesar stomped on the Canadians’ necks with a goal for the ages.
It came off a full volley off a long Graham Zusi corner that the Brazilian rifled into the top of the net.
"What a finish that was," Zusi said after the game. "That’s one of the goals of the season, for sure—just a perfect volley. It’s a great moment for him. I can’t take credit for any of that one."
After that Toronto might as well have loaded up its flannel and headed for the border because this puppy was over by half with KC dominating possession 70%-30%, and virtually every other statistical category.
KC almost notched its third a mere 10 seconds into the second half when Sapong flicked a header into the path of a streaking Teal Bunbury, but Toronto’s keeper did well with it and came up with a nice diving save.
Teal continued to give Toronto fits using his speed to track down long through balls in the corners and sending in crosses or cutting back to the top of the box. Although he didn’t get on the board, this was definitely one of the better efforts from Teal this season. Let’s hope he continues to be aggressive like this going forward.
With the 2-0 win, Sporting put itself in 2nd in the East at 28 points, just two points behind DC who have played three more games than KC.
Sporting has a quick turnaround, heading to Seattle for a Wednesday game before jetting across the country to Philly for a Saturday showdown with the Union.