Donnelly: My Notebook — French Champs Dominate Sporting

French League 1 champions Montpellier Herault SC put a 3-0 beatdown on a depleted Sporting Kansas City squad Tuesday at LIVESTRONG.

KC’s lineup didn’t feature a single starter other than Julio Cesar who’s started a handful of games this season, but lately has been on bench warming duty.  Graham Zusi, Aurelien Collin, and Jimmy Nielsen were in Philly for Wednesday night’s All-Star matchup with EPL giants Chelsea.  So was coach Peter Vermes, leaving assistant Kerry Zavagnin at the helm against the French champs.  Roger Espinoza is in London representing Honduras for the Olympics.

So it was more than a little disappointing not to see Sporting’s “A” team out there and be able to judge them against a true, near-world class team.

Instead we saw KC’s reserves get taught a lesson in style.  Montpellier controlled, well, pretty much everything, and didn’t allow their hosts a single shot on goal.  Certainly, KC’s regulars would’ve fared better, but the Frenchies are on a different level and likely still would have won the game.

Instead of giving you the blow by blow, here are my notes from the game- reproduced verbatim – an inside look into the twisted mind of a soccer junkie…

A really different lineup for Sporting.  Is there a single regular starter out there?  Don’t think so. 

Apparently, Soony is not fast. 

Game is poorly attended, fairly slow pace as well. 

Montpellier is dominating the game.  Much classier players, better skills, more savvy.  Sporting looks like amateurs comparatively.  KC gets two guys forward and into a play.  Montpellier gets six involved. 

You never see Montpellier hitting the ball long out of the back, and they rarely settle for a cross offensively.  That being said they scored the first goal off a sort of cross, more of a straight on long ball that one of their forwards flicked under Kronberg’s outstretched arm. 

Dom Dwyer looks completely ineffective, cannot turn the ball at all.  Getting knocked down anytime he checks to a pass. 

KC with a half chance on the break, rather than doing something subtle Kevin Ellis drives a cross right into the French defender who is standing there.  

KC falling apart around the 70th minute.  Montpellier scores second goal, classy little through ball, touch around keeper, slips it in from little angle.  Harrington yelling at Peterson Joseph.  

Why does KC only want to cross the ball? Whyyyyyyyy?

Crowd starting to clear out around 83rd minute. 

Horrible long speculative shot from Nagamura. 

The merciful final whistle….. 

So there you have it.  Was it ugly and hard to watch at times as a Sporting fan?  Hell yes.

But it was also a good example of where we want to be eventually.  Hopefully KC gained some invaluable experience from playing against such a polished team, and can take some positives from what turned out to be an unfair fight.

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7 Responses to Donnelly: My Notebook — French Champs Dominate Sporting

  1. smartman says:

    Getting beat by the French at ANYTHING is UNFORGIVABLE! Embarrassing for SKC under any circumstances.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    WAY too many of these games now, especially in the heat of summer.

  3. the dude says:

    Would have gone but glad I didn’t. Too hot and sounds like too many youngsters on the pitch at one time. You can bet that Montpelier were not playing many of their starters either, they never do on these tours.

  4. Matthew Donnelly says:

    Actually dude, Montpellier played almost all their players- including starters- at least one half. They were definitely fun to watch, but yes, it was kind of warm out there.

  5. legendaryhog says:

    Montpellier made a ton of subs at half, I think I was told 9 in all. So the second half was against the “b” and/or “c” Montpellier squad. Sporting’s bench players looked fucking awful out there. Like a bad college team. I left ten minutes early to go drink beer in the parking lot.

  6. Rick Nichols says:

    I was at the game because, well, my grandfather once attended the University of Montpellier (1919, the same year the Montpellier team was first organized), I have a bit of French in my ancestry, and I wanted to see how Sporting stacked up against a team from another country, especially a league winner. Like you, I was disappointed not to have seen some of the KC regulars in the match for a significant portion of the full 90. The ones we sent onto the pitch were definitely outclassed.

  7. Rick Nichols says:

    The headline in The Star on Wednesday began with “Zut alors!” which I figured must have meant “no goals” since it went on say “French champs blank Sporting in friendly.” Curious, I decided to look for a definition via the Internet and found out that “Zut alors!” basically means “damn it!” Well, my feelings exactly after making the long drive to the stadium, shelling out $20 for a ticket (money I really don’t have anymore), and then sitting there for two hours with the mercury in the upper 90s watching KC’s reserves get schooled by the French. I’m sorry, but as a rule I think the back-up players need to be playing only during “garbage time” when a game is out of hand one way or the other. Too often the Wiz, Wizards and Sporting have taken this same approach to the U.S. Open, fielding too many reserves for a match, and it has ultimately come back to haunt them.