Donnelly: Sporting in 1st Place After Win at Toronto FC

Sporting Kansas City moved into first place in the East with a 1-0 win at Toronto Saturday, two points ahead of the New York Red Bulls who visit LIVESTRONG this Sunday.

KC deserved the win on Canadian soil, dominating possession and shot attempts per usual.  Still it certainly wasn’t all that pretty.

“It was a sloppy game, this is really difficult for the style that we play when it comes to teams like Toronto,” said KC winger Kei Kamara.  “When teams sit back we don’t get to really do what we are good at.  The moments that they came at us are the moments that open up spaces…”

“It was a bit of a nothing match to be perfectly frank,” said Toronto head coach Paul Mariner.  “A bit of a stalemate and then all of a sudden they get a goal.”

The goal came off a set piece in the 83rd minute.  Paulo Nagamura drew the foul about 25 yards out and Graham Zusi set up over the ball with Kei off to the side.  Zusi touched the ball toward the center and Kei lashed a right footer past the wall and back toward the near post.  Toronto’s keeper had a nightmare trying to handle it, and though the shot didn’t look all that dangerous it somehow found the back of the net.

“It was one of those where the keeper got caught the wrong way and all that was in my head was to hit the ball on target,” said Kei.  “I got the bounce off it and that bounce gave us the three points.”

Maybe the Toronto keeper didn’t see the ball until it was too late, or maybe it just caught him off guard.

“I thought that maybe it got a nick; it didn’t seem to go in the corner,” Mariner reasoned.  “I don’t know. I’m looking at all sorts of stuff from my vantage point.”

Whatever happened, KC held on for the last 10 minutes to win their third straight match, in the process setting the team record for most away wins in a season.

“What I takeaway from the game is that it is another victory on the road, I think right now we have the best record in the league (on the road),” said KC coach Peter Vermes.

No one’s arguing with a 1-0 win away from home, but KC again struggled to finish their chances, particularly Teal Bunbury who whiffed on a breakaway and squandered a couple other decent chances in the first half.

If he finishes one of those chances the game is completely different from there on out.

Toronto would have been forced to take more chances and stretch out a bit, allowing KC to really play to its strengths.  But the league has basically figured KC out, and teams are consistently packing in and hoping to get a counterattack goal or a set piece goal unless and until KC takes a lead.

Only then are teams forced to play a more open style that favors KC’s athletic squad.


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3 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting in 1st Place After Win at Toronto FC

  1. Rick Nichols says:

    That shot, technically not a free kick, looked like it slightly deflected off of one of the players in the Toronto wall, catching the keeper leaning the wrong way. A win is a win, but the Sporting offense continues to sputter for the most part. With home matches coming up against both Houston and New York, Peter’s boys need to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net a little more often.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    This is a flawed team. Once everyone is done blowing ownership, someone might want to ask why they allowed the transfer window to close without adding a DP.

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