“It was a straight battle. It wasn’t technical, it was wet, muddy, it was just a game that tested heart and spirit.”
That was CJ Sapong – who netted both KC goals – after a scrappy 2-1 Sporting KC win over Toronto FC.
The game really could have gone either way, with both squads failing to capitalize on their ample chances throughout the afternoon.
KC struck first, with a nice combo play that saw Graham Zusi play a long cross over everyone to Dom Dwyer, who nodded the ball back towards the spot where Sapong was wide open for the simple header.
But Toronto capitalized on an Aurelien Collin giveaway in the back to even things up before halftime.
Sapong, though, kept working and put his head on another cross into the box, beating his defender easily to the ball for the point blank winner.
Toronto had its chances, too. But they didn’t do themselves any favors in the last 15 minutes, melting down with a defender sent off for a bad tackle, and two coaches ejected for verbal abuse of the referees.
And the refs were terrible – which is nothing new. But with the drenched field and the lack of any control over the game, they created a rather dangerous atmosphere for the players by being wildly inconsistent, showing cards on some normal fouls, and swallowing the whistle on other aggressive plays that warranted more than just a free kick.
And that’s really all Toronto wanted to talk about afterwards.
“I think it was the linesmen,” answered Toronto boss Ryan Nelsen when asked what he was ejected for. “He was under a bit of pressure, the crowd was on him. He had made some obvious errors. He was just under a bit of pressure.”
I love the fake compassion that Nelsen spewed, minutes after audio caught him just tearing into the linesman, dropping f-bombs right and left toward the end of the game.
“(L)ook at their goal,” Nelsen awesomely continued. “It was even softer than our two. The ball comes in, our guys about to score and it hits the guy’s hand. It’s a (blatant) penalty and it’s a goal.”
Nelson was just getting warmed up:
“When Justin Braun‘s about to hit the ball, Aurelien Collin isn’t even looking at the ball and grabs him and throws him over the end line. That’s another goal and we would have won the game. They’re just errors, they’re soft errors, they’re soft goals, but I should be talking about having two penalties, two clear penalties, stone cold penalties and we would have won the game and their coach is talking about the soft goals that we gave up.”
Like CJ said, it wasn’t pretty, and KC was more than a little lucky – I mean, Sporting’s back line cleared at least two balls off its own endline in the final minutes.
But in the end, it was a huge win for a team that’s still in the hunt for the top billing in the Eastern Conference.
“I think we got a favorable result with Montreal losing today,” said KC defender Seth Sinovic. “So it’s kind of a three team race to the top right now and we’ve been on a little bit of a run so hopefully we can keep that going.”