Crew lose a heartbreaker in the waning moments of the match
With seconds to spare in Wednesday’s match, the Columbus Crew let in a late goal, sending the team to their second consecutive loss. Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber’s long distance strike in the 93rd minute was the difference maker, giving Sporting Kansas City a 2-1 victory.
In a match of few opportunities the Crew were not able to convert key scoring chances. Early on, the Crew were able to push the ball up the wings and at one point held a staggering advantage in possession. An early corner for the home team in the 3rd minute was put well out of play, and multiple crosses from the outside were not able to find a partner on the other end.
One of the best scoring chance the Crew had throughout the first half was a set piece in the 17th minute. Ethan Finlay came crashing down the pitch on the right side, getting fouled inches from the 18-yard box. Federico Higuain took the free kick, with a quick pass to Wil Trapp on top of the box, Trapp blasted a shot into a wall of defenders. A subsequent header by Tony Tchani in the 25th minute of play went just wide left of the post, in what was the closest shot on goal the Crew had in the first half.
Just as half was about to be called, Kansas City was able to get on the board. Off a corner kick by Benny Fielhaber, C.J. Sapong leaped over several Crew defenders heading the ball into the back of the net. In what could not have been a pleasing sight for Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter, no Crew defenders made a play on the ball except right back Chad Barson, who ran in from several yards away. The goal by Sapong was a great confidence booster for the KC man, as it was his first goal of the 2014 campaign.
Early in the second half, the Crew were given a great opportunity as Sporting player Aurelien Collin was sent off after placing a forearm into the face of Crew forward Adam Bedell. After several minutes of lying on the ground, Bedell was taken off the pitch with what looked to be a bloody nose, but was able to come on a few minutes later. The red card was given quite late, almost four minutes after the initial blow was placed.
After gaining a little confidence of their own, the Crew were able to get back into the game, just not from one of their own players. With a man advantage the Crew pushed up the field with a sense of urgency, knowing how important a point could be. In the 69th minute, the Crew put a ball into the box looking for a man in yellow, however Sporting KC’s Igor Juliao put a shoulder into the ball, running into the back of the net with the ball. Had Juliao not been there, Federico Higuain was in prime scoring position.
In the 89th minute Crew center midfielder Wil Trapp was sent off for his second yellow card. A quick throw in by teammate Bernardo Anor led to an immediate turnover to Kansas City. As Trapp turned around to find the play to be right on top of him, he stuck out a leg, clipping a SKC player. He knew almost immediately he would be getting booked as he begged for leniency. It did not make a difference, as tonight’s referee was quick to pull out the second yellow.
Just as the Crew thought they would be able to pull out a stop and come out of tonight’s match with a point, former U.S. national team player Benny Fielhaber was able to connect off a pass and just managed to get the ball into the net. Shooting from 20 yards out, Fielhaber hit the top crossbar, sending the ball straight into the ground, where it took a lucky bounce and back into the top netting.
Following the game head coach Gregg Berhalter had this to say about his team’s performance:
“We’re not victims in this one. The way we performed, we didn’t deserve to win that game. It wasn’t a pretty soccer game. The whole thing wasn’t pretty. Our job is to come out here for the fans and play entertaining soccer, and we didn’t do that. We didn’t live up to our end of the bargain tonight. It was hesitancy, guys not moving, guys not wanting the ball. Its too bad, I think especially as they got the red card, we could have gotten more out of that and we didn’t.”
Your Subside Sports Man of the Match was Michael Parkhurst for the Columbus Crew. Even as the team failed to produce a result, Parkhurst was a force on defense. On multiple occasions with Sporting KC players coming in quick, he was able to make great clearances, as well as tight passes to teammates up the pitch. Without Parkhurt’s presence, Sporting KC could have had many more scoring opportunities then they did.
The next week will be extremely important for the Crew as they play bottom team Montreal Impact on Saturday, followed by an international friendly with English side Crystal Palace on Wednesday, July 23rd. Getting three points against Montreal will be key if the Crew want to grab a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Complete Match Photos Courtesy of Kevin Cross/ISNSoccer.com