C.J. Sapong vs Marvell Wynne

Recap: SKC gets point at defending champs

2011 Major League Soccer Game #9
Saturday, May 28, 2011, 8:00 p.m. CT

English TV: KSMO-TV
Spanish TV: Time Warner Cable Ch. 5
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340AM

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
Weather: Cloudy and 61 degrees
Attendance: 16,439
Video: Match Highlights

Score: 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (1-6-2, 5 pts) 0 1 1
Colorado Rapids (4-3-6, 18 pts) 1 0 1

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic (Ryan Smith 46); Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle, Graham Zusi; Omar Bravo (Birahim Diop 85), C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 54), Chance Myers

Subs not used: Julio Cesar, Eric Kronberg, Luke Sassano, Milos Stojcev

Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor; Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson, Ross LaBauex (Caleb Folan 73), Sanna Nyassi (Joseph Nane 46, Andre Akpan 57); Conor Casey

Subs not used: Quincy Amarikwa, Steward Ceus, Scott Palguta, Anthony Wallace

Stats:                     KC COL
Shots 14 7
Shots on Goal 3 2
Saves 1 2
Fouls 6 10
Offside 4 0
Corner Kicks 2 4

Misconduct Summary:
KC -- Michael Harrington (caution; Tactical Foul) 41
COL -- Ross LaBauex (caution; Tactical Foul) 45
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Reckless Foul) 82
KC -- Omar Bravo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 84

Scoring Summary:
COL – Conor Casey 1 (unassisted) 13
KC – Ryan Smith 1 (Teal Bunbury 2) 75

Sporting Kansas City earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids on Saturday on a goal from Ryan Smith in the 75th minute. More than 100 Sporting Kansas City fans were at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado to see Sporting KC comeback from an early 1-0 deficit to earn a point on the home field of the defending MLS Cup champions.

Sporting Kansas City had the first scoring opportunity of the night, as striker Chance Myers forced a turnover and fired a shot from 20 yards out on the right side, but Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was able to make a diving stop in the 9th minute.

Colorado then threatened two minutes later on a set piece from Sanna Nyassi. The Gambian’s service found Tyrone Marshall alone at the backpost, but the Jamaican defender couldn’t redirect the bouncing cross on target in traffic.

However, the Rapids would break through in the 13th minute on an errant pass from Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin that was intended for goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. Colorado forward Conor Casey, putting in his first 90 minute performance of the season, intercepted the pass and took a touch around Nielsen before sending his shot toward the empty net. Kansas City’s Matt Besler did his best to make a sliding stop, but the ball caromed into the goal to give Colorado the early 1-0 advantage.

Sporting Kansas City inserted creative playmaker Ryan Smith at halftime for defender Seth Sinovic, making his first MLS start for Sporting Kansas City since signing earlier this month, and nearly equalized in the 47th minute. Midfielder Graham Zusi, with his back to goal, played a pass behind the Rapids defense for Omar Bravo, but the Designated Player’s shot from 10 yards out was superbly stopped by Pickens from close range.

Ten minutes later, it was Colorado’s turn to attack as forward Andre Akpan came close to scoring moments after entering the match, turning and sending his shot narrowly wide of the far post from 20 yards out. Then in the 63rd minute, Casey collected a poorly played pass from Collin and distributed to midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, but the veteran sent his shot high from 12 yards out on the right side.

Sporting Kansas City kept the pressure on in the back-and-forth match, as Marvell Wynne slid to thwart Teal Bunbury’s breakaway in the 68th minute before Nielsen made his best save of the night five minutes later, using his right foot to deny Akpan along the endline. 

The save proved pivotal as Smith’s goal in the 75th minute secured a much-needed point for Sporting Kansas City, who had lost five straight entering Saturday’s match. Smith dribbled into the penalty area, creating space for a left-footed shot that he laced into the top right corner of the far post past Pickens.

The goal set-up a tense final 15 minutes, and it was in the waning moments of the match that Sporting Kansas City looked poised to complete the comeback. One week after conceding a decisive goal in stoppage time at Seattle, Sporting Kansas City looked to have turned the tables when Birahim Diop’s header fell off a free kick from inside midfield fell to Bunbury for a half-volley that sailed high of goal from six yards out.

Sporting Kansas City will continue action in the 2011 MLS Reserve League on Sunday against the Colorado Rapids at 11:00 a.m. CT before returning to Kansas City. The team will then conclude their 10-game road trip to open the 2011 season next Saturday at Toronto FC.

Fast Facts:

• With the draw, Sporting Kansas City is 1-6-2 in 2011 and is in ninth position in the Eastern Conference.
• Saturday’s draw snapped a streak of five consecutive matches without a point, dating back to a 3-3 draw at Vancouver on April 2nd.
• Sporting Kansas City is 20-17-11 all-time against the Rapids and 4-14-7 all-time on the road in the series.
• Sporting Kansas City are now unbeaten in three straight matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park after Saturday’s draw.
• Colorado, the defending 2010 MLS Cup champions, have not lost in seven straight matches after Saturday’s draw.
• More than 100 Sporting Kansas City supporters travelled to Colorado for the match in a bus trip organized by the KC Cauldron. Sporting Kansas City members can receive free tickets to all of the club’s away matches in 2011 through the new membership program.
• Seth Sinovic made his first MLS appearance for Sporting Kansas City, starting and playing 45 minutes on Saturday. Sinovic had previously appeared in the team’s last two MLS Reserve League matches and Sporting KC’s 5-0 win on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup play-in match.
• Ryan Smith scored his first goal of the 2011 season on Saturday, striking in the 75th minute. He now has four goals in his MLS career, with his last goal on September 25, 2010 prior to Saturday.
• Teal Bunbury earned his second assist of the 2011 season on Saturday, providing the pass for Smith’s goal in the 75th minute. He now has four assists in his MLS career.
• Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes’ daughter Nicole was part of the Blue Valley Northwest team that won the Kansas 6A state championship on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Shawnee Mission West.
• Sporting Kansas City assistant coach Octavio Zambrano and his wife welcomed a baby boy, Octavio, into the Zambrano family on Saturday.
• Sporting Kansas City opens the 2011 season with an MLS-record 10 consecutive road games. Saturday’s match marked the ninth, with the final trip coming next week to Toronto before the June 9th home opener at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
• Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made one save in the 1-1 draw, lowering his goals against average to 1.88.
• Sporting Kansas City earned their first point of the 2011 season when trailing at halftime and are now 0-4-1 when behind after 45 minutes.
• Sporting Kansas City also earned their first point of 2011 when conceding the first goal and are now 0-5-1 falling behind 1-0.
• KSMO-TV will air highlights and reaction from Saturday’s match on the station’s weekly 30-minute soccer show “Off the Pitch with Sporting Kansas City” on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. CT.